I'd rather not win this one.

Can we talk about unexpected goodness for a moment? A little over a week ago, I competed as a quarterfinalist in the American Traditions Vocal Competition, and I didn't make it beyond the first round. I was heartbroken and frustrated and confused. But you know what happened? As a result of not moving on, I was handed several opportunities I would not have had otherwise. And it turned out to be the most amazing week.

Those of us that didn't advance got to sit down with each judge one-on-one for feedback, and each judge was affirming, encouraging, and offered incredible professional advice. One judge in particular, a Tony-nominated Broadway performer named Phillip Boykin, helped me to rethink some career possibilities, and he selected me for the masterclass on the last day of the competition.

That masterclass opened up a new side of my sound, a part of my voice I didn't know existed and now want to use all the time! Neither the one-on-one time with the judges nor the masterclass would have happened had I advanced. And at this point in my career, I needed those opportunities far more than I needed to advance.

​More than concrete growth opportunities, the American Traditions Competition revitalized my love of musical theatre and the people that come with it. I love Nashville and the creative community here, but there is something special about being around people who understand every show tune reference that comes out of your mouth 😂 The competition hardly felt like a competition. We were all cheering each other on, lifting one another up, and also stealing future song ideas from each other. I have some amazing new songs to learn, thanks to my new friends. I never thought I would return from this competition as happy as I have, especially considering I didn't advance. But there are plans in motion far greater than what I can see right now, and I am so grateful to continue watching this story unfold.