Interview with Felicia Barton: Local American Idol [9.22.09]

Felicia Barton was a top 36 contestant on this year's American Idol. She's captivating on stage & even sweeter off the stage. She lives here in Virginia Beach & I recently interviewed her for my college newspaper, The Marlin Chronicle. 
You can read the full story here: 

1. Cherylyn: How old were you when you started singing and when did you write your first song? Do you play any instruments? 
Felicia: My brother says I probably came out singing. In other words, I don’t remember when singing and music in general wasn’t a part of my life! I took piano lessons for about a year and can pick around on a guitar, but only enough to get myself in trouble!

2. Cherylyn: If you weren't singing what other career or interests would you pursue? 
Felicia: Probably songwriting...which I think is something I will be pursuing along side being an artist.  I think writing for other people is a challenge and a lot of fun!

3. Cherylyn: Who are your musical influences? Who are your favorite bands/musicians to listen to? 
Felicia: I grew up listening to a lot of gospel music so early on that was my influence. CeCe Winans but since then it has been a lot of different styles...The Fray, Natasha Bedingfield, Alicia Keys, Israel Houghton, Celine dion.

4. Cherylyn: How would you describe your music/sound to someone who has never heard you sing before? 
Felicia: Organic pop...kinda a Natasha Bedingfield with some Alicia Keys, however I love all styles so you will hear a little Motown in some songs and a little rock in others.

5. Cherylyn: What ultimately sparked your decision to audition for American Idol? 
Felicia: I want to pursue this as  a career and American Idol is the largest stage and an outlet for a lot of people to get in front of some of the biggest people in the industry. In other words, why not? I didn’t want to be 40 and look back and say I wish I had!

6. Cherylyn: How has your life changed most drastically since your American Idol journey? What has surprised you the most?
Felicia: The biggest surprise was having fans all over the world! I think being recognized has changed my life, also, just making a decision to pursue this full time. It has meant a lot of traveling and being on the road so much is a definite change!

7. Cherylyn: What or who inspires you the most? 
Felicia: My family. I want to teach malachi (my 2 year old) how to chase his dreams, and the best way for him to learn is to see mommy chasing her dreams!

8. Cherylyn: If you could collaborate with any other musician in the world who would it be? Who has been your favorite person to collaborate with so far? 
Felicia: I have a dream to do a few duets...Celine Dion, Cece Winans, and Josh Groban. I would love to collaborate with Justin Timberlake. This answer is endless.

9. Cherylyn: How do you balance life as a wife, mother, and a musician as you're traveling back and forth between Nashville and Virginia Beach working on your record? 
Felicia: I try to bring everyone with me as often as possible! This is a journey and it wouldn’t be worth it if I did it by myself!

10. Cherylyn: Have you sensed (or planned) any reoccurring themes in the songs you've been writing? Do you have an idea of when you will release your first album or does it depend on a record deal?  
Felicia: As of right now that depends on a record deal. I just want all of my songs to speak to people where they are and be positive!. I am pretty exhausted by negative lyrics.

11. Cherylyn: What is your ultimate goal? Define "Success" for you. 
Felicia: Success in life has to do with happiness, family, and living your dreams! I am also a big believer in faith and know that without it, life on earth is eternally not going to matter much, so keeping faith, keeping family together, and living my passions!

12. Cherylyn: Are you more passionate about performing live or the songwriting and recording process? Or do you love both equally? 
Felicia: Loving both pretty equally right now.

13. Cherylyn: Do you have any hobbies, passions, hidden talents, or something interesting that most people don't know about you? 
Felicia: Ha!!! Not really. I mean I like to shop, watch movies, and take lots of family days!

14. Cherylyn: What has been your favorite thing about growing up and living in Virginia Beach? 
Felicia: I love this city!  Everything about it.

15. Cherylyn: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? If you had to change everything about yourself, but were able to keep one quality that you possess, what would it be? 
Felicia: Well, Im not going to cop out on this question. I think if I had to pick one thing to change it would be my  sloppiness...i hate cleaning. I do it because I have to. In fact, when I finally have extra money, I will be hiring a house cleaner! On the other side, if I had to change everything about me but could keep one quality, it would be my love for music. Music speaks to people on so many levels and with this love I believe you can help people through whatever they may be going through.

16. Cherylyn: Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?  
Felicia: Don’t give up! Take every gig possible. Don’t think that the industry big wigs of the world are going to find you...go find them! Practice practice practice! It's what the professionals do.

17. Cherylyn: Is there anything else that you want the world to know? Any last words? 
Felicia: My favorite quote is “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, and do that. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and do that, because the world needs people who have come alive!”- John Eldridge

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