MILLEDGEVILLE — Baldwin High School alumnus Nica Nashae knew her love and talent for singing since the age of 5 would one day get her well-known on the big stage. She hopes that dream becomes reality as she prepares to go to Hollywood for the next round of American Idol.
“I went into the auditions with no intentions of going this far,” she said. “I guess when you’re least expecting it, it really happens.”
Nashae also auditioned for The X Factor last year, moving through the third round as a finalist in Georgia before getting cut in May. The 24-year-old decided to not give up her dream of becoming a famous R&B singer, so she tried out for the American Idol Season 13 Atlanta auditions held last June.
Check out her Atlanta audition from Thursday night's show here:
“I didn’t prepare at all for American Idol because I had to work that day,” she said. “The only reason I tried out for it was because I made it to The X Factor so I figured it wouldn’t be too bad.”
Nashae auditioned for American Idol producers in June and received a callback in September. After passing a total of three audition rounds, she finally got the call to tryout in October for the celebrity judges — Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.
“I was nervous and more excited than anything; I got all three yeses,” she said. “I sang ‘A Natural Woman’ by Aretha Franklin. I just got back from Hollywood on Dec. 21, but I’m looking forward to what’s coming up next.”
While growing up in North Carolina, Nashae’s passion for entertaining audiences began at a very early age alongside her father who was a contemporary gospel singer.
“We moved to Milledgeville when I was about 6 years old, and I continued to sing in churches, at different events throughout the community, like weddings, anniversaries and black history programs, and I participated in talent shows as well,” Nashae said. “When my father passed away in 1995, I knew he always wanted to be a famous gospel singer. I’m blessed with the gift, but I also want to carry on his legacy and his dream; it means a lot to me internally.”
After graduating from Baldwin High School in 2007, Nashae received the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear on 106 & Park on BET to perform with Grammy award-winning singer Chris Brown. As she currently pursues a bachelors degree in physical therapy at Kennesaw State University, she finds time to record in the studio and participate in community and campus events.
“After my husband passed, I really got behind [Nashae], kept her focus, grounded and talked with her about what she wanted to do with her career. You have to have faith, trust and belief in God; we don’t do anything without involving Him,” said Angela Smith, Nashae’s mother and manager. “Now, everything is starting to happen, take place and it’s looking really good; there’s no stopping now. We weren’t expecting American Idol, but I already knew she would make it.”
American Idol, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, is an American reality-singing competition series that began airing on FOX in 2002. The concept of the show is to find a new solo recording artist where the winner is determined by the viewers. The winning contestant receives a record deal with a major label. Former American Idol winners include Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips and Candice Glover.
Nashae’s audition in front of the celebrity judges will premier on American Idol at 8 p.m. Thursday on FOX.
“I thank my mom for being such a strong, dominant motivator. If it wasn’t for her and my brother to keep on the legacy of my father, I don’t think I would be this far. I thank her and everyone else who believed in me and encouraged me. Singing is something I just really truly enjoy.”