At 17 Jordin Sparks was the youngest winner on the American Idol stage, bringing home the title for the sixth season of the show. Her career started long before setting foot in front of the Idol judges, as Jordan had been developing her voice and performing since she was a young child.
Jordin began performing in front of an audience at the tender age of four. She would regularly compete in a children’s singing contest as a local restaurant, and often brought home the prize. While she was viewed as a natural talent, Jordin actually sang and practiced constantly at home. By the time she was 13, she was performing with the Phoenix Valley Youth Theatre. This gave Jordin access to instructors that helped her maximize her vocal power while performing simultaneously.
Jordin was not satisfied with singing just to friends and family. She took the first steps to the national arena in her early teens. She chose homeschooling and left her school friends behind in order to dedicate more time to practice her singing. She put in long hours with a vocal coach after completing her school work each day. Even at her young age she knew that sacrifices must be made in order to launch a successful singing career.
Jordin continued to challenge herself. She competed in America’s Most Talented Kid and the Colgate Country Showdown. While the championships for these competitions eluded her, she did not allow it to stop her. She regarded each loss as a lesson on how to improve, working harder and practicing even more after each competition.
She never limited herself to one genre, singing everything from country to gospel and pop. This is a lesson to all aspiring vocalists to never pigeon hole themselves into one style. Jordin’s constant challenging of herself allowed her to not only find the genre she performs best in, but gave her the necessary skills to handle the multiple singing styles required to win a competition like American Idol.
Practice, adaptability and confidence are the hallmarks of Jordin’s successful career. Her confidence in her own abilities and willingness to learn from her mistakes allowed her to move from her amateurish singing at the beginning of Idol the professional sound that won her the competition. Even while losing some competitions, she still took every opportunity to perform—whether by entering the next contest or performing the National Anthem before a Cardinals game. These are lessons that can benefit every aspiring singer.