Mizzou Idol winner Carley Eslick showcases her style on stage

Music has been a part of Eslick’s life since her early childhood.
2015 Mizzou Idol winner Carley Eslick poses for a portrait Monday, March 9, 2015, in Columbia, Mo.

After placing in the top five last year, sophomore Carley Eslick was named the sixth annual Mizzou Idol in February.

Eslick said she was excited and very surprised to win Mizzou Idol this year.

“I honestly was not expecting it at all,” she said. “I did it last year and made top five, but you know the competition was really tough, so I knew it was going to be that tough again. I was honored to be able to win this year.”

Unlike many of the other competitors this year, Eslick chose to play her own music instead of using karaoke tracks. Not only did she showcase her talent with the guitar as during last year’s competition, but she showed her piano skills this year.

“I actually took a big risk this year,” Eslick said. “This was the first time I had ever played piano in front of people on a stage and sang at the same time. I just tried to show all of my talents and put it all out there so everyone can see what I can do.”

Senior Chantel George, the 2014 winner of Mizzou Idol and a judge for this year’s competition, complimented Eslick on her performance and the risks it involved.

“I think she did her thing and really showcased her talent in the best way she could,” George said. “She’s great at her instrument, and you could tell that she was confident when she performed her songs. It’s risky to play an instrument because you can’t really work the stage, but she got it in her own way.”

George also said Eslick’s vocal performance was “on point.”

“Not a pitch out of line, and her vocals were very pure,” George said. “I could tell she, one, warmed up her voice well and, two, rehearsed and enjoyed performing.”

Music has been a part of Eslick’s life since her early childhood. At a young age, she sang at her grandparents’ church and from seventh grade through high school was a part of the School of Rock in Kansas City.

Through School of Rock, she auditioned and made House Band, the elite group, and went on an AllStars Tour, traveling to various areas in the U.S.

“School of Rock is what really got me into singing,” Eslick said. “When I was younger, I did so many things, but when I started School of Rock, it showed me just how talented I am in the music aspect. So I just veered towards that and dropped everything else on the way.”

Eslick said she prefers to sing blues-style songs. She enjoys mash-ups and creates covers in order to put unique spins on original songs. She thought her song choice for Mizzou Idol was an element of her performance that set her apart.

“I did a mash-up between ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and ‘Harder to Breathe,’” Eslick said about her performance. “They’re older songs, but everyone knows them, so that’s kind of why I chose them. I didn’t think anyone else would do it.”

Eslick has two goals when she sings and said she tries to incorporate them into aspects of every performance.

“I really enjoy changing up songs and making them new,” she said. “I like surprising people. They hear it one way for so long, so I like making it unique.”

In addition to adding a unique spin to common favorites, Eslick said she enjoys inserting herself into her music.

“It sounds cliché, but I like putting emotion into my music,” Eslick said. “Some songs touch different people. You might not know it every time, but when you hear music, you think of other memories related to that music, either with the words or with the song itself.”

Eslick said her mom has always been her biggest supporter.

“She’s pretty much my manager, or my ‘momager,'” Eslick said. “She picks a lot of my songs that I sing, knows exactly what’s in my vocal range and what will highlight the small things in my voice.”

Eslick’s mother, Dee Eslick, has been at every show and even followed her on tour to see her various gigs. She said she is extremely proud of who her daughter has become and of her future plans.

“I feel she wants to use her talents to help people,” Dee Eslick said. “Besides her goal to become a doctor, she loves to be on stage and also feels that she can sometimes affect people’s lives in that way.”

Although she has plans to be a doctor, Eslick wants to continue doing music gigs on the side.

Mizzou Idol was one of those fun, less-stressful singing experiences for Eslick, and she said she was grateful for the chance to participate in it once again.

She said Mizzou Idol was a wonderful opportunity and one that other vocally talented students should be a part of during their years at MU.

“I loved it the past two years,” Eslick said. “Missouri Theatre is beautiful, and it’s so much fun because the audio and the sound there is so good. So it was nice to perform there.”

“2015 Mizzou Idol winner” is just another title Eslick will be able to add to her list of music accomplishments and exciting experiences. It is also one in which will aid her success in the future.

“It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of people,” Eslick said. “And I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

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