Brandi Davis is probably best known in the community as the 2007 winner of the now-defunct “Kokomo Idol” competition. But a little local recognition two years past simply isn’t enough for this little lady with a big voice.

She entered a nationwide talent competition through a regional audition in May and advanced to the finals which are set for Dec. 3-6 in Orlando, Fla. But she needs a little help to get there.

Davis has been singing on stage since the age of 5, and has desired to have a singing career for most of her life. She even took a shot at the big time by auditioning for “American Idol” seven years ago.

“It’s not anything like what you see on TV,” said Davis. “It was in the Atlanta Dome on the field. There were 11 stations and three lines of contestants standing in front of the producers. You perform there first. I made an absolutely critical mistake. I sang ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me,’ by Celine Dion. When I sang it, the producer’s face lit up. He was excited.

“But when they like you, they ask you to sing a second song. I had one ready, but unfortunately, the girl next to me sang the song first and butchered it. I didn’t want to show her up. She was very nice. I couldn’t do that to her. Then there is the easy fallback song, which is ‘Amazing Grace,’ but a guy next to me sang that song.

“Instead, I picked another Celine Dion song because it was in my head. As soon as I sang the first note, the producer stopped listening because he thought I was a knock-off; that Celine Dion is all I sing. I was heartbroken.”

The other part of the American Idol experience that convinced Davis that she needed to find another path to stardom was watching as a young man who had no talent was forwarded through because he was so bad.

“At that point, it was personal for me,” said Davis. “They let someone through as a joke for the ratings, but they cut me because I did two Celine Dion signs. It crushed me.”

Davis gave up on her dream at that point. She had a family of three children and plenty of day-to-day activities to keep her busy. Performing professionally took a back seat. Then came the Kokomo Idol competition in 2007.

“It was amazing; the exposure was wonderful,” said Davis. It rekindled the spark. But there was really nowhere to go after Kokomo Idol. People were like, ‘Oh, what are you going to do now?’ Nothing. I just won a trophy and some money, which was great, but there were no connections. Now I’m trying to pick up where I left off. My vocal quality hasn’t changed. The desire is still there.”

That desire drove her to enter a national talent competition. She traveled to Lafayette to audition, and was one of about 50 people from across Indiana to advance. Since May, the organization has been providing Davis and her fellow contestants with monthly workshops to help hone their skills as well as provide them with needed resources such as a professional photo shoot. But there has been a cost.

“I’ve been making payments on the program; it has cost more than $2,000,” said Davis. “But it has been worth it because they’ve provided a workshop every month where they fly in specialists who are actually in the business. And the photo shoot with a credentialed photographer was included in the costs. A photo shoot isn’t cheap.

“You have to be careful because most of the companies like this are scam artists. They’re just looking to take your money. This company is the opposite. They’re up front about all of the costs, and they teach you what you need to know. I became interested in this company because it provides developmental workshops and guidance.”

Davis said that Epic Records and a number of other record labels will be present at the Orlando competition, and she hopes that one of them will provide her with the opportunity to record an album and let her voice be heard. She believes all she will need is that chance.

“There are a lot of singers, and some of them are exceptional,” said Davis. “But the gifted and talented singer is one who draws a crowd. The crowd wants to hear them. I feel that I fall into that category. I entered a singing competition last fall in Indianapolis with a live band in a bar. I sang ‘I Will Always Love You,’ and no one expected me to be able to sing it.

“I started singing, and two notes into it, the whole bar stopped. You could hear a pin drop. That’s my favorite reaction. Nobody expects me to belt out notes. It’s my niche. It’s what I love to do.”

Davis hopes a local business or benefactor would love to see her realize her dream as well. She is soliciting sponsorships to defray the cost of her trip to Orlando.

Anything helps,” said Davis. “I’ve taken care of most of the cost of the competition myself, but there is still the cost of the trip to Orlando. If there are businesses that are willing to sponsor, that would be great.”

Davis can be reached by calling 765-480-3747 or via e-mail at faith@faithdavis.com.

Original article on Kokomo Perspective by Patrick Munsey