My Journey to Juilliard

My Journey to Juilliard

I never saw myself going into anything but the arts, and I can’t remember a time in my life when singing wasn’t important to me. I grew up singing in church every week, and I was raised on Disney musicals, ABBA, The Dixie Chicks, and Celine Dion. Both of my siblings are musically gifted, and my mother has a fantastic belt. By age four, I knew every word to “Ready to Run” and “Cowboy Take Me Away” (big Dixie Chicks tunes, if you’re not familiar). I started getting in to performing around 5th grade when I joined my school’s show choir, and I took it very seriously.

Show choir continued to be my life in middle school. I was very into musical theater (still am) and I never even thought about singing classically.

Sophomore year of high school rolls around and I start singing some Phantom of the Opera tunes around the house along with “The Girl in 14G” (it’s a funny little piece & the performer has to imitate an opera singer). My mother saw that I had a talent in classical voice, so I started taking classical voice lessons. I had much more success in that than I did trying to belt, and I found myself more comfortable in classically-based ingénue musical theater roles than belting roles (think Rodgers & Hammerstein as opposed to Wicked).

Me & my fantastic teacher, Catherine Charlton

Laurey in Oklahoma was my favorite ingénue role

Once college application time rolled around, I started applying to some local schools, but my voice teacher stopped me before I submitted them and suggested I take a gap year in order to let my voice develop a little more. We thought that just a little extra time would make a big difference, and it did. During the gap year, I interned at NC Opera and was in their choruses for La Traviata and Don Giovanni.

By then, I was ready for Juilliard, but of course I wasn’t sure I would get in. My goal in applying was to see how far I could get through the audition process. I started with just wanting an audition, then once I got the audition I just wanted to see if I could get a callback and so on and so forth. Now, here I am!

I have no idea what my journey brings next, but I know it will be great here.

-Shelby

Preparing Your Applications

Preparing Your Applications

My Journey to Juilliard

My Journey to Juilliard