ishHawk teen Alexis Bentinganan competed in the Color of Voices singing competition, presented by the International Festival of Language and Culture (IFLC), and earned a lot of “Respect” in the process.
Not only did the teen, a soprano, perform her rendition of Aretha Franklin’s 1967 hit song, “Respect,” that mixes rock ’n’ roll, gospel and blues during the finals, held in Berlin, Germany, but she beat out 12 other artists from 11 different countries and secured first place in the competition.
“I chose that song because Aretha Franklin is an integral part of American history and was such an outspoken voice in her time,” she said. “I thought it was a fitting song for the competition.”
Sixteen-year-old Alexis, who is in the musical theater program at Howard W. Blake High School, practiced the song every day for months, hoping to win the top prize.
She was selected as a finalist after judges perused thousands of audition videos submitted to the organization from contestants throughout the world. She earned a spot in the finals for her video performance of “Anyone” by Demi Lovato. In addition to Alexis, two other U.S. citizens were selected as finalists.
Alexis traveled to Germany with her father, Vimille Bentinganan, who said it was a fantastic experience.
“She put in many hours rehearsing, but when it was time for her to compete, she just owned the stage and won,” he said.
When they announced her as the winner, Alexis said she was shocked and amazed. “I was in a state of disbelief and excitement that I had won,” she said. “I felt like all of my hard work and practice paid off.”
This competition was just the beginning as Alexis continues to hone her craft. She is training with vocal coach Craig Wich. Wich also coaches Talia Suskauer, who is currently playing Elphaba in Wicked.
Alexis hopes to one day perform on Broadway in New York City. Her dream role would be to play Kim in Miss Saigon. She also aspires to be a singer-songwriter. She plays piano and writes original songs.
She’s well on her way to achieving her goal, with auditions lined up in New York. She’s also in the final round of in-person auditions for a girl group, America 2 Korea (A2K). If selected, she will attend a vocal boot camp in Los Angeles. Semifinalists will be flown to Korea, where they will undergo intensive training from choreographers and producers.
Alexis is excited for her future.
“I just audition for as many things as possible and am happy to be doing what I love,” she said.
For more information about the Color of Voices competition, visit www.intflc.org.