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Student Spotlight: Maraya M

For this month’s Student Spotlight, we had the pleasure of speaking with Maraya, a 13-year-old performer in our OC Glee vocal group. She joined OC Glee when she was 11 and has been finding and sharing her voice with us ever since, much to our joy! Her Glee teacher, Molly G. recommended her for her hard work and great attitude. Say hello to a persistent, focused young lady who we’re proud to call one of our own.

MM: When did you start singing, and do you play any instruments?

Maraya: My mom sang when I was growing up, and sometimes I liked to sing to be louder than her. When I was 9, she helped me learn a song for OC Idol by Miranda Cosgrove. I didn’t get through that time because they said it wasn’t age-appropriate, but I’ve kept performing. I learned clarinet a few years ago in school, and someday would like to learn more instruments, like piano, guitar, and even saxophone.

MM: How do you share music with others? What’s that like?

Maraya: When I first started doing plays, we performed in front of big audiences in Hollywood, and I really liked that feeling. You made really close friends with everyone else, and learned about staying in character and pretending you’re someone else. I was in a play called A Pirate’s Life For Me this year, and we had to practice 3-4 hours at a time, and from 9-6 on Saturdays for dress rehearsals! I also sing in my school choir, and with Glee, of course.

MM: Can you share about a big learning/overcoming experience for you, and advice you would give?

Maraya: I tried out for OC Idol again this year, singing “Titanium” and “Fireflies.” “Titanium” has some higher notes that are tough, so I had to practice it a lot, and then listen to it, and practice again, and see if there were parts I wanted to sing differently than the original. I was nervous before I performed, but I tried to just listen to the radio and think, “I know that I know it.” That can help. It was hard, because they said I didn’t pick the right song to showcase my voice, but I also sort of feel they didn’t like how I changed the song. It wasn’t the way American Idol judges respond, where it’s good when you do things in a different way. That was hard, because I really felt I was better than some of the others that were chosen. I don’t know if I’ll do OC Idol again, but I’m definitely doing choir again in school, and Glee, and more plays.

MM: How do you get yourself to practice, and what are your goals?

Maraya: I want to try and just be original, you know, to be my own artist and sing in my own way. I don’t like to have people hear me practice, but I’ll sing all over the house when no one’s there (sometimes when I’m doing chores too).

MM: Who are a few bands/artists that have inspired you, and why?

Maraya: I really like Five Seconds of Summer, Taylor Swift, and One Direction. I also like Coldplay, because they have a different, more original sound to me.

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