Junior Kira Levin and senior Olivia Morgan received awards from the National YoungArts Foundation, further contributing to their careers as musicians.
The National YoungArts Foundation is a program based in Miami, Florida that chooses students from around the world to reward them for their artistic success. Artists can apply under ten different disciplines for the opportunity to win awards for specific talents. Levin received the finalist award in the jazz voice category, which granted her an all-expense-paid trip to Miami to work with several jazz musicians to improve her singing. Morgan received a merit award in the category for pop voice.
“Because it is a national award, I do get looked at by other people,” Levin said. “It will help me a lot because it is national recognition, so it will help me with my career, as far as being a musician, and getting into college.”
Levin attended the finalist trip to Miami from Jan. 7 to Jan. 14 that consisted of several master classes which focused on the specific disciplines and developing young artists’ talents. Levin focused on jazz voice during the week and was able to work with Ms. La Tanya Hall, a jazz vocalist coach who selected Levin for the award.
“It was hands-down the best week of my life and I met some incredible people,” Levin said. “Every night [we saw] the shows from the other disciplines. Everybody just got really close and [I] just learned so much from it.”
To apply, both Levin and Morgan submitted four audition videos online in Sept., and received their awards in Dec., after being selected by panelists who are professionals specific to the categories. Both Levin and Morgan believe that submitting their videos helped them improve their music skills, they said.
“I had a friend who did this program, and I thought that I really wanted to do it,” Levin said. “I told my teacher that I really wanted to get YoungArts and [I thought] let’s work on this now, because I want to do the best that I can and when I submit them, I want to feel like there was nothing that I could have done to have been better. I [worked] on those songs all year, but I wasn’t expecting it at all.”
Levin and Morgan both started singing as children, and have pursued their passions throughout high school. Levin’s mom is a singer, and Levin began singing at a young age. Morgan discovered her enthusiasm for music as a child as well, and she said she practiced singing with vocal lessons.
“I have been singing since I was ten and I have taken private vocal lessons,” Morgan said. “I started lessons just because I always loved to sing.”
Both Levin and Morgan plan to pursue their musical careers after high school. Levin hopes to major in jazz studies in college, while possibly tackling a double major in English. Morgan plans to major in musical theater in college and to later pursue a career in musical theater.
“This award is really cool because I got to network with a lot of other really talented people,” Levin said. “Some of the jazz musicians live in L.A., so if I need a jazz musician for a gig, I could say, ‘we’re both YoungArts winners, could you come play on the stage for me?’ It definitely helps in making a lot of connections. I thought that I did everything I could, and whatever happened was supposed to happen.”