Interview: Syesha!

By Brandan on 1/13/2010 11:09:00 AM

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I recently spoke with Syesha Mercado of American Idol season 7 about her new projects including her music, acting, and her current run as Deena in Dreamgirls The Musical on Broadway. Enjoy!

Hello Syesha, how have you been?

Wonderful! Thanks for asking. I’m very busy these days…..

So you are currently in the Dreamgirls national tour, how do you feel about getting the part?

I feel very accomplished after going through a six month audition and call back process. It’s a dream come true. When I found out I was going to be Deena Jones, I was actually in front of Radio City Music Hall. I was so excited, jumping and screaming with joy. That moment, I think, perfectly describes how I feel about being in this show.

Do you think you will be compared to the movie (Beyonce) & original play (Sheryl Lee Ralph) versions of Deena?

Deena Jones is such a legendary character and I am so honored to have the opportunity to take on this role, knowing what talented actresses have been involved with past shows. With this role, I look to pay tribute to all the Deena’s before me. I don’t like to focus on beingcompared because that is something I can’t control. What I can control is my ability and effort. I am dedicated to this show and my focus is on telling the story, being in the moment and doing my best every night.

Broadway is a very demanding job, how do you keep your voice in tact with performing almost every day?

I’m learning more and more with every tour, although this will be the longest tour to date. I was recently sick. Every environmental change presents its own challenges, so I’m learning ways to stay healthy in dry air and cold weather. I’m a Florida girl so I’m use to the humidity. The most important thing is rest. So, on my days off I stay in bed and try not to speak. I also drink lots of tea with honey water, and pastilles. They have become my best friends.

We first came to know you from the cast of American Idol. How was it being on the show?

It was whirlwind experience and an amazing platform. Being on the show made me a stronger artist and provided me with a truly unique experience. It was stressful at times, having to learn songs, speak with press, do commercials, do meet and greets all with very little sleep. But, it taught me a lot about the business and definitely prepared me for the future. Show business is intense and usually there is much to do and very little time to do it all.

I am forever grateful for the opportunity and I really look forward to reconnecting with my American Idol fans while on the road with Dreamgirls.

Do you think American Idol prepped you for Dreamgirls?

Touring with American Idol helped me prepare for this tour. I feel very prepared to be on the road now, because I did the American Idol’s Live Tour. It does get hard sometimes being away from family and not really having a regular home to return to at the end of the day; however, when you love what you do, that is a small price to pay.

How do you feel about Paula Abdul no longer a judge?

I love Paula and I am sad to see her go. However, I wish her the best and appreciate all the advice she gave me. She was definitely the nurturing one. She always took the time to visit the contestants back stage. We all appreciated her for the special thing she did for us.

How do you feel about Ellen Degeneres taking over in Paula's place?

I think Ellen is a great addition to the American Idol family. She will bring a unique perspective and be the voice for the millions of people watching the show who are not actually in the music industry.

Will you be working on your own music soon?

I have already started writing and recording songs for my debut album. Dreamgirls is my number one focus right now, but I will be launching my album after the tour. I have already worked with Chris Rojas, Scott Cutler, REO (producer of Beyonce’s “Hello”), Andrew Dixon and Evan Bogart. I am looking forward to working with Eric Hudson and Toby Gad.

I am also really excited because when I come to Chicago with the tour, I will also be performing at the House of Blues on January 25. It’s my own show and I will even be performing some original songs. Make sure to go and get your tickets.

What type of genre of music would you like to do for your own album?

I want this album to reflect me as an artist and a person, my personal story. With that being said, there will be a variety of song ranging from high-energy pop crossovers to big, soaring ballads. The sounds will be heavily influenced by world music.

Is there an album title if you have begun working on an album?

Not Yet.

Are you signed to any label? If not what label would you like to be signed to?

I am not ready to release that information yet.

Who are your major musical influences?

I was exposed to a variety of music growing up. I admire powerful personalities, classic beauties and exciting entertainers like Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Mariah Carey, Bob Marley, Outkast, Whitney Houston, Beyonce and India Arie to name a few.

Why do you think album sales aren't as high as they were before? Are you worried about that when you decide to come out?

People have many different ways of listening to music now, whether it’s through iTunes, Amazon or Best Buy. I don’t think that the album sales reflect people’s love for music. If anything, people have easier access to it, so they can listen to a lot more variety. I am not going to worry about sales. My focus is to put out the best possible album that fully represents me as an artist.

What music do you have in rotation now on your iPod?

Lady Gaga, India Arie, Jamie Fox and Beyonce. I listen to a lot of my unreleased songs as well.

Will you be doing anymore Broadway or acting when your run as Deena is over?

I try to take it day by day and embrace every opportunity that comes my way. Acting has always been my passion, so I would love to do film at some point. I don’t know what will come next, but I can say that I enjoy being a part of the show and playing Deena.

Let's talk about your family, any siblings? How are your parents?

Everyone is doing well. Yes I have three sisters, they are all older. I am the youngest. My parents are so excited about Dreamgirls opportunity and very proud of me. My family was able to attend opening night at The Apollo Theater. It was awesome having them there to share in the experience. They were so proud!

What does your family think of your accomplishments?

They couldn’t be happier. They’ve always been my biggest fans and supporters.

How do you feel about this Tiger Woods mess?

I can’t really comment on the situation because I don’t know Tiger or his family on a personal level, but my thoughts and prayers are with them.

What is something that we don't know about Syesha that you would like us to know?

I am extremely positive, if you don’t already know. I’m the one people go to talk to when they need some encouragement.

Any words to your fans you would like to say?

Thank you! All my fans old and new have been wonderful and I can’t wait to see and meet more of them while I am on tour.

Syesha is on her way, and it was great getting to know her. She seems like a hard-worker, and from her actions and responses very lady-like. I doubt she will be one of those crazy hollywood girls and you guys should make sure you go and see Dreamgirls and check out Syesha with all of her future projects coming soon! For more information visit her Twitter

Thanks to Jenni Johnson for the interview & photos from Albane Navizet.

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