Auditioning for American Idol: An Interview With Kristin Corpuz

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“You’re going to Hollywood!” That’s what Kristin Corpuz heard as she auditioned for American Idol!

Kristin Corpuz is a musician, actress, and dancer from Tampa, FL. She has been performing her entire life, making appearances in concerts and venues including Birdland NYC, High School Musical: The Tour (Opening Act), “Making Magic, Defying Gravity” with the first National Tour of Wicked, and Neil Berg’s “100 Years of Broadway,” and has sung the National Anthem for professional sports teams including the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers. Kristin was one of 300 people in the country to be selected to move on to the Hollywood Week round of American Idol: Season 11. She currently attends Berklee College of Music as a first semester Voice principle, and as one of the seven Presidential Scholars for the entering Class of 2013.

TTN: Kristin, do you remember how you started singing?

KRISTIN: I started singing in church choir; I loved the group there. I didn’t try to sing; I didn’t try to force myself to sing, I just really liked doing it, so it just kind of happened naturally.

TTN: How long have you been singing?

KRISTIN: I’ve been singing ever since I can remember. My parents said I could sing before I could talk.

TTN: How would you describe your musical background?

KRISTIN: In terms of listening, I grew up listening to the music my parents liked listening to, so they played classic rock and jazz. And then I discovered that I didn’t like it, so then I started listening to the music my sister listened to, which was all 90’s pop. I eventually figured out my own taste in music as I grew up. Performance wise, I sang first and then I joined ballet classes and piano classes when I was in kindergarten. I stuck with those for a really long time. I picked up the harp in middle school. I stopped taking lessons after about 10 years, and then I just continued to do it on my own.

TTN: Was there someone who inspired you to audition for American Idol?

KRISTIN: Not particularly, it was just a long time dream of mine. I really liked the show; I followed it religiously growing up and then I dreamed of turning sixteen so that I could audition for it.

TTN: What were your favorite moments at American Idol?

KRISTIN: I would say the whole experience itself it was a really good learning experience. I enjoyed meeting new people from all over the country who have the same interests as me. I particularly liked the Celebrity Judges round, I thought it was a lot of fun. There was a lot of waiting involved, so it wasn’t as exciting as it might seem on TV, but it was definitely a good experience for me overall. The Celebrity Judges round was definitely my favorite though, because it was the first time the show felt real.

TTN: If you could describe your experience auditioning for American Idol in one word, what would it be and why?

KRISTIN: I think “interesting.” It’s not exactly what people make it out to be on TV. It’s not as glamorous as it seems. It’s a lot a waiting, it’s a lot of having to stay up all night. It’s a lot of meetings and a lot of paperwork. It’s an eye-opening experience getting to see behind the scenes. I really did enjoy myself though; it was a really good experience for me. Especially being young at the time; not saying that I’m not young now, but getting to experience something like that while you’re still in high school is a lot of fun.

kristin arms up

TTN: Can you describe what you did at the Hollywood level of American Idol?

KRISTIN: We got to LA, we took a bus to Pasadena. We got to our hotel, we got changed, and they sent us to an orientation meeting. They had the producers do a pep talk, show us the rules, things like that. The next day, I had to wake up really early to do my solo audition (that’s the time where there’s a line of ten people, and we all sing one after each other). I got cut that round, and I was sent home the next day.

TTN: What was the most nerve-wracking part of the audition?

KRISTIN: I think then, right after I sang in Hollywood week, there was a good five minutes where we were just waiting on stage, and the judges and the producers conversed and said who they did or did not want to stay in the competition. That was probably the worst part, because you were watching them literally right in front of you, talking about you, and you don’t know whether or not they are going to say yes. So that was probably the worst part of it. I didn’t get nervous until that point. I think the waiting is more nerve-wracking than actually doing it.

TTN: What was it like working with the judges and the contestants at American Idol?

KRISTIN: The contestants were all great. Even though it was a competition, I feel like everyone there wanted to make friends. I still talk to a lot of those people now, even after 2 years. I really appreciate that, the fact that I have friends from all over country who are super talented, and are aiming for the same things that I am. With the judges, they really weren’t that accessible. I only got to talk to them at my first audition with them. After that, I didn’t interact with them much. They gave us a pep talk before our solo auditions in Hollywood but besides that they didn’t really talk to us that much.

TTN: What advice would you give someone planning on auditioning for American Idol?

KRISTIN: Be yourself. It sounds really cliché, but when there’s so many different people there who are coming from different backgrounds, it’s very easy to get lost in the crowd. So, I would say the best advice would be to just sing what you want to sing. It’s a TV show, also. You have to keep that in mind. The producers are going to pick who they think are going to make good TV, so you might as well be yourself doing it. Don’t try to fake you way through it, otherwise you’re not going to be happy if you get success out of it later on.

TTN: Do you think you would audition for American Idol again?

KRISTIN: I would not. I say no because I’m not particularly sure that I love the behind-the-scenes side of it. I don’t like how staged things are, generally. And it’s a reality television show, so I think the downside of that is that a lot of it is not actually real. If there was an opportunity to have an experience similar to that, where I would get to meet all those contestants, but not in a reality show setting, I would love it so much more.

TTN: So now you are studying at Berklee in Boston, tell us about that?

Kristin: Since I’m a first semester student, I haven’t declared a major yet (we declare our majors second semester). My principle instrument is Voice, and I plan on taking piano and harp classes here as well. I want to become a Professional Music major, which is basically a make-your-own-major type of major, with a concentration in Performance. I want to also take classes in different fields because my interests are very widespread; I definitely want to take advantage of all the incredible resources that Berklee has to offer. I’m loving school so far — it’s challenging, but not too hard, and the faculty are all incredible musicians. I’ve learned so much and I’ve barely even been here a month; I’m looking forward to the next 4 years here.

TTN: Where do you see yourself in ten years, and how do you plan to get there?

KRISTIN:  Ideally, in 10 years, I would love to be a recording artist, writing and producing my own music. I have dreams of winning a Grammy and touring the globe. I’m hoping to make connections while I’m here at Berklee, and hopefully get internships and jobs at recording studios during and after I finish school.

Photo Credit: Lauren Lambert

Photo Credit: Lauren Lambert

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Interview by Caroline Meisner for The Talent Notes

Caroline Meisner


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