Syesha Mercado on local upbringing, ‘Idol’ and ‘Mormon’ – News – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

The Booker High School graduate working on a new album speaks about her time in Sarasota-Manatee and accomplishments outside of it

GBM Idol Talent Showcase: 7:30 p.m. Saturday; Ringling College Auditorium; $7; 941-302-1863; mygbm.net

 

Editor’s note: Syesha Mercado, a Booker High School graduate who came in third place during “American Idol” season seven in 2008, starred in a national tour of “Dreamgirls” in 2009 and played Nabulungi in “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway, was scheduled to be a celebrity judge Saturday for the local teen talent competition GBM Idol Talent Showcase. The event is part of the Greatness Beyond Measure teen summit, which runs Friday-Sunday.

Shortly before publication, Mercado cancelled her appearance at the event due to a family emergency. She will be replaced by Jade Novah, a singer whose covers of Rihanna, Adele and others have received millions of views on YouTube. Fellow local “American Idol” contestant Sam Woolf is still scheduled to participate in the event.

What were some of the important places and people for you growing up here?

When I was younger, I was actually the first recipient to receive a scholarship for Take Stock in Children in Manatee County. Through Take Stock in Children, I met my wonderful mentor Barbara Johnson, who helped me realize the importance of writing down goals and planning for the future. Along with Team Success and the Booker VPA theater department, I was given the tools I needed to pursue my goals. Those organizations played a major role in my success, definitely.

When George Generoso stepped down from the Five O’Clock Club, he mentioned your headlining 2009 Giving Hunger the Blues show as a highlight of the venue. What was that experience like?

Wow, I still go back and look at that photo from Giving Hunger the Blues and it just takes my breath away. I can still feel the love and the energy from the crowd. It’s just…

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