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Aspiring teen singer-songwriter is 'On The Spot'

By by jessica rodrigo/jrodrigo@vicad.com
April 4, 2011 at 9:02 p.m.
Updated April 5, 2011 at 11:06 p.m.

Sarah Rivas

ABOUT SARAH RIVAS

YouTube: www.youtube.com/sarahrivasmusic

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sarahrivasmusic

Twitter: twitter.com/SarahRivas

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE

WHAT: Cinco de Mayo Fest

WHERE: Riverside Park

WHEN: 2 p.m., Saturday, May 7

Most people shudder and shy away from the idea of being on the spot - everyone watching your every move; listening to everything you say and do; criticism and scrutiny preparing to rear their ugly heads - you know the scenario. But on the contrary, 17-year-old Sarah Rivas is not most people.

After her debut appearance as a contestant of "On The Spot," an online and interactive talent search with Johnny Wright, Sarah walked away with more than just a pounding heart and shortness of breath.

Sarah heard about the "On The Spot" talent search from another aspiring performer, and decided that "it would be fun to audition for." She put together an audition piece playing the piano to a short version of Paparazzi by Lady Gaga and submitted it in to the show. And lucky for her, the submission made it to the right people just hours before the deadline.

"I really didn't expect for it to go as far as it did," she reflected over the telephone. "I didn't think that they would be able to see it out of the thousands that auditioned."

Once a contender in the top 20, the performers are chosen to compete in the weekly challenges and placed on the spot. Sarah competed in two challenges before getting taken off the show, including a style and dance challenge.

"It was kind of a shocker for everybody because usually, they only pull one to two off a week, but (for the dance challenge) they decided to cut all three of us," Sarah said. "It was kind of an interesting twist."

Despite her being pulled from the show, the young singer-songwriter isn't disappointed about losing her spot.

"I got a lot of exposure and great advice," she said. "I met a lot of cool people over the Internet that are still involved with ("On The Spot")."

Only a junior in high school and being home-schooled, Sarah has a long road ahead of her to develop her singing career. She said she will continue writing songs and recording singles to eventually put together a CD. She has two single releases available on iTunes and CDBaby.com called "Sound of Love" and "Make Your Move," and is looking forward to releasing a new single, "Duh," in the near future.

"One thing that I took to heart, and am going to keep working on, is the fact that the vocal coach, who was one of the judges, commented about some things that I do with my voice that I am going to be working on with my vocal coach in Austin," she said. And her voice is something special.

Though she is only 17 years old, her voice has a very sultry sound, inspired by singers including Joss Stone, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Kelly Clarkson, Ella Fitzgerald, Christina Aguilera and Sarah Vaughan, according to her YouTube channel.

In her everyday, sweet teenage voice, she added that her time on the show was a humbling, but career-building venture.

"I wasn't used to being around those kind of people in the industry, so it was really helpful," Sarah said. "It was a very exciting experience, but a little overwhelming. I really enjoyed it."

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