Aspiring young singers and musicians auditioned yesterday at the Design District's Estefan Kitchen for a chance to perform at the Dreaming on the Beach Gala December 9. The event, created by Phil and Orianne Collins, helps raise funds to support the Little Dreams Foundation. Founded in Switzerland in 2000 and relocated to Miami in 2013, the foundation helps aspiring talent without financial means.
"We have 168 kids in the foundation from the ages of 4 to 16," Orianne Collins said. "We have some great kids, and they all have different stories of success. Little Dreams Foundation is giving them a future. That is the objective."
Children were given a three-minute time slot to belt out their tunes or play their instruments in front of singer and drummer Phil Collins, his wife, Orianne, and their 16-year old son Nic, who follows in his father's drumming footsteps. Soul and R&B singer and songwriter Betty Wright was also on the judging panel.
The 30 young contestants waited eagerly for their turn to perform while munching on chicken croquetas and kibbeh filled with picadillo. Nine-year-old Alice Mocci was the youngest performer. She sang "How Far I'll Go" by Alessia Cara. "I'm excited and nervous," she confessed between giggles. "I practiced. I hope I do a good job."
Others, like Preston Howell, age 13, sang "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars. "It's really exciting to get my voice out and especially for Phil Collins to hear my voice," he said.
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Winning auditions earned music lessons and coaching ahead of the performance with Phil Collins and other celebrities such as Tina Turner, Abba's Frida Lyngstad, and three-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo. A few landed passes immediately after their performances. Past winners have gone on to become finalists on national and international TV shows such as The Voice.
"I want to see something fresh. Nowadays, radio, pop music is so tarnished with a specific genre that keeps being repeated. I'd like to see somebody bring back the real way of music, not trying to fit in with what's hip right now, just bringing back how thoughtful, both lyrically and musically, music was," Nic Collins said.
"It's a lot of pressure on the kids, but they come with all guns blazing, and it's exciting. The last couple of years have been great, and I've been very, very impressed with the young talent there is," noted Phil Collins, who has a home in Miami Beach, before scooping some black bean hummus onto a plantain chip.
Winners of the competition include Tyler Watts, Alyssa Coons, Arianna Viteri, Reif Howey, Penelope Robbin,
and Martina Travesso.