Behind every so-called overnight success, there's usually a story of long days and even longer nights, disappointments, frustrations and rejections. But the true stars are the ones who rise above, persevere and dig deep within to show the world all they have to offer. Twenty-four year old vocal powerhouse, Lyriq La'Shay is well on her way to stardom and her success won't be a fluke ... she worked for it.
Gifted with a powerful voice laced with soulful, jazzy undertones, Lyriq isn't just relying on her vocal gift to get by, she's working hard to be heard and people everywhere are taking notice. For Lyriq, success isn't coming easy ... but it is coming. And the beauty of Lyriq's success is that we, the fans, will be the true beneficiaries.
A native of Omaha, Neb., in 2008 Lyriq set her sights on St. Paul to make her mark in entertainment. But just 18 years of age at the time, the talented singer was already proving she was willing to work for her reward.
"I wanted to go to McNally Smith (College of Music) and I knew I couldn't afford it, so I moved here and went to Job Corps for a year to establish residency in Minnesota and then I could get in-state tuition," said Lyriq La'Shay, born Brittany McCreary.
Lyriq was eventually able to enroll at McNally and this past December she received an associate degree in music business. But during her time at McNally it wasn't all books and research. The gifted singer was out doing what she loves the most ... singing. And it was one of those singing moments that lead to her next musical and scholastic endeavor.
"I was singing in a karaoke competition – the 'Back in the Day Karaoke,' hosted by Chantel Sings and Ray Richardson – and I sang 'At Last' by Etta James," explained the young songstress. "I lost that competition and I felt bad, but I decided to post the video on YouTube of me singing anyway. Well somebody from Mississippi Valley State University saw the video and contacted me. I went down for a visit and I was offered a full ride scholarship. Sometimes when you lose you can still win."
And Lyriq has continued to win. Earlier this month the Omaha native had a national spotlight shined on her when she sang the National Anthem on HBO prior to a championship boxing match. The match featured fellow Omaha native, lightweight champion, Terence Crawford, who knew Lyriq from years past.
"Terence said that if he ever 'got on' he would look out for me," said Lyriq. "We didn't really keep in contact, but two weeks prior to the fight I got called and was asked to sing the National Anthem."
Lyriq La'Shay said the fight promoters wanted to have someone in Omaha (where the match took place) sing – as to not incur the expense of travel – but Crawford insisted Lyriq sing. Crawford went on to win the bout.
With just a little more than a month before Lyriq departs to Mississippi, the hard-working singer is packing in as many gigs and as much studio time as she can. The singer is working on her new project, "Lyrik to Lyriq," which she says the title reflects her transformation and growth as an artist and as a person.
"When I was Lyrik with a K, I was trying to find myself, but when I became Lyriq with a Q, I knew what I wanted to be and how I wanted to present myself as an artist," said the singer, whose current single, "Outta Control" is an activist call to end gun violence.
Lyriq La'Shay is having a going away concert Aug. 16 at the Fox Egg Gallery, 3730 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis. The event starts at 8 p.m. and features several other area performers along with Lyriq headlining the evening. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children.
Though the singer is leaving the area to continue her education, Lyriq said she'll return often to perform and record. To hear "Outta Control" and other songs by Lyriq, visit www.soundcloud.com/lyriq-lashay.