Thirteen-year-old Malia Civetz admits she was scared and nervous last month while awaiting her turn to perform on "Showtime at the Apollo" as the featured "Star of Tomorrow."
Backstage at the Apollo Theater in New York, Malia recalls, she was nervous "because it was so amazing."
"There is so much history there," Malia, who is from Henderson, notes. "It’s the same stage Ella Fitzgerald performed on. I told myself, ‘OK, I’ve got to do this,’ and I went out onstage and everybody started cheering. It calmed me down."
Among the cheering audience members were Malia’s dad, Moon, and mom, Karen, who says it was "a magical moment."
"I was absolutely amazed," says Karen. "To see my baby up there by herself taking command of the stage, I always knew she had it in her."
Malia earned the chance to perform on the show after auditioning in August at Harrah’s Las Vegas. She performed Oleta Adams’ version of "Get Here" at the taping and dedicated it to a friend who has sickle cell anemia and is an inspiration to Malia.
"I was really excited because the Apollo let me dedicate it to him."
Although she was nervous before her performance, Malia believes every performer should feel that same way.
"When that nervousness goes away, and you melt into that song, it makes it so much more special," she says.
Malia’s favorite singers include Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
"Ella could just scat so good, it’s so difficult and it’s so amazing she could do that," Malia says. "With Dean and Frank, their voices are good, but the way they sang their songs and their phrasing was so cool."
With attending Miller Middle School and taking piano, dance, acting and singing lessons, the Civetzes try to keep Malia’s performances scheduled on weekends.
"It’s very hectic, we are always on the go," Karen says. "Malia is a straight-A student and we want to keep that focus on her education."
Malia has performed at a variety of charity functions and events across Southern Nevada. Recently, she sang at the San Gennaro Feast, on "The Dennis Bono Show" and at a jazz festival in San Diego with Grammy-nominated musician Larry White.
"I love singing with live bands. Tracks are good, but bands are better," says Malia, who began singing in the choir at Green Valley Presbyterian Church when she was 5.
An early influence who encouraged Malia to begin singing was her first-grade teacher at Lamping Elementary School.
"Ms. (Sandy) Burnett would sing in class," remembers Malia. "It really inspired me to sing."
Over the summer, she attended the "American Idol" camp in Massachusetts.
"It was really fun, I met so many nice people. It was like a little training camp."
Malia, who would like to have a long career and not be remembered as a one-hit wonder, would also like to perform in a musical on Broadway.
"Showtime at the Apollo" featuring Malia’s performance is scheduled to air locally at 3 a.m. Monday on KVMY-TV, Channel 21.
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