Singing “My Girl” in the third grade talent show was how freshman Richie Zamorski began his stage career. What Zamorski did not realize was how that moment of “stardom” would lead to a journey on American Idol.
On August 3, Zamorski traveled solo to the Disney Hollywood Studios where he tried out for the American Idol Experience. Disney and American Idol Producers created the faux American Idol Experience, which replicates the original American Idol Process broadcast on Fox.
“I felt like I was on the real American Idol stage,” said transfer student, Zamorski. “The judges included a recording artist, and Broadway stars.”
Zamorski competed against 500 contestants and won the golden ticket, which enables him to audition for any American Idol season at any time and cut the front of the line.
Zamorski competed against all ages, including UM Musical Theatre Alumnus, Miguel Romero. Both Zamorski and Romero performed on the faux Idol stage at MGM in front of 1,000 viewers, who voted Zamorski to the top.
The event lasted from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., during which Zamorski sang in three preliminary rounds. Zamorski sang “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King for the final round of the competition. He chose the classic song in order to appeal to the Disney audience full of children.
The judges noted that Richie had a beautiful tone, great stage presence and had the audience in the palm of his hand, said Zamorski.
After the show Zamorski received an e-mail from crew member, Charles Cantrell, who said, “I don’t do this very often but I was operating the lights for your show at American Idol and really enjoyed your performance; you are a fantastic singer.”
Zamorski is currently re-working the audition process and hopes to audition for the American Idol during the summer of 2010. Zamorski also auditioned for Idol in Newark, New Jersey, during the summer of 2008. He made it to the 250 in his city, after nearly 14,000 contestants were dropped from the competition.
“I knew I was young and after seeing how many people got cut, I am happy with how far I got,” he said.
Before auditioning, Zamorski spent the summer at the Voice Experience in Orlando. The summer program includes first-rate faculty, and gave Zamorski the chance to perform with other students pursuing musical careers. UM alumnus, Will Spanheimer, was able to work with Zamorski at the workshop.
“I heard Richie sing and he is very talented. This is a guy who has a gift and is really using it and shaping it and making it better every day,” Spanheimer said. “He is really going to be someone to watch in the coming years. Richie is a confident musician and a good guy. He sings with his soul and that is what it is all about.”
Even though Zamorski hopes to win American Idol, his experiences at UM do not revolve around the competition.
“In life, American Idol is not my focus. I want to work as hard as I can, and see where that takes me,” said Zamorski. “When I watched the first season finale of American Idol, I was inspired to pursue any type of singing track, and this is why I attend the conservatory at UM.”
The Wisconsin native transferred to UM as a sophomore after majoring in vocal and clarinet performance at Lawrence University. He is currently a freshman in the Musical Theatre Conservatory and also studies music business and song writing as dual minors.
“I did a lot of research and UM presented one of the best musical theater conservatories, if not the best,” said Zamorski. “I couldn’t be happier at this school and the outstanding training that I am receiving.”
Zamorski’s vocal coach, Cayce Benton, works with the singer once a week in order to train him for the professional world.
“He is an outstanding student and a talented young man,” Benton said. “I look forward to the outcome of the enthusiasm and creativity that the brings to his work.”
In the future Zamorski hopes to start his career on Broadway and later emerge into a solo career. He is also interested in music business and directing.
“I perform in order to give back to others via song,” Zamorski said. “It is incredible how far I have come these past three years and I can only hope to continue along this musical path in the future.”