For the third consecutive year, Nanaimo jazz singer Lauren Bush is performing at the Pacific National Exhibition in the Star Showdown.
Nerves got the best of her during her first two competitions but this year she has vowed to just go and enjoy the experience of singing.
She’s competing as a solo artist in the adult semifinals on Monday (Aug. 22). However, she was supposed to perform with her quartet for the first time at the showcase but her fellow musicians – piano player Patrick Courtin, bass guitarist Nick Sheasgreen and drummer Johnny Lucas – snagged a job on a cruise ship and had to miss the competition.
She considered backing out but decided it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
“It’s an opportunity in itself that could lead to bigger things,” said Bush.
Laura Ballance, a PNE spokeswoman, said the competition launched some performer’s careers – singers such as Michael Buble were discovered in the showcase.
“It could be the start of a career,” said Ballance. “We had thousands of entries so the calibre of talent we have is very high.”
The showdown gives participants a unique opportunity to perform in front of a large audience, have first-class stage production, gain more exposure and perform in front of talent scouts.
Bush has chosen to perform God Bless the Child by Billie Holiday, a performer who has been a huge influence in her evolution as a singer. Each performance is different depending on the lyrics and style of song, said Bush.
“Sometimes the song’s lyrics can dig right into you and other times it’s so much fun,” she said.
Bush started singing when she was 16 and wouldn’t perform in front of anyone until she was 18. Now 25, her confidence has grown. She studied music for four years at the Abilene Christian University in Texas and trained with vocal jazz professor Kristin Ward.
PNE Star Showdown competitors perform in three different categories for the semifinals: kids, youth and adults. Three top performers from each category will move on to the final round on Tuesday (Aug. 23), competing against each other.
More than $10,000 in prizes and $22,000 in New Image College Scholarships will be awarded.