What does winning the 2020 Virtual Dream Night Talent Search (VDNTS) mean to you?

VDNTS is giving me a chance to put myself out there and prepare for the music industry and hopefully Broadway. Being included with some great talent this year meant the world to me. To see and hear these great singers and artists pushed me to perform to my best. I am already seeing the benefits of winning.

What inspired you to become a musician?

I started out dancing and became aware of the music that I was dancing to, and how this music made me feel. This started me thinking about how I could create these same emotions and extend my creativity from dance through creating music as well. This allows me to express more of “me.”

What surprises have you encountered in pursuing your music career?

Starting down this path I felt all alone for all of 2 minutes when I realized how well the music community supports you as a growing artist. People were there to help with ideas, knowledge, and basic overall support. It is nice to see that even though we are in competition in some ways, we all seem to band together and help lift each other up. This is a career filled with several no’s before you get a yes. So hugs, fist bumps, high fives, and “woot woots” mean everything starting out.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

The biggest challenge I face is struggling to find out who I am as an artist. Being from a very small town and wanting a career in broadway you find very few people who share your passion for Musical Theater. Most do not understand that Broadway is still a viable career path for me. Not all 16-year-olds want to sing country-pop or just regular pop. So when I break out into the rap “My Shot” from Hamilton it confuses people, because it is rap as well as Musical Theater.

What’s your process for writing lyrics and where do you get the inspiration for your songs?

Usually, I end up in my room with my phone so I can jot down words and quickly record melody and music ideas. The inspiration comes mainly from my friends and movies. So I will watch a movie all the way through and when it ends I seem to get inspired on where the characters will go after the film ends. Sometimes I catch myself finishing off a happily ever after, beginning a new era or just making a scary movie more frightening.

Tell us about your most memorable performances.

I have always enjoyed watching the “Wizard of Oz” and the character of Dorothy Gale. It was a dream come true when I got to play her with Dream Weavers Theater. It was a pleasure sharing the stage with all of the talented young men and women.

Have you shared the stage with anyone we would know?

I have been honored and excited to have shared the stage with amazing dancers such as Kent Boyd and Molly Gray from “Teen Beach Movie.” To this date, I have not been able to share the stage with any of my Broadway Idols but Katherine McPhee (see picture) touched my face at the stage door for “Waitress.” One day we will sing together!!

Anything else you want to share?

This whole experience with VDNTS has been an amazing journey. I would like to thank the judges and the people who run this event. They made it easy and fun to participate even though we were not able to travel due to the COVID19 outbreaks. 

You can find Kari at http://www.talentwatch.com/artist/profile/kari-erickson.