We’ve all been going crazy over the song covers performed by actress and singer Syesha Mercado.
She absolutely murdered her rendition of Beyoncé’s ‘Love on Top’ reaching over 1.3 million YouTube views and grabbing a spotlight feature on worldstarhiphop.com. If you click onto her YouTube page you’ll find a fan base of nearly 22,000 and before Adele’s Grammy award-winning single, ‘Skyfall’ actually held the Grammy title, Syesha slayed the vocals making the song her own.
Most recently, she teases her fans and admirers with a snippet of Rihanna’s powerful yet vulnerable single, ‘Stay’ reeling in her audience for a much anticipated Chicago performance.
So yes, we’re well aware of the Florida natives vocal ability and style arrangement – even dating back to her worldwide entrance on American Idol’s Season 7 where she was a finalist conquering third place. But, if you’re like me and adore the curly-haired songbird with a soft and playful personality, then you’re more than ready to hear her story through song.
Well my beautifulz, the time has come – and in a grand way I might add. Backed by the talented fellas of Verzatile, Syesha will be performing original music with an exclusive debut performance of her single, ‘You Don’t Even Know Me’ on Monday, March 18 at the City Winery located in the West loop.
While Syesha is making Chicago her temporary home due to her musical theatre schedule for the Book of Mormon, currently playing at the Bank of America Theatre, I caught up with the talented beauty for a quick dish on her live showcase which features Broadway star Chester Gregory and Chicago artist Mark J.P.Hood, along with her recent journey to musical vulnerability.
Your Internet buzz is crazy! But even with all the love you receive on your covers, we still want to hear a ‘Syesha’ song and feel what that sounds like. Is that part of the reason you wanted to put on the showcase on the 18th?
Exactly. That is exactly why. Going back and forth between theater and music has been challenging through the years because with theater, most of your schedule is devoted to staying healthy, stretching, exercising doing vocal warm-ups and resting throughout your day. So, when you commit to a Broadway show, you have to be completely dedicated to that. It’s extremely time consuming.
So it can be hard sometimes balancing theater and music but I just felt like it was time to do a show.
So, with that, how often are you able to write? I know in the theater world, as you mentioned, it’s very time consuming. But in order to feed your passion for music, how often are you creating and writing?
Everyday. Most of the time when I’m on a plane, I’m my most creative I’ve noticed. Ideas just come to me. I think maybe because I look out the window and I see the beautiful view and like flying on top of the clouds. It’s just something about flying above the clouds and looking out and seeing the sunrise and the sunset. I just get so inspired. And then the sound, the atmosphere of being on a plane, I’ll write like five hooks. Lately, I’ll get inspired when I’m flying.
What has been your content of late?
I’ve been doing my best to be honest with the music and allow myself to be vulnerable. And that’s what I love about acting. I think that’s why I’ve always enjoyed acting because I get to hide behind a character. But with music, it’s you. You’re out there in the open and revealing yourself to everyone. But, being honest is when you can connect the most with your audience. You being completely you, talking about the things you’ve experienced or the things that just inspire you.
So whether it’s something that inspired me or something that I’ve gone through, that’s just what I talk about. It doesn’t always have to be exactly 100 percent of something I went through but, music will inspire me to write a certain hook that relates to love or a break up or falling in love and that’s just how I write. But, I’ve been digging deeper lately and really being honest with how I genuinely feel about just all types of subjects.
Did it take you a while to get to that space of vulnerability and release it through your music and what was that process for you?
It took a long time. Just experience. I think every year you learn something new. You notice and look back and reflect on your year and you think to yourself, wow, I learned so much or went through so much. It’s just experience – living and learning.
What’s one thing that you’ve learned about yourself within the last month or two?
Um, (smiles), I don’t like being judged. I really don’t. When I was little, I used to do my best to be so perfect and please everybody. As I got older, not that I mastered it, but I realized, I can’t please everybody. Sometimes I have to let people down, say no, sometimes I just have to disagree. You can do it in a respectful way and still be kind.
I just really don’t like being judged and it’s weird because I went on a reality TV show where I was judged by millions. But it’s just a really uncomfortable feeling because everybody has so many opinions. Whether you’re being yourself or hiding behind a mask, people are going to have opinions. That’s just life.
I just wanted to be real. This is me. This is who I am. I have a song called, ‘ A lot More To Me,’ I wrote it about four years ago, right when I got off of Idol. It’s just basically saying that there’s a lot more to me that you’ve never seen and that I don’t show. “I’m not just the girl with a curly ‘fro that you think you know, there’s more to me”. I just felt like, I kind of want that to be the theme of the show.
I feel like if you consider yourself to be a music artist, a singer, then you should be singing, performing and doing shows. So I finally just put my foot down and spoke to Randy (friend/publicist) and said let’s put together a show.
I’m a singer and I need to be on stage. Not just in the Book of Mormon but performing for audiences and get people excited. Let them know what I’ve been doing because I’ve had most of these songs for years. And that’s another thing too – it’s just about trusting and believing that what you have and what God has given you, it works. You can’t be afraid to share it. And that’s all about being vulnerable – letting it shine. (smiles.). You love your work; you have to show it.
Be sure to check back for post-event coverage of “Syesha Mercado Live at the City Winery!”