Carbonear woman attends United Nations event on the status of women
CARBONEAR — Karen Gill of Carbonear recently arrived home from New York City, after she, along with 20 others, attended the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
Rodney Slade (right) with Zack Werner, one of the judges for Sing NL.
VICTORIA — Rodney Slade is one of four contestants heading to the semi-finals of the Sing NL competition this May — something he says is a dream come true.
Slade, 19, lives in Victoria, and has been singing since the age of seven, saying that he picked up an interest in music through his family, specifically his mother, who is a trained singer.
“Mom would be just going around the house, practicing her songs for church, or anything else she had coming up,” explained Slade. “So I think I was initially inspired to start singing from her.”
Music has always been a big part of Slade’s life. He grew up around family members who sang and played guitar, and throughout his school life he was involved in several music productions, including things like CC Idol at Carbonear Collegiate. Slade noted that he wouldn’t be able to do what he does if it were not for the music teachers he had in school while attending Persalvic and Carbonear Collegiate.Upon hearing about Sing NL, Slade said he was hesitant as to whether or not he should give it a shot. He said that when he decided to go through with it, he felt a sense of nervousness during auditions that he wasn’t used to.
“My hands were shaking like crazy,” said Slade. “It’s not like a normal gig. I’ve played in front of audiences before with no issue, but this is a competition — there’s a win or lose aspect to it, and that was different for me.”
I guess everyone has dreams of making it big, but I think this is a real step in that direction.
Slade has played gigs all over his hometown and surrounding areas, both as a solo act and with a band he and his friends formed a couple years back called Midnight Drive, who have set off two youth rallies where all funds received were donated to the Ronald McDonald House.
Despite the nerves, Slade came out of his audition successful, and has continued that streak of success up to this point. Now, Slade is preparing for the semi-finals, which take place in St. John’s on May 5th.
“It’s been a mind blowing experience so far. Surreal, really,” said Slade. “This is something I’ve wanted to do my whole life, you know? I guess everyone has dreams of making it big, but I think this is a real step in that direction. It’s not like, national level big, but it’s still a huge deal and opportunity for me.”
Zack Werner is one of the judges for Sing NL. Werner, who was also a judge on Canadion Idol, has been acting as something of a voice coach for Slade and other competitors, which is something Slade isn’t used to, having never taken voice lessons before in his life.
Slade mentioned that Werner’s been a very big help during his Sing NL experience, and said that without the extra work Werner’s put in, he’s not sure he’d be where he is in the competition right now.
All Sing NL performances are done in front of Werner and other judges, as well as an audience. After the performance, judges contribute 50 per cent of the votes, and the audience adds the remaining 50 per cent.
Slade said that even if he doesn’t win the competition, he still has plans for a career in the music industry. At the moment, he has several original songs written and completed, and is hoping to get them recorded when he’s finished with Sing NL.
His own songs take influence from artists such as Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line. Country music has always been a favourite of his.
Sing NL has been ongoing since mid March, and will continue with qualifying rounds through April. The finale takes place on May 20th.
The winner of the competition will be given the choice to work with either Peter Daniel Newman, or David Fitzpatrick, along with several other prizes including their own music video produced by Up Sky Down Films, a professional photoshoot, a month of vocal lessons with Werner, several performances at various places in St. John’s, and other things that would be beneficial to a career in the music industry.