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Vixen Chat: 'American Idol' Alum Syesha Mercado Conquers Broadway

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Syesha Mercado may have been an American Idol season seven runner upbut like those before her, she is invested in her craft and plotting a career far beyond the confines of reality television. The singer, who labels herself an optimistic, generous and loving person, has already conquered Broadway and continues to showcase her killer vocals online. During our exclusive Vixen Chat,  she also dished on daily inspirations and future plans. Equal parts sweet and genuine, we're sure you'll fall in love with Syesha's infectious energy.

Get into our girl talk on the next page.

Photo credit: Getty Images 

 

VIBE Vixen: Where does your inspiration come from?

Syesha: My earlier inspiration comes from my mother. She was a gospel singer. When I was younger,  I used to create monologues for my family and recite them. I always had the passion in me. My mother told me that when I was two I wanted to sing and dance. Before I could remember, I would follow my mother around the house and sing behind her. As  I got older, I understood the influence that people could have over their audience. I knew that I wanted to inspire others through performing.

What are you inspired by today?

My inspiration now comes from many different places. I listen to all types of music, so lots of different genres inspire me. Recently, I've been listening to a lot of Tye Tribbett, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. The music that I listen to always depends on the mood that I'm in. I love to create and listen to different types of music. It allows me to be able to bring creativity to my craft.

What are you working on today?

Currently, I am in a Broadway play called the Book of Mormon and an urban film called Dreams. In the Book of Mormon I play the character Nabulungi. In Dreams, I play a character named Mia.

What are you focusing on professionally right now?

I've decided to focus more on my acting career. Doing The Book of Mormon on Broadway right now has been a rewarding and challenging experience. Every show is a little different than the last and every audience is different as well. It's an amazing experience when you get to see the crowds reaction to your performance.

 

Which form of acting do you enjoy more? Broadway or film?

I love doing both Broadway and film. Film is a little different because sometimes you are only filming for two weeks and then you don't see the production until months later. With Broadway, I think that the theater schedule is a lot more demanding on your voice and your body. Sometimes you are acting on a stage for weeks straight. You have to make sure you get a lot of rest because there is not much time between shows. There are no second chances on Broadway. You have one moment to be on stage and then you're done. They're really different, but I enjoy both of them.

What was your first film experience like?

I play the character Mia in the Lionsgate film Dreams. She's an aspiring singer who struggles with personal family issues that hinder her from pursuing her dream of becoming a star. Marvin Winan Jr. showed interest in me doing the film. He wanted me to be a part of the movie and after seeing his vision and reading the story, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I fell in love with the script. It was my first film and I didn’t really know what to expect.

What are some professional goals you would like to accomplish in the new year?

I hope that we have a successful run with The Book of Mormon. Dreams is available on DVD now and I am really excited about that. I'm thinking positively about my future. I hope to be involved in more films and acting opportunities. I'm definitely  going to continue doing music and doing covers on YouTube. I recently began constructing a studio in my home where I can create whenever I get inspired. I am just really grateful to have been granted all these opportunities. It really has been a dream come true.

 

Press play to view a clip from the movie with Syesha's character, Mia.

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SZA Calls For Peace While Receiving 'Rule Breaker' Award At Billboard Women In Music

SZA called for peace and understanding at Billboard's Women In Music event Thursday (Dec. 6).

During her speech for the Rule Breaker award, singer-songwriter recalled today's climate, asking her peers and those watching at home for a little bit of peace.

"I'm sorry for the state of the world honestly, for everybody in this room and I pray that all of us just get through it a little bit easier and just try not to lash out at each other," she said.

The recurring theme of unity among women was also heard on the carpet from artists like Tierra Whack. In addition to her message of love, the "Broken Clocks" singer also thanked her TDE family for rocking with her creative process.

"I'm just so thankful for everybody having patience with me, " she said. Shouting out the key members of her family in attendance, the TDE affiliate gave praise to her mother, father, and grandma. In this brief speech centered around the artist's growth Solána Imani Rowe, known more commonly as her stage name, Rowe everyone for their trust in her.

"I'm grateful for everybody taking the time to have the patience to watch someone grow, it is painful and sometimes exciting but mostly boring. And I am thankful for Top (Top Dawg Entertainment's Anthony Tiffith) for not dropping me from that label. For Peter, who I change my ideas every day and he be like okay I like this," she continued.

Thanking the likes of musical powerhouses like Alicia Keys and Whack, "The Weekend" singer offered her appreciation and condolences to Ariana Grande.

Watch SZA accept the Rule Breaker award above.

READ MORE: Anderson .Paak, Tierra Whack And More Praise Female Artists At 2018 Billboard Women In Music

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Beyoncé, Rihanna, And J. Lo Make Forbes’ Highest-Paid Women In Music List

As November comes to a close, many publications will be crafting their year-end lists for all things pop culture. Forbes released a ranking of the world's highest-paid women in music on Monday (Nov. 19), with Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Rihanna holding it down for women of color.

Beyoncé comes in at No. 3 on the list with an earning of $60 million as she made most of her money through her historical Coachella performance, the joint album with husband JAY-Z, Everything is Love, and the Carters' On The Run II Tour in support of its release.

Jennifer Lopez made No. 6 for earnings tallying of over $47 million thanks to her lucrative Las Vegas residency, endorsements, and shows including World of Dance where she serves as a judge.

Rihanna follows behind the "Love Don't Cost A Thing" diva at No. 7 with earnings of over $37.5 million. Although she hasn't toured since 2016—thanks to her cosmetics and lingerie lines, Fenty Beauty and Savage Lingerie—the Bajan pop star has been keeping herself busy.

Forbes' annual list (which factors in pretax earnings from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018) has placed Katy Perry at the top with over $83 million in profits due to her gig as an American Idol judge and her 80-date Witness: The Tour that brought in an estimated $1 million per night.

Scroll down to see Forbes' full list below.

Katy Perry ($83 million) Taylor Swift ($80 million) Beyoncé ($60 million) P!nk ($52 million) Lady Gaga ($50 million) Jennifer Lopez ($47 million) Rihanna ($37.5 million) Helene Fischer ($32 million) Celine Dion ($31 million) Britney Spears ($30 million)

 

READ MORE: Nas Makes Forbes’ List Of ‘Hip-Hop Cash Kings’ For The First Time

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Kelly Rowland Hops In Her Bag With New Single "Kelly"

Kelly Rowland has it all and isn't afraid to brag about it on her new single, "Kelly."

Released Thursday (Nov. 22), the singer goes the clubby, confident route while rightfully dropping her attributes like her relationship with God, smoldering looks (a.k.a the drip) among other things. With "Kelly" being the first single since her 2013's Talk a Good Game, the singer comes out swinging, reminding everyone of her power in the game.

The mother of one has promised that her new tunes will be edgier and most honest than her past work that included vulnerable tracks like "Dirty Laundry" and massive hits like "Motivation" and "Commander." Speaking with Vogue over the summer, Ms. Kelly disclosed a few details behind the album.

“It’s about love, loss, and gain and whether it’s professional or with family or whatever, it’s just honest," she said. "I had no choice but to be honest and authentic with this record: it’s about friendship and marriage.”

She also explained a drop in confidence caused her hiatus. “I was thinking about pulling back from recording, but I couldn’t help myself: I still wanted to record. I still felt like I was missing something. The third year just came and left so fast. The fourth year I said: ‘I have to get to work’ and now I’m ready to release some music! I felt like I wasted so much time, and it was my husband who actually called me out on it. He said: ‘Babe, as great as those records were, I think you were nervous, you got gun-shy’, and when he said that it was like boom, a gong went off.”

Glad to have you back, Ms. Kelly. Listen to the eponymous record up top.

READ MORE: Kelly Rowland Debuts Smoke x Mirrors Eyewear Collection At Barneys New York

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