When Keisha Johnson-Mendoza first saw the Morristown’s Got Talent! flyer, she hesitated to sign up to audition.
“It took me about three weeks, because I was fearful,” she said. “But then I said, ‘I’m going to conquer this fear.’”
So, on a busy Saturday in December, after holding a party for her son and about 20 of his friends, Johnson-Mendoza rushed to Morristown High School to sing a cappella (without musical accompaniment) at the auditions.
“Two days later, I got an email telling me that I was in the show,” she said.
Although she sang a cappella for the auditions, a pianist will provide instrumental back up during her performance at the Morristown’s Got Talent! show.
Performing in competitions is not new for Johnson-Mendoza, who sings as part of a gospel group, but going it alone is.
“This is my first real competition in this genre by myself,” she said.
Consequently, Johnson-Mendoza has spent plenty of time preparing for the big night.
“I’ve been singing around the house, meeting with the piano player about once a week, and getting sponsors,” she said.
Johnson-Mendoza has been singing gospel music since she was a child, and her gospel foundation came into play when it came to picking a song for the competition.
She saw a contestant from “Sunday Best,” a televised talent search for top gospel music talent, on YouTube singing a song entitled “I Won’t Complain.” It resonated with her so much that she decided to sing it for Morristown’s Got Talent!.
“When I heard the words of the song, I thought, ‘Oh my God, that’s me.’ That song exemplifies what I’ve gone through, and what I’m coming out of.”
Johnson-Mendoza, who became unemployed in October, is hopeful that her performance at Morristown’s Got Talent! will lead to work in the entertainment industry. In particular, her dream is to do voice-overs for Disney, which she said would also please her young son.
Johnson-Mendoza already has some ideas about how to use the $1,000 prize if she wins. She plans to offer a tithe with a portion of the winnings, but she will also set aside some of the money for something special.
“I want to treat myself with some of it,” she said of the prize money. “Do something for Keisha.”