Published in Macalester Today
Photo by: David J. Turner
Kyla Martin ’15 didn’t expect her Mac music experience to come in handy over winter break—until she unexpectedly got a taste of Hollywood by singing on a Disney World stage in front of more than a thousand people.
Martin (Madison, Conn.), a math major/music minor who takes voice lessons at Mac, was in Orlando vacationing with family. She went to that holiday hub with no plans to audition at American Idol Experience, a Disney Hollywood Studios theme park attraction modeled after the popular TV show. On a whim, her aunt and cousin encouraged her to try out with them, and she went along after some initial resistance. “It was really intimidating at first,” says Martin, who when she was younger often called in to American Idol to vote for her favorite singers. “I kept saying, ‘We should just leave! What are we doing here?’”
But the producers liked what they heard from her. After two rounds of morning auditions, Martin was one of 21 people selected to perform at an afternoon show. That meant getting her hair and makeup done, receiving vocal coaching, being fitted for a microphone, and getting cues for where to stand—a behind-the-scenes look, Martin imagined, for what the real show’s actual production might be like.
Performing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which she once sang for a junior high show-choir audition, Martin won the audience vote at the afternoon show, advancing to the evening event. “Winning my first show was incredible,” she says. “You sit there while everyone votes. Little kids would come up to me afterward to say they voted for me.”
At the evening event each finalist sang again, with just one receiving the Dream Ticket. That ticket, in turn, literally sent the winner to the front of the line at any regional American Idol audition.
Martin came up just short, but was thrilled just to be one of the day’s seven finalists, and to have gained some confidence for future auditions. “It would be fun to audition for the real thing,” she says, “just to see where it goes.”