Nicole Farda was just 4 years old when she first took on the stage. That's when she and her family knew it could be the start of something great.
The Yorktown girl was at a restaurant that was hosting a karaoke night and after seeing the "big kids" and adults sing, she decided to go up and sing a Brittany Spears song.
"Everyone seemed to love it and thought it was the cutest thing ever," said Nicole, now 15 years old. "I had so much fun doing it and loved performing for people. My mom said I was always singing when I was a baby, humming songs."
This weekend, the freshman will take to the stage at MSG Varsity's Talent Show, competing for a two-day professional studio experience, including working with an award-winning producer to cut a demo CD or video and create custom-designed cover art. The winner of the show will also receive a professional photo shoot.
"Winning the talent show would be such an accomplishment," Nicole said. "It makes me feel like I can actually do this and people love it as much as I do."
Nicole is one of eight acts, and the only one from Westchester, competing in the show, which will air its second episode on Sunday, April 22 at 8 p.m. Hosted by "American Idol" semifinalist Jared Cotter, MSG Varsity’s Talent Show will feature performances in three categories—individual vocalist, vocal ensemble and dance ensemble.
It’s important for viewers to go online www.msgvarsitytalentshow.com and cast their votes for their favorite talent. The performers receiving the most online votes each week will advance to the next round.
"The most rewarding part of this process was making me feel famous in little Yorktown," Nicole said. "Now everyone knows me as 'the girl who sings.' The most challenging part of this process was learning the songs and making it my own."
Nicole has been taking vocal lessons for about seven months. She started teaching herself the guitar and piano three years ago, until she recently got a piano teacher. Prior to the show, she had piano and voice lessons twice a week, which she said was very time consuming, but she was lucky to have "amazing people supporting" her.
"Music means the world to me," Nicole said. "Music is a part of my everyday life and gets me through so much. It is something that I can do every day and actually be pretty good at. I don't know what I would do without it, my life would be nothing."
Besides Nicole, the second episode of MSG Varsity’s Talent Show will include performances from individual vocalists such as Stephanie Hanvey, Melanie Martinez and Matthew Mayer.
"I'm really impressed with the caliber of the performances delivered by these high schoolers," Cotter said. "It’s great to be part of MSG Varsity’s Talent Show because it gives these kids a great platform to showcase their talents. I only wish they had this when I was in high school."
Nicole said she tried out for the Talent Show after her friend's mother told her about it. She had to send in an online audition tape, but a few weeks went by and she hadn't heard from anyone.
"Then, I got the e-mail saying 'Congratulations,'" Nicole said. "That's when i knew that I was actually good and could do this. I was really nervous about the performance. I had never done anything this big, ever! This was huge I had no idea what was going to happen. Luckily the experience was incredible and I couldn't have been more grateful."
Nicole's musical influence is her elementary school music teacher Jean Cilione, she said.
"She taught me that everyone can sing, if you tried hard enough you can do anything, if you love what you're doing, stick to it," Nicole said. "That's when I actually realized music is my passion."
The talented performer said she wants to thank everyone for making this amazing journey happen for her.
"If it wasn't for the MSG Varsity crew, Yorktown High School and my family this would of never be possible," she said. "Thank you."
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