By Ruth Ferguson, NDG Editor
Singing frees the soul, according to the talented 15 year-old sophomore Malik Heard. When asked what singing means to him, Malik stated, “Singing means to me that when you let out a note, you can be anybody you want to be and all your problems go away.” It appears that listeners feel the same when they enjoy his melodic voice.
Recently selected as the Dallas SPARKLE Singing Challenge winner at the competition held at Valley View Mall on July 14. He faced amateur singers ranging in age from 13-40 years old. Each contestant was required to sing a sixty-second a cappella version of Celebrate or Something He Can Feel. Malik’s winning rendition of Celebrate earned him $500 and a chance to compete for the Grand Prize, which includes:
- an appearance on BET’s 106 & Park
- professionally record a song with the Punch Monkeys producer and writing team
- a MySpace homepage feature
Singing has been a part of Malik’s life from an early age. “My parents did not know I could sing, until I sang Silent Night at the day care program,” he shared. From there he has gone on to sing not only around the house, but also at church and at school.
A multi-talented performer, the Rowlett student, recently starred in a local production of High School Musical in the lead role Troy, the basketball player. Malik enjoyed the experience and he does not rule out the possibility of writing music, but singing remains his first love.
When asked to name his musical inspirations Malik immediately mentioned superstars Beyoncé and Usher, “I love the creativity they bring to the table.”
When discussing the local contest, Heard admitted he was nervous when he discovered he would not simply be singing in front of few judges in a room. Instead, he was on a stage in the middle of the mall in front of the other competitors and mall shoppers. When you watch the video you can tell that even before he is barely half way through the song, he has won over the audience.
“At first I was really nervous, but it was a good experience,” he shared. Malik found himself thinking, “I can’t believe this is happening, I am blessed to be here.” Malik’s friends were very supportive of him telling him, “They are so proud of me and you are going places.”
While this may certainly be flattering to a young man, but Malik’s support system is strong. His parents, Shannon and Nikki, help him to navigate these challenging waters while keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
Member of the Potter’s House in Dallas, faith is a key foundation for the family. Speaking by phone also, his father Shannon pointed out he and wife believe in the Bible’s encouragement found in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
For example, the contest laid out specific guidelines on the website, “I had him learn the rules. I was telling him how important it is to follow the rules,” and according to Shannon they both observed contestants eliminated for not following the guidelines.
Naturally Shannon is happy to see his son thrive at something he enjoys, but the primary objective of his parents is to help Malik, “Focus on what his gift can be,” according to his father.
Shannon encourages his son to remember, “I don’t want you to chase this business, chase your gift and let stuff follow you. Learn to be a professional, take it serious and handle yourself appropriately.”
The family is enjoying the experience together but win or lose Malik will be fine. His father shared, “Malik is a teenager, I am a parent/coach, providing him the opportunities to practice his gift. I am hot tied into Malik getting a record contract. Let’s go down the road and let God guide us. If you get a contract, great. You could inspire inner city kids to sing, something much more rewarding.” But Shannon laughingly added that if Malik does discover fame and fortune, mom and dad of course could use a new house.
Heard is now competing against 14 other singers around the country. The voting kicked off on July 25 and will continue daily until August 10. Visit the website daily and vote as often as you like at http://www.myspace.com/sparkle. Malik is in the first slot on the second row.