Stage set for teen singer’s bright future
Many young people struggle to find their place in society, Lauren Genevieve is one of the lucky ones.
At about the age of 2 she began badgering her parents about singing with the church choir. At 16, she's on her way to a performing arts career.
The top US conservatory Manhattan School of Music accepted her as a student five years ago; she's on a plane to New York every Friday for lessons.
No small feat considering the Berkeley Institute student is also in the Bermuda College dual enrolment programme — and preparing for advanced placement exams.
“I got into MSM at about 11. The pre-college programme basically provides young musicians and singers with the training they need to succeed in their field,” Lauren said.
“I've been interested in music forever. My mother is very interested in it and so, from a very young age, I was exposed to lots of different music — Mozart, Haydn, musical theatre.
“I grew up in the church, so I was also exposed to gospel music, which grabs soul, R&B and a lot of different genres. It opened me up to a lot of different types of music.”
Lauren dances, acts and plays the flute and guitar in addition to her singing. She was signalled out by MSM with a scholarship last year.
Patrons recognised her as a “remarkable young artist with an excellent voice and a bright future”.
“I still don't know how they [go about choosing] people for it,” she said. “I just got an e-mail telling me I'd got it.
“I was very excited. It gave me the opportunity to put on my first solo concert at the school.
“I had to consider a wide range of classical music and musical theatre and sang in English, French and Italian. I did four classical pieces and four from musical theatre: Les Miserables, Phantom, The Fantasticks and Ragtime.”
The teenager concedes that her busy schedule doesn't give her much time for spontaneity, but she believes the sacrifice is worth it.
“Because I am so focused I don't care about [missing things],” she said.
“If I want to hang out with friends I can arrange to do that, but it has to be planned. It all comes down to managing my time.
“I look at the schedule for Berkeley and choose classes at the college when I'm not busy.
“I am doing AP calculus, AP French and AP English literature, so making sure I'm there is very important. AP exams help you to get ahead at college and the dual enrolment helps you get into college.
“But every Friday I go to New York for classes on Saturday, and return on Sunday. It's a really great experience. I'm learning so much from being around musicians [at MSM].
“I play music, but not the calibre of music that the kids play there. I see how their minds work and how they interpret music.”
Lauren has her eye on New York University, the Juilliard School and MSM's new musical theatre programme for college. Her plan is to become a professional singer.
“I'm keeping my options open. If I had my way I'd do classical music, musical theatre and pop/R&B. I find it all very interesting,” she said.
Her advice to others who believe they have what it takes?
“Go for it if you feel like you have a gift, if you've been blessed to have a gift,” she said.
“But make sure you have good training. It's the most important thing if you see performing arts as a career.
“You need to have longevity to be able to perform for life.
“If you sing in a certain way your voice works for a period of time but after a while it won't anymore.
“It's also be helpful to be educated about your craft.”