Every performance, whether it be the local crowd at DJ’s Restaurant on a week night, or the judges on “American Idol,” Mink said she tries to learn something about herself as a performer.
“I always ask my boyfriend at the end of every show, ‘What was your favorite song, and what was your least faovrite song?’” Mink said.
For years, Mink said, she sang solely because it was something she loved to do, and didn’t worry as much about audience reaction.
But the audience is about to get a whole lot bigger.
Mink spent the summer going through the “American Idol” audition process, making it to judges Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez in an episode that aired Jan. 18. The judges all said they were impressed with Mink’s performance of “Country Strong,” sending her through to the next round, a week of performances in Hollywood.
A previous audition in 2004 didn’t go quite as well, and MInk didn’t progress past the first round. Eight more years of singing improved her stage presence, confidence, and overall musical abilities, Mink said.
Although music had been on the backburner after taking a full-time job as the director of the STRIDE program, providing recreational and educational opportunities for disabled adults almost two years ago, Mink said she knew if she didn’t try out one more time, she would always wonder what might have been.
“I thought, ‘Ten years from now, I’ll regret it if I don’t try this one more time,’’’ Mink said.
While still a student at Georgetown College, Mink started performing with local singer and guitarist Jon Curtis, slowly working her way up to what she deems the nicer venues in Lexington.
“I just kind of wanted to try it, so I got a guitar player and we played every night,” Mink said.
Growing up, she gained experience in school musicals, church choirs and Leeds Center productions. At Georgetown, she played the roles of Marty and Rizzo in “Grease.”
“Musicals were my big passion for awhile,” Mink said.
She and Curtis split after three years, and Mink began performing with guitarist Dale Adams in October, debuting at the Scarecrow Festival, also a STRIDE fundraiser.
“He’s definitely the best guitar player, I think, in the area,” Mink said.
The two have formed a great working relationship in a short amount of time, and Mink is expanding her repertoire to include not only her country favorites, like Sugarland, but also Lady Gaga,Cee-Lo Green, and even 1980s classics by Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi.
“As long as it’s a good song, it doesn’t really matter,” Mink said.
Adams also recently recruited his son, Tyler Adams, to play with the group, and Mink said she has her own band for the first time.
“I want to have a band in case a big show comes up and I can say, ‘Hey, we can do this,’” Mink said.
She is prohibited by contract from discussing her status on “American Idol,” but she is all smiles when she talks about the experience, and the opportunities for her and STRIDE.
“I am very content with how my life is right now,” Mink said. “I have no complaints.”
Contact Rachel Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter, @ParsonsRachel.