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Meet singer and pianist Jamee Nielsen

In the next of our series of interviews with My Dream Is To Be talent, we talk to singer and pianist Jamee Nielsen about her background, inspirations and hopes for the future.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Jamee Nielsen, I live in St. Paul, Indiana (about an hour south of Indianapolis). I have a mom and dad, Sharon and Kevin Nielsen, and an older brother also named Kevin. I’m also a freshman in high school. My hobbies are horseback riding, basketball, and piano and voice.

How did you get into music?
The first time I remember ever getting into music is when I was young. My dad would always play piano in the evening and one night I sat up on the piano bench, looked at where and how he positioned his fingers on the keys, and I started to mimic what he played. Soon after he had me enrolled in piano lessons. When I broke my arm in 5th grade I couldn’t play for a while, but luckily my piano teacher also taught voice so I started singing and discovered I wasn’t half bad! Now I’m out of the arm cast and I pursue both.

When did you start playing piano? How often do you practice?
I started playing piano when I was in 3rd grade so I was probably about 8 or 9, and I don’t really have a set time for practicing. All I can tell you is that I play piano every day and I can’t tell you how many times it has kept me up half the night. I can tell you though that out of all the times I’ve sat down at the piano, not once did I have to force myself.

Who were your main inspirations, both musically and in your own life?
Well, my main famous inspiration was by far The Beatles. They are the band I was raised on by my dad and I still can’t find any artist that compares! As for my inspiration in my own life, I can’t choose just one. My top three are my piano and voice teacher Kim Wallace because she has been with me so long she’s like a second mother and I wouldn’t know anything without her! My second is my deceased Grandpa Roland Nielsen. He died when I was very young but I’ve heard stories about his natural music ability and how he could play any instrument just by picking it up. I know that if I’m talented, then I must’ve gotten it from him! And last, of course, is my dad. Because of his music experience, he always gives me tips (even when I don’t want them!)

What is your proudest moment?
My proudest moment had to be when I scored my first basket for my basketball team, it just happened this year! I’ll admit, I’m no Michael Jordan, but I was wide open for a shot and the point guard passed it to me and I shot and it went in! Of course it didn’t hurt that it was a three pointer!

Have you ever performed live, what was it like?
Yes, many times. My first time was at a little piano recital when I was 9. My biggest crowd was at a Yuletide dinner in front of 600+ people. It was exhilarating! I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous, but it’s just the greatest feeling to see the audience light up when you impress them! It was the first time I really considered music as a career.

Check out Jamee peforming ‘Price Tag‘ by Jessie J

Where would you like to be in five years time?

In 5 years, I want to be on Jay Leno, Ellen, or Regis and Kelly (minus Regis), but I’d just be happy if people recognized my name!

What do you think of reality TV shows, would you ever take part in one?
My point on view on TV shows is that if someone wanted to offer me the opportunity to make people happy, have fun, be famous, and get paid in the process. then i’m game!

How can people get in contact with you and find out more?
You can contact me through my Facebook page and also check out my videos on my My Dream Is To Be profile page.

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The Talent Show Story – Review of Episode 2

The second episode of the Talent Show Story proved to be more entertaining than the first with a good mix of humour and history to entertain most viewers.  Where else would you get to find out the link between Simon Cowell and Zig and Zag, dogs attempting to play the guitar, and a chicken factory worker nailing both the Bee Gees and Aqua in the same show?

The birth of the talent show judges

As someone who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I was amazed to find out how many of the famous faces and entertainers from that era got their break on New Faces in the 1970s.  Winners of the show included Roy Walker (it’s good but it’s not quite right), Les Dennis (now doing odd jobs with Barry from Eastenders for Ricky Gervais), whilst plenty of others including Lenny Henry, Victoria Wood went on to bigger and better things.  Jim Davidson was on it too (the racist homophobic guy who did the Big Break).  The focus was not so much on the contestants though, but on the judges and in particular Mickie Mosh and Tony ‘the hatchett’ Hatch.  As well as being the first pair to be brutally honest with contestants, they also generated massive interest from the tabloids.  As they say, any publicity is good publicity and it was revealed that ITV bosses encouraged Mosh and Hatch to be forthright in their views to keep the tabloids entertained.

Britain’s Got Talent … or has it?

Britain’s Got Talent almost never made it to the air in the UK and ironically it was NBC who picked the show up first.  It only then came back to the UK following the huge success it had on the other side of the Atlantic.  Simon Cowell revealed that he was getting bored with singers and wanted a bit more variety and to bring back the spirit of Opportunity Knocks.  Perhaps more telling was when he said that “I live to find a dog that can play instruments”.  Well for those of you in the same boat as Simon you need look no further.  My Dream Is To Be has a whole section on famous pets.  Check out Whizzer the dog singing Bohemian Rhapsody, and Carrie the labrador dancing the meringue for starters.  Much of the entertainment unfortunately comes from the cringe-worthiness of the performances.  As Piers Morgan said, “everyone in Britain thinks they have a secret talent and almost all are wrong”.

Simon Cowell – from Sale of the Century to becoming a mega rich international celebrity who we hate but are all secretly jealous of…

We have the magical clip of Simon Cowell on Sale of Century.  At some point after this decided to move on from the afternoon game-show circuit and get into the music business.  Not only did he have huge success with Robson and Jerome (from Soldier, Soldier) and the dodgy boy band Five, he also propelled Big Breakfast icons Zig and Zag to the top of the charts with their hit song ‘Them Girls’.

Rather than simply retiring at the top, Simon Cowell joined up with Simon Fuller, the man behind the Spice Girls, to create Pop Idol.  His cutting lines, including, “Without being unkind, you will never in a billion years be a pop star”, and “That was the equivalent of musical food poisoning”, turned him into a national celebrity overnight.  He was then perusaded to appear on American Idol where his honesty ignited a wave of publicity which ultimately propelled both the show and him to the top of the entertainment world.

Worst Auditions on Talent Shows

What makes the modern era of talent shows different from the past is the filming of the auditions, the best and worst of which are broadcast for our viewing pleasure.  This process that has given us some of the most entertaining and memorable moments on TV talent shows.  87 year old Edna Moore from the bizarre duo Spirit and Destiny was one of the few people to successfully put Simon Cowell in his place following a typical cutting remark.  We fear though that despite being told he “was an ignorant person” who best “alter your ways”, Simon has not taken heed of the advice.

Our favourite ‘worst audition’ though is Robert Unwin from the chicken factory.  His Bee Gees rendition is pretty painful, but he really captures the spirit of Aqua with his version of ‘Barbie Girl’ where he takes the role of both the woman with squeaky voice and the bald guy playing Ken to great effect.  Click here to view Robert Unwin’s X Factor performance.  Yes he is not Elvis Presley, but I hope you agree there is unfulfilled potential under there bursting to get out…

If you like watching some of the best and worst of talent show auditions, check out the TV Talent section of the site where we have videos from all the main talent shows for your perusal and entertainment.  Until next time:

– Oh, I’m Having So Much Fun!
– Well, Barbie, We’re Just Getting Started!
– Oh, I Love You Ken!

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The Talent Show Story – Review of Episode 1

Whilst the Saturday night talent show is on hiatus, ITV have decided to broadcast a five part special on the history of the UK TV Talent show.  Each show is split into four 10 minute sections, each dealing with an different ‘event’ or talent show with contributions from those who were there.  Highlights from the first week included reminders of how Simon Cowell had a dubious man-crush on Gareth Gates, and clips of Nina Myskow from New Faces who was ripping contestants to pieces whilst Simon Cowell was trying to make his fortune on Sale of the Century (click to see the him in action…).

Watch the episode on ITV Player here

Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent

The first part of the show focused on the phenomenon that was Susan Boyle.  The first thing I thought when I saw her interviewed was how amazing it is what money, fame, a visit to the Priory and a bit of Gok Wan style makeover treatment can achieve.

What made the segment interesting was not how she was portrayed as an old spinster with a beautiful voice, but at how quickly she turned into a global superstar through Twitter and Facebook.  The show revealed that in 2009 her audition was the most watched video clip on YouTube.  It re-emphasised how quickly news can spread and that if you make a splash on the internet you can literally go global in hours (which is why budding Susan Boyle’s should share their talent videos on My Dream Is To Be).

Myleene Klass.  Oh and Popstars.

She can not only look fantastic playing the piano and advertising shampoo, the next segment reminded me that Myleene Klass used to be in a band called Hear’Say, the winners of the Popstars TV show.  Whilst it is now a standard aspect of many TV talent shows, Nigel Lythgoe told the story of how he took the idea from Austrailia of focusing on the audition process that manufactured groups go through.  A couple of things stood out: first was Simon Cowell turning down the chance to be on the show; second was Nigel telling Kym Marsh that “Christmas may be gone but I see the goose is still fat”.  Any man saying that to a woman has cajones the size of grapefruits so whilst we do not condone sexism or fatism or other isms at My Dream Is To Be, we applaud his reckless, entertaining honesty.

Nina Myskow on New Faces

One of the more interesting segments was the retrospective on New Faces from the 1980s.  Whilst the acts ranged from bad to not quite as bad, the show made a villainous star out of Nina Myskow, who makes Simon Cowell look like a pussy(cat) by comparison.  Here are a few of her killer lines:

“You would go down as a cabaret at a gay ball”

“They have a lot in commo with George Formby – they’re both dead!”

“She sounds like a goat on heat”

I say bring her back to primetime TV if she can still be as creatively rude as she was on New Faces.

Will Young v Gareth Gates (and Simon Cowell)

Whilst my view of Gareth Gates was coloured by his affair with the creature known as Jordan, he had the perfect combination of boyish good looks, angel like voice, and a disability that made Simon Cowell delcare “jackpot”.  The only problem was that Will Young had a better voice and eventually won the show. Simon probably knew this and took an instant dislike to Young which he very openly described in the programme revealing that he thought him to be “arrogant” (really Simon?  Are you any better?).  The man crush Simon had on Gates came across as very creepy.  The battle between the two ultimately garnered the biggest public vote in UK TV history with 8.6 million people spending 10p to choose their winner.

Final thoughts

In summary, the Talent Show Story was fairly entertaining and served as a stark reminder of how popular TV talent shows can be.  The Talent Show Story really displayed that the key to success is the characters, be they contestants or, more often than not, the judges.  Simon Cowell didn’t fair too well in this show, but with the story of the X Factor to come, ITV are saving up more of Mr Nasty for future weeks.

Check out the TV Talent section of our site to see the best X Factor videos, Britain’s Got Talent videos, American Idol videos and many more. You can also to upload and share your videos.  Maybe you will be the next star to get discovered…

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Inspired by Strictly Come Dancing 2011?

This year saw Strictly Come Dancing (known as Dancing With The Stars in the US) win the ratings war for the first time against the X Factor. Notwithstanding the impact of the loss of Simon Cowell on the ITV singing talent show, this year’s Strictly was hailed as having the strongest line-up to date.

The D list celebrities taking part struck a perfect balance between those with genuine talent, and those who would struggle to impress at a pensioners disco. There were many highlights that people will remember when the show resurfaces next autumn: Russell Grant being fired from a cannon; Russell Grant riding a mechanical bull; Russell Grant wearing lipstick.

There were also some genuinely stunning dance performances including Holly and Artem’s take on the Black Swan, Chelsee and Pasha’s rumba and Harry and Aliona’s Argentine tango. I have often sat on the sofa and though that with a bit of training by one of the scantily clad professional dancers that I could reach that standard. However, as my darling wife reminds me, for every Harry Judd, there is a Dan Lobb. But then again, Dan Lobb got to dance with Katya Virshilas so every cloud has a silver lining.

t is also worth mentioning the supporting cast. Bruce Forsyth, now celebrating his 113th year in Saturday night TV, still manages to compare well. We have the set of cartoon character judges: Len is the old east end cockney grand-dad; Bruno is an over the top flamboyantly camp Italian; Alesha is like the (attractive) aunty who always says nice things (and the gives 10 to everyone) and Craig Revel-Horwood is the camp comedy pantomime villain we love to hate.

One of the positives of the show is that it will no doubt result in dance schools up and down the country seeing an influx of enthusiastic women and their reluctant partners enrolling on courses in the new year. It may only last a few lessons for the majority of people, whereas others may unlock a hidden talent they never knew they had a la Chelsee Healey. For others, and with Christmas only a week away, practising in front of the TV with latest Dance Revolution for Xbox360 or Just Dance for the Wii may be casual alternative.

Dancing does of course taking years of practice to become proficient in, and can be both frustrating and rewarding in equal measure. At My Dream Is To Be, we are providing a place for you to share your dancing videos whether you are a novice looking for advice, or an expert looking for your big break. All you need to do is create an account, upload your videos and share via Facebook and Twitter to get feedback from fellow dancers (Kinect video uploads are accepted!)

In the meantime, take a look at our Dancer category to see some of the weird and wonderful videos we have found on YouTube.

Until next time, keep dancing…

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Entertaining videos involving animals

Some of the most entertaining videos you can find on the web involve animals… maybe it would be better to say ‘amusing’ videos.  At My Dream Is To Be we have decided to help you find these videos and allow pet owners to showcase the talent of their domestic beasts.

A cat with acting skills....

One of our favourite videos is of Carrie the Dog doing the Meringue.  Not only is this cute labrador able to pull off some pretty amazing moves on its hind legs, she does it whilst wearing a dress.

There are various varieties of singing dog that are out there for all to enjoy.  Personally I would describe them as whining dogs, but they have seem to have a large niche of hardcore fans.  One very special dog called Crystal has the unique ability of being able to sing ‘Happy Birthday’.  Take a look and see what you make of it!

Nora the Cat takes things a bit further with a masterclass on how to play the piano.  To say she can play the blues might be an exaggeration, but she certainly knows how to press the keys in a unnervingly rhythmic way.  My theory is that there is some Sheeba stuck under the keys and Nora is desperately trying to get a quick snack.

The biggest question this all raises is how on earth these animal learn these human skills?  It must take a significant amount of training on behalf of the owner and makes me wonder what else is dropped in the training regime to make space?  They might be able to sing ‘God Save The Queen’ whilst doing the rumba, but do they know how to respond to whistle or do their bowel movements outside (or in a litter-box)?

A workaholic rabbit

If you have videos which have caught animals doing amazing things send them in to My Dream Is To Be.  The focus is on talented pets, but we are happy to receive videos of all animals including zebras, pandas and monkeys (think Monkey News a la Karl Pilkington). We are waiting to be amused…

PS:  For those of you looking for it, here is the amazing video of Fenton the Dog in Richmond Park and his poor owner.

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