::: Photo By Gerrian Hawes :::
From the very first time she held a microphone in her hand and sang Away In A Manger, Cyniah Elise knew that she could sing. “Surprisingly, I have known since the age of 2 that I would be a singer”, she says. “I grew up in house with singers and when I was younger, my mother was a choir director for our church, Cornerstone Baptist, and she would always have me sing”.
Even though her family must have known that Cyniah’s voice would open doors that would afford her the opportunity for super stardom, no one could have ever imagined that American Idol would be the opportunity that would come knocking.
In November 2017 one of Cyniah’s cousins uploaded a video with her singing Change me, Oh Lord. Uploading videos onto Facebook was nothing unusual, however, receiving over one million likes was.
“It is just a normal thing we always do. When we get together we always end up singing. So when I woke up the next morning after my cousin uploaded the video and I saw all of those hits I was really surprised”.
After that video went viral on Facebook, the Shade Room shared it. That is when it took a life of its own reaching well over 2 million hits. When the second video went viral of her singing her high school’s theme song, it was evident that the big stage was ready for Cyniah’s big voice. To date, both videos have been viewed over 4 million times.
Shortly after both videos went viral, a talent agency reached out to Cyniah to audition for American Idol.
Most people don’t realize that when videos go viral many opportunities presents themselves. Opportunities that can help create even greater success.
After being an early standout on the TV show, Cyniah was easily one of the frontrunners for season 18. Her audition was so good that Lionel Richie compared her to a young Whitney Houston.
To whom much is given, much is required
Cyniah acknowledges being selected and going as far as she did on American Idol was a blessing. And with that blessing came great responsibility. Now that Elise is equipped with a platform, she shares lessons from what she learned from being on the show.
1. Stay true to yourself
2. Take what you have and use it,
3. Don’t get discouraged by someone else’s gifts,
4. You must accept whatever the outcome of any contest
5. The value of surrounding herself with a good team
6. And the fact that she loves to keep busy
In The Spirit Of Keeping Busy
As a singer, she always knew that her voice would be heard. However, it wasn’t until recently that she knew with absolute certainty how she could wield her voice as a tool to help heal the masses.
“Everything I do, I think of it as a way to help people. We navigate life without accepting who we are, not even realizing we are hurt”, states Elise.
Because Many people underestimate the effects of debilitating emotional pain and trauma, mental wellness is often taken for granted.
When adults take mental wellness for granted, it is the children who suffer. They go unheard with an expectation to deal with bouts of anxiety and other types of emotional discomfort alone.
Cyniah knows first hand how children feel under those kinds circumstances. “When I was in elementary school, my mother use take me to the doctor all of the time because I use to have heart palpitations. The doctors use to say that there was nothing wrong with me but it was. It wasn’t until later that I realized it was anxiety”.
Understanding that music is an art form that crosses all barriers, Elise uses it to express and evoke emotion that ultimately leads to self-awareness and healing. Her latest single, The Mirror, emphasizes the power of self reflection and the gift of remembering who you are.
“It [healing] starts with you and a conversation. We don’t have enough conversations about mental health. I don’t believe people in my generation talk about how we are dealing with anxiety and depression enough, especially the men”.
It is for that reason Cyniah has created and hosts the podcast, That’s What She Said. “I created this platform so that we can have real conversations that promote healing”.
Since her appearance on American Idol Ms. Elise has been creating other opportunities for herself. She performs regularly and can booked by visiting her website cyniahelise.com.