MANCHESTER, NH – Kristy Lauture looked confident last week as she powered through a visual presentation detailing how Central’s extended learning opportunity bridged the gap between her childhood dream and her present reality.
She’s a singer on the rise.
It’s a powerful dream for the daughter of a Haitian refugee, who found her voice a few years ago through the support of staff at the Boys & Girls Club – and a network of community and school mentors.
“I’ve been singing since I was a little girl,” says Kristy, who recalls being about 7 when she was obsessed with a song by Demi Lovato, from Disney’s “Camp Rock.” She sang it over and over again, like a mantra.
In hindsight, the lyrics to “This is Me,” became the handwriting on the wall for this 18-year-old singer/songwriter:
I’ve always been the kind of girl
That hid my face
So afraid to tell the world
What I’ve got to say
But I had this dream
Right inside of me
I’m going to let it show
To let you know
To let you know
I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be now
Gonna let the light
Shine on me
Now I found
Who I am
There’s no way to hold it in
No more hiding who I want to be
This is me…
She always loved to sing but was scared to sing outside the comfort of her bedroom. Then, she had a breakthrough.
“The first person I sang to was Hashira Rodriguez at the Boys & Girls Club – she encouraged me, and for some reason that day I felt like I had to sing to her. She told me I was really good, and I knew she wouldn’t lie to me. Then, Diane [Fitzpatrick] the CEO started asking me to sing for her and at different kinds of events,” Kristy says. “Then, they asked me to sing for Mayor Craig’s inauguration. I was nervous, but by then I was learning to get over my stage fright.”
She was told that once you do something 100 times, you’ll be a pro at it.
“It works. Now I try to sing every opportunity I get,” says Kristy, who most recently sang “Who Says,” by Selena Gomez as part of her ELO presentation:
I wouldn’t wanna be anybody else.
You made me insecure
Told me I wasn’t good enough
But who are you to judge
When you’re a diamond in the rough
I’m sure you got some things
You’d like to change about yourself
But when it comes to me
I wouldn’t want to be anybody else…
I’m just beautiful me
To a beautiful life
Who says you’re not perfect
Who says you’re not worth it
Who says you’re the only one that’s hurting…
- Community service
- Independent study
- Online courses
- Performing groups
- Private instruction
Kristy researched the music industry, made some valuable connections and learned about self-promotion. She has written “maybe 100” songs. Most of them she keeps under wraps, but last month Kristy recorded her first original song, “My Shine,” which is available on iTunes. The cover art – a pensive little girl next to an old TV – is actually a photo of her mom.
The lyrics hint at the struggles Kristy has overcome, but mostly, they focus on her determination to shine.
There has been no shortage of support for Kristy – beyond her family, there is a “village” behind her, says Angela Bourassa, the school district’s ELO coordinator.
“To think this young lady used to not give me eye contact when speaking. She was unable to finish the first line of a song before interrupting herself and stopping. She was not able to follow through on a commitment she made to sing the national anthem for her school,” Bourassa says.
It’s been an amazing transformation, says Bourassa. At one time reluctant to audition for youth shows at The Palace, Kristy is now readying for her role in the Palace production of “Into the Woods Jr.,” which opens June 12.
“They moved me from ensemble to Cinderella’s mother,” she says, followed by a spontaneous smile.
Bourassa says Kristy’s learned that being a singer means hard work, attention to detail and follow-through on commitments. And it also requires being a people person – making strong connections through networking is essential.
During Kristy’s ELO Bourassa couldn’t help but get a little teary-eyed.
“When we all collaborate for the sake of a student, that student can accomplish great things. I am so very proud of Kristy. She is a true example of a shining star and will be a continued inspiration for many,” Bourassa says.
Also contributing to Kristy’s success is her counselor at Central, Jessica Zych.
“I’ve known her for four years, and her whole family is musically talented, but there’s just something a little different about Kristy,” says Zych. “She’s so resilient and savvy.”
Kristy, who plays several instruments including piano, ukelele, violin, and some guitar, identifies with other performers who lean toward the positive and inspirational. She mentions singers Alessia Cara and Alicia Keyes, artists whose music often comes with a message of empowerment and self-acceptance.
Kristy’s ELO journey has included auditioning for American Idol (“In 2017 – wasn’t ready at all, but I got great advice”), she’s created her own YouTube channel (KristyxLauture) where she posts mostly cover songs, she’s connected with professional songwriters and producers, and won an Instagram songwriting challenge, which is how her single, “My Shine,” was produced. Now she travels to New York frequently and is preparing for an upcoming gig, singing for a fundraising event there.
“In her song, she talks about making good choices – she’s had a billion opportunities to make bad choices, but she’s very refined,” says Zych. “She’s overcome a lot of challenges and we’re all so proud of her. It would go against her grain to be any other way.”
The biggest lesson for Kristy has been learning that being a singer takes more than a voice. You have to do your homework, be prepared and keep moving forward.
“You have to show progress,” she says, as she huddles up with her mentors for a photo op on the stage inside Central’s Classical Building. Like a big fish in a small pond, Kristy is ready to go with the flow. After graduation, she will see just how far she can swim, and where her dreams can take her. She was accepted into the American Musical and Dramatic Academy High School Summer Conservatory, where she’ll spend two intensive weeks of performing arts training – and she’s established a GoFundMe to help raise the $4,000+ needed to get there.
“I’d love to stay out there, and I want to move out there one day, but I’ll be coming back in July,” Kristy says – I’m going to SNHU in the fall.” Thanks to a four-year scholarship from the Boys & Girls Club Kristy will be majoring in business, “to learn how to promote myself,” with a minor in music.
Of course, she hears occasionally from those who think chasing such a big dream is not the most practical post-graduation pursuit.
“People don’t actually say ‘you shouldn’t pursue singing,’ but they do tell me what they think I should be doing,” Kristy says. “Then they hear me sing.”