Today we have been delighted to sit and talk with the beautiful, talented, Syesha Mercado. Some of you may know Syesha from American Idol, season seven where she was the second runner up against David and David. You may also know her from her role as Deena in the Broadway musical, “Dream Girls”. Wherever your introduction to this gem came from, your first impression was “She is AWESOME”.
Syesha how are doing today?
You have definitely been making some noise and raising some standards in both theatre and music. Where did you inherit this amazing talent of yours?
First and foremost, I think that when you are given a voice that is able to impact and change people for the better that is a gift. Not every singer can effect people and give them chills and make people want to change their lives. I honor and give thanks to God for this gift that he has given me. My mom is also a singer and she use to sing background for the Motown Pop Staple Singers. I would follow her around the house when I was two years old so that’s where I get majority of my inspiration from, my mother. Also Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.
I remember watching you on American Idol and you sung “I Will Always Love You”, I swear I almost kicked the TV. [Laughs] how was that experience for you on American Idol?
That entire experience for me with idol was very nerve wrecking. Well I was more comfortable going into it, like the first audition and the second audition but then at Hollywood week that’s where my faith was tested. It was a humbling experience.
Was it your plan to take your career in the direction it’s going with theatre or did this all-just fall in your lap?
Before Idol I was already on my grind in my hustle mentality. I had already told myself that whatever opportunity come I was going to take it; whether it was a film, TV show, or doing an album getting signed with a record label. It just so happened Idol was the next step. After the show it was the same thing and I was like “Lord whatever opportunity you present before me I’m going to pray about and if it’s something good I’m going to do it”, and it just so happened to be Dream Girls. And shows like Dream Girls and Once On This Island don’t come often so I took it.
I don’t know if you know, but we had the American Idol judges on the cover of our March edition. Do you feel like the show has changed since the new judges came on?
To be honest with you I didn’t watch the show before I was on it, but I watched the first season. I can’t really tell you the major difference because I don’t watch it. I think the people who originated the show are what made the show; Paula, Randy, and Simon it was their energy, it worked.
You played the role of Deena Jones in “Dream Girls”; I absolutely love the musical might I add. You had really big shoes to fill following behind Sheryl Lee Ralph and Beyoncé. Did you feel as if you had a heavy weight to pull?
I thought about it this way, all I can do is go out there and perform from my heart, take the character and break it down, perform that to the best of my ability. It’s not about doing it like somebody else, or better than them; it’s about being honest. I definitely pay homage to Beyoncé and Sheryl Lee Ralph. My challenge and my struggle were more so with myself because I was coming off of a reality show like Idol. I was so worried about performing at my best and being judge because I actually felt like all eyes were on me. When I was at Apollo I wasn’t able to enjoy the character and myself until we were on the road. I gained confidence through the role of Deena Jones.
Earlier this year the world lost an ICON in entertainment with Whitney Houston. Where were you when you first heard the news and how did it make you feel?
I was at a birthday party and I just remember there being a cartoon movie on and a message coming across the screen Whitney Houston dead, and I was shocked, and I realized I wasn’t going to be able to compose myself so I went to the bathroom. I was at a friends, family member house so I didn’t want to break down in front of these people that didn’t know me so I went into the bathroom. The funny thing is that it was the Grammy weekend and I had the opportunity to go to the Kelly Price event and I didn’t know Whitney was going to be there and I was busy doing some music with a person I was working with so I didn’t go. I was really hard on myself because that was my moment to meet her. I told myself that I would continue her legacy and be that VOICE.
If you had the opportunity to work with anyone dead or alive, who would it be, and why?
It would definitely be Whitney Houston, definitely Whitney. Definitely.
I watched the video you posted on YouTube where you did the cover to Beyoncé’s, “Love On Top”. You blew us away! Did you expect for it to get such a response as it has?
I did not expect that, Garrick, I did not expect that. That was to me, a way of God saying “Watch me work” [LAUGH]. Before that I kind of felt like I was under the radar, I mean I was doing things but it’s not like I was getting a million views on a blog I posted. It was a surprise to me and it was a pleasant surprise. I was really moved by all the support from WorldStar Hip Hop and people posting it on their Facebook.
I’m going to throw out the name of something or someone and you throw out the first word that comes to your mind:
Michelle Obama: Ride or Die Chick
Basketball Wives: Tacky
If you did not have to go to work, studio, or rehearsal and you were completely free. How would you spend that day?
I love nature, I love being outside. I love going to the beach to center myself. When I feel stressed and overwhelmed I love doing abstract art. Oh! And I love being around family, they don’t live in California so whenever I get the time to be around my family they remind me of who I am and where I come from.
Right now you are starring in “Once On This Island” at the Paper Mill Playhouse, how long do everyone have to check that out and where can they find tickets?
Oh! Well it just ended on the 24th. In my opinion it was extremely successful, not because of the reviews were good but just because of how I felt about it and the people I was working with were so supportive and so friendly. It was like I was back in high school and not like Dream Girls where I felt like I was intimidated or being judged.
What is your advice to the young girl who is looking up to you right now?
I would say have a clear goal and a clear vision. The only way to do that is to be in touch with yourself. You have to give yourself time where you are not being distracted by opinions of other people. It is important that you surround yourself with supportive people. It will be times when you feel like giving up but you have to keep your faith. Know that no one else in this world will work harder for you other than YOU.
Is there anything you would like to say to all of your supporters before we wrap this up?
In order for me to sing about life I have to live it. I have definitely lived a lot and experienced a lot. After every project I think it’s important that you take a break and recoup. It’s kind of like a relationship, when you get out of a relationship you take time to reflect. So right now I’m recouping. The product I’m going to give to them is going to be real and come from me. I just need them to be patient [Laugh]
Let everyone know where we can find you?
Well currently the website is being renovated so the best way to contact me and to see what I’m doing is to twitter me and I do respond [Laugh] twitter.com/syesha my Facebook fan page is Syesha Mercado.
Thank you so much for your time! We wish you the best in your career and Alwayz Therro will always be apart of your support team! God Bless