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Sterling Heights

November 19, 2013

Local singer shines in contest

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

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Media producer Dennis Kreish, left, and Motown legend Martha Reeves, center, pose with Vanessa Carr, right.

A Sterling Heights singer recently ended a singing contest for charity on a high note.

Vanessa Carr, of Sterling Heights, became a first runner-up winner Nov. 5 in the Detroit round of the National Singing Star competition, which was hosted by the Performing Arts Network on behalf of Beaumont Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network.

Carr, 21, called the experience exciting because she could share her talent with a large audience and inspire them to vote for her while raising money to benefit a good cause.

“This is one of the biggest competitions I’ve been a part of,” she said. “We raised about $1,000. People were very generous.”

Carr said she has participated in vocal recitals and singing performances for many years. She competed last summer in WDIV-TV Local 4’s Super Singer contest, and she said she made it to the second round when she recently auditioned for the upcoming season of “American Idol.”

But after hearing about the National Singing Star contest through her grandparents, Carr went to Oakland Mall in Troy Oct. 14 to audition with around 400 other people. She said her original audition song was “Foolish Games” by Jewel.

As she progressed in the contest, later singing rounds took place in Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital auditorium, and the finale was held at Andiamo in Novi.

During these rounds, she sang “Evergreen” by Barbra Streisand and “Someone Like You” from the “Jekyll & Hyde” musical. She finished by singing “As if We Never Said Goodbye” from the musical “Sunset Boulevard.”

“I mostly do Broadway (music),” she said. “It’s where my heart is.”

The top 36 contestants sang before a panel of judges that included Motown legend Martha Reeves. According to Carr, 75 percent of the contestants’ scores came from the judges, and 25 percent came from the audience’s votes, which could be purchased for $1 apiece, with the proceeds going to the Children’s Miracle Network at Beaumont Children’s Hospital.

The 2013 Singing Star winner of the Detroit competition, Lauren Barnes, was eligible to compete in a national competition against other cities’ winners.

Now that Carr has a runner-up trophy to add to her collection, she said she is keeping an eye open for new gigs and opportunities. For instance, she plans to sing with a Barry Manilow impersonator Dec. 7 at Gino’s Surf in Harrison Township.

In the meantime, she sings the national anthem for sports events at Oakland University, where she is currently a junior.

And she sings and dresses up as a princess while working at the Tea Party Castle in Shelby Township.

“We just make little girls’ dreams come true,” she said.

Carr isn’t giving up on a dream to do musical theater. She said she played the role of Fantine in an August Sterling Civic Theater production of “Les Misérables,” and she hopes to audition for more roles in the future.

“I just want to be on Broadway,” she said.

Vocal coach Marcello Rossi, who operates in Sterling Heights, said he has taught Vanessa since she was 13 years old. He said she has always had great potential to succeed in musical theater.

“Her voice has blossomed over the years, and she really has a great instrument,” he said. “She has a great way of showing emotion. She has a great sense of nuance to her delivery and bringing great meaning to the words that she is singing.

“And she is really great at touching the listener and the listener’s emotions through her performance.”

Learn more about the National Singing Star contest at www.nationalsingingstar.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.