Her entry video is a cover version of Every Time you Lie, a song by Demi Lovoto, shot up close on a hard angle in an in-home recording studio in Prince George.
At just 17 years old, Jerusha White, nails it.
“It’s really well done, but it is just the basic video,” said White. Previously known as Jerusha Turgeon, the young singer decided to go back to her legal name recently.
The video was shot by her friend who is a Prince George photographer and recorded and mixed by the guitar player she usually sings with in a band, Jason Pon. The group did her entry video for the contest in just a couple days in order to get it in before the deadline in June.
The song shows her vocal skills beautifully, with everything from soft high points to straight-from-the-guts deep lyrics which make her sound far older than her young age.
While the video is basic, it gets the point across, and the point is: this girl can sing.
It was enough to get her a spot as one of the 30 semi-finalists in the PNE Star Showdown, out of over 350 entries.
The competition will take place over four days at the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) August 18-21.
The semi-finalists will compete in their age categories for the first three days, and then on the fourth and final day, the winners from each day will compete in the finals.
White’s youth category competes on August 18, so she will at least get the first part out of the way on day one.
Performers will be judged on their natural ability, their stage presence, audience appeal and overall performance by a panel of three judges from the music industry.
Dana Cole Luder is a musical theatre actress, voice and musical theatre instructor and a graduate of the Douglas College classical music program. Tammy Sanderson is the co-owner of the Fusion Dance Company and was the Dance Cast Coordinator for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Mascot Launch and the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Chad Joiner is a graduate of Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington and is an active performer, composer and adjudicator.
White will be among good company as a competitor in the showdown, many performers have gone on in their musical careers after the event, and Michael Buble competed and won in 1995.
But while she would undoubtedly be happy to win, White is trying to keep it real.
“You never go there for the competition,” said White. “I’m not really a competitive person.”
Instead, she said it is more about “personal best” and she wants to know she gave it her all. She’s also hoping to gain the attention of some of the scouts for the music industry she knows will be watching which she hopes could one day lead to some sort of recording deal.
“I’m just flying by the seat of my pants,” she said.
The young performer will return from the showdown just in time for her annual appearance at the local Music on the Mountain music festival in Fort St. James.
A fan of the festival, she loves having the different styles of music right here in Fort.
“We have a bunch of good memories and I hope this year’s the same,” she said.
This year, White and the band backing her up will be doing some original songs she and Pon wrote.
“I’m really nervous,” said White, who does the lyrics and vocal melody while Pong does all the background musical arrangement.
The decision to perform some originals at MoM was slow in coming, as Pon was pushing to do them while White was hesitant.
“He won, so we’re putting two originals in there,” she said.
While her band will be performing together again this year at MoM, the group has decided to go their separate ways, and she and Pon will be continuing to work together and hopefully search out more people to join them.
“I’m not sure how it’s going to go but hopefully (we’ll) get something together right quick,” she said.
After she graduates next year, White is hoping to take some time to backpack Europe, after which she’d like to study music in either Victoria or Toronto.