Back in January, Leah Laurenti was one of two Long Islanders to advance to Hollywood during early "American Idol" auditions. Unfortunately, Laurenti didn't advance further, despite being a favorite of our local "Idol" expert, Jamshid Mousavinezhad.
Instead of getting discouraged, Laurenti has continued her pursuit of a career as a singer. She hasn't done too shabbily, either; the Medford native recently won an audition to sing the National Anthem at Citi Field when the Mets play the Phillies on May 27. (Laurenti said she is "so excited" and "honored" by the opportunity).
I had the chance talk "Idol" and life goals with Laurenti recently over e-mail. Here's the transcript of the interview ...
Prior to "American Idol," what sort of experience did you have in performing and singing?
I've been singing since about the age of 8. I remember when I went to Canaan Elementary, my music teacher, Mrs. Burner, really encouraged me to keep at it. I sang "Castle on a Cloud" from Les Miserables in the courtyard of the school in third grade. So since I was very young, I've been singing and pursuing this music carer.
When did you decide to audition for the show?
I first decided to audition about one week before the audition was to actually happen. I had tried out for "Idol" once before three years ago, and when I decided I really had nothing to lose, I decided I'd go again. So, I went on the Internet, checked out the closest audition city and it just so happened it was that weekend in Boston! So I packed and went on a road trip.
Did you think you had a real shot at getting to Hollywood and beyond?
I always felt I had what it took to get to Hollywood, and even win. I know what I'm vocally capable of doing and I think "American Idol" really made a huge mistake by not holding on to me longer. All in all though I think they just weren't ready for my level of talent, ha ha! At least that what I like to think.
You mentioned to me on Facebook that something happened at "American Idol." What really happened?
Well the show portrays many things right on and in other ways, just like many other reality TV shows, it portrays only what people want to hear. As far as what I would like to say about the way the show portrayed me, It was close, but not 100 pecent great.
There was a lot of feedback from both people and blogs that my parents didn't support me. "Idol" made it [seem] that way based on how I was raised. I will say when I was younger, it was definitely hard to get 100 percent support from my parents, where as I [got] older and [did] more musically, both of my parents became more supportive and trusting.
What has been the aftermath of the "AI" experience? I know you had some fan pages on Facebook. What about in terms of your singing career?
I'm very pleased and happy about the exposure and experience I had. I am sad that I missed out on such a huge opportunity and I know in my heart I deserved a shot more than what I was given. Some fans did create fan pages for me, and that was awesome.
In terms of my singing career, I've got a very positive attitude towards things and I am taking things one day at a time, hoping for my "big break," too. I will never give up on my dreams and I'm just going to stay true to what I know I do best. Plus I'm great!
Is your goal to be a performer, or in a different field?
I want first and foremost to be a singing performer; work with many artists and make music, music videos ... hopefully one day perform at Madison Square Garden!
As far as other things, I would love to take some acting lessons and try Broadway. I think I've got that in me, too.
Do you see yourself auditioning again for "American Idol"?
Between now and the next audition if something drastic doesn't change in my music career, then YES. What will I have to lose?