American Idol Golden Ticket winner performs at VCU

Carrie Brockwell, American Idol Golden Ticket winner, performs with the VCU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, VCU choir and African dance and drumming group on Wednesday, April 17 at the Singleton Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Jerry Pleasant.

Salma Escoto, Contributing Writer

The spotlight shone down on 17-year-old Carrie Brockwell, a Chesterfield County local and 2022 “American Idol” Golden Ticket winner, as she took the stage alongside the VCU Symphonic Wind Ensemble. 

Brockwell performed with the VCU Symphonic Wind Ensemble along with a medley of other performers on Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. at the Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, according to Phillip Coston, the associate director of bands at VCUarts music.

The concert was centered around Brockwell and her country sound, and was a celebration of Richmond and VCU talent, Coston said. It was an opportunity for students to experience collaborating with local talent while acquiring a tangible vision of the possibilities ahead of them. 

“We want to support people from Richmond that are out there trying to make it,” Coston said.

It featured a performance from “The Lion King”, which was a lively display of all the talented performers on stage. Brockwell, VCU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, African dance and drumming group and VCU choir were all on stage.

“You can feel the sound and the energy,” Coston said. 

Brockwell and her family noticed auditions for “American Idol” were in October 2022 and simply went for it, according to Brockwell.

Despite still being in high school and only being 15 years old at the time, Brockwell auditioned for “American Idol.” she said. After auditioning for “The Voice” earlier in 2022 and not hearing back, she didn’t let that stop her. 

Winning the Golden Ticket to Hollywood was only part of the amazing yet challenging “American Idol” experience, according to Brockwell. 

Brockwell was surrounded by other talented and passionate musicians, whom she has connected with, continues to be friends with and collaborates with to this day, she said. The validation and merit of “American Idol” and her new friends motivated her to continue to pursue music. 

“It was an insane moment of you know, ‘wow, I can actually do this,’” Brockwell said. 

Brockwell grew up with music in her family — her dad and uncle had a cover band and she could often hear them rehearsing in the garage while she was doing homework, she said.

For as long as she could remember, she was passionate about singing and music, Brockwell said.

“Ever since I was little I wanted to be down there singing with them and grabbing the mic, and I wanted my share of the spotlight,” Brockwell said.

Growing up in a household full of music and a passion for singing, Brockwell began to develop her craft of music in early childhood, according to Brockwell. She joined her school’s musical theater for a chance to sing and perform, eventually landing the lead role as Annie in her school’s production of “Annie” at age 11.

Brockwell is currently active in her school’s musical theater at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology, she said.

When COVID-19 started, Brockwell was in her first year of high school and it started affecting her music, according to Brockwell. While the pandemic temporarily stopped her from performing, she never let it stop her from following her musical passion, she said.  

Brockwell took the pandemic as an opportunity to take the next step in her musical career when she began writing music, she said. Songs such as “Rock” and “Teddy Bear” came from this time, which later became a part of her first EP album “Impressions.” 

Noticing the talent in his home, her dad connected her with a recording producer and got her in the studio to produce her first of many EP albums, according to Brockwell. 

“Pursuing this dream of my music, it just kept snowballing in a good way,” Brockwell said.

Brockwell was chosen due to her merits as a local celebrity, according to Christopher Hansen, the director of choral activities.

“Our village is stronger because we created something novel and we gave it to them,” Hansen said. 

The show began with a high-energy performance from the VCU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and then later, Brockwell was introduced, according to Nidhi Gowda, an audience member. A few audience members were there to support friends of theirs in the performance, she said.

“It was really entertaining,” Gowda said.

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