Q:Tell me about the support you have gotten from your family.
A: My parents are really supportive, my dad especially. He's been really helpful as I'm doing this and looking at colleges. My uncle has helped me writing music since I write my own songs and he's helped me develop that. I don't think I would have done [American Idol] without my aunt. She gave me the push and once I got that I knew I had to be confident.
Q:What was it like having Randy Jackson show up at your school?
A: I didn't expect that at all. I thought it would be a school assembly. I had no idea it was happening. When he said my name I was just like, "Whoa whoa whoa this is not happening." Once he said "What do you like to sing," I just started to cry. I didn't know it was real life. It's a show I grew up with and I didn't think I'd ever be on it.
Q: Were you nervous singing for the judges?
A: Yes. It was probably the most nerve-wracking thing I've ever done. I've gotten used to being in front of people because I've been doing piano recitals a long time. I was nervous because they're big stars but once I started singing I just closed my eyes for a second and I was back in my music room at home. They were really nice and I was pleasantly surprised.
Q: Are you involved in any singing groups in Alpharetta?
A: I play piano with a local music company. I do a lot of events at school - I'm not in chorus but I do a lot of music things - and now I have a YouTube channel where I am putting some of my music. I'm trying to do a cover every week.
Q: What are you most excited about with the American Idol experience?
A: The confidence has been the best part so far. Now I'm saying yes to more things and that's going to help me out in the end.
Check out the full story in Wednesday's Neighbor Newspaper.