Although finding a foothold in the entertainment industry can be an intimidating and difficult feat, junior Chantel George is determined to break into stardom doing what she loves most: singing.
When George was 9 years old, she moved from Nigeria to America. She started out in Michigan and moved to Chicago three years later.
Music had always been a big part of her life, but it was only when she came to America that she realized singing could be a career.
“I think that ever since I came here, (singing) was basically what I used as an identification of who I was,” George said. “I’d be singing all the time.”
George sang in four choruses while attending the Larkin High School Visual Performing Arts Academy in Elgin, Ill.
Additionally, she has sung on Fox News, auditioned for The Voice and America’s Got Talent and even performed for the co-producer of Glee.
At MU, George has performed at the Life Music Series and competed in Mizzou Idol.
“Whatever opportunity I get to sing, I take it,” George said.
George competed in Mizzou Idol during her freshman and sophomore years. In both years, she fell short of the coveted title.
“Sophomore year, I worked at it,” George said. “I brought friends, I invited people, and so to only make it to the top five and not actually win was really, really disappointing. I definitely questioned myself and said, ‘Do I really want to do this again?’”
After two losses, George decided to compete one last time and give it her all.
In February, George won first place at the fifth annual Mizzou Idol. She said the experience was exhilarating.
“It was really, really exciting,” George said. “I competed two years before and I didn’t win, … so actually winning was amazing because it shows that hard work does pay off.”
George said her favorite part about competing in Mizzou Idol was the rush of getting to perform in front of a huge crowd and getting to know all the contestants.
“You get to meet new people every year and hear different talents every year,” George said. “It’s really cool to join with another group of people who enjoy the same thing as you.”
Junior Angela Pearson has been friends with George for three years and has seen her perform many times.
“She definitely has a stage presence,” Pearson said. “Her powerful and soulful voice touches the audience. She dances and encourages audience participation.”
George said her parents have always been supportive of her passion for singing. She said her mom has been her biggest cheerleader.
It was George’s mom who persuaded her to start writing original songs when she was a freshman in high school. She still keeps a notebook specifically for writing music and has composed about 15 songs, but she said she doesn’t share them until they are perfected.
“I think singing was a huge contribution to my self confidence,” George said. “I used to be a nervous wreck in front of people. … It was horrible. I think with signing, it definitely made me come out of my box.”
After George graduates, she plans to move to Los Angeles to pursue a music career.
“I kind of want to do a pop/rock/R&B thing mixed together — just create almost a new sound to people,” George said. “I want to become a legend one day; I want to be someone that people talk about.”
Pearson said she envisions George living out her dream, despite the difficulty of finding success in the music industry.
“Chantel is extremely friendly and makes friends easily,” Pearson said. “This combined with her diverse talents of singing, dancing and acting will ensure that she succeeds. Chantel also is persistent and refuses to settle for anything less than perfect. “
George said everybody should follow their dreams, no matter what they are.
“Whatever it is, I think that everyone should take the chance to follow their dream,” George said. “You never know what’s going to happen and you don’t want to end up asking ‘What if?’ That would be the biggest regret.”