Village resident Leia Schwartz emerged as the top winner of the locally produced reality show, Musical Genius. The show, which began airing in January after several months of development, concluded with the episode broadcast on Mar. 2.
Of the five participating young musical artists, who performed throughout the run of the show, Schwartz placed first in the competition, Lauren Norona was second, the group Simplicity Itself was third, Mark Wolff was fourth and the group Off Orbit came in fifth.
When interviewed the week following the final episode, Leia Schwartz said she wanted to thank everyone who helped make it possible.
“Words cannot describe how grateful I am to all of those that have supported me along the way,” Schwartz said. “I could not have done it without the help of my friends, family, and fans. This is a dream come true, and I am still trying to process it.”
Contestants were required to sing, play at least one musical instrument and write their own original music, the compositions usually completed within a time limit of a mere 30 minutes. They performed at various locations around the Greater Miami area. Voting was done by viewers and fans through Facebook and other social media as well as by music downloads. Schwartz said the experience overall was remarkable for her.
“I feel like I have grown so much through my time in the competition,” Schwartz said. “I can hear a clear difference in the development of my songs and have grown more comfortable with coming up with ideas on the spot. It was fun to meet the other contestants and listen to their songs that they wrote for the various themes. We all have different musical styles, so it was a great learning experience.”
Advisors for the young artists were Mark Roofe, the music director for Musical Genius and the founder of M5 Studios, and Dr. Kathleen Wilson, professor of voice and associate director of the School of Music at Florida International University.
Schwartz said she learned a lot about herself and her musical process as a result.
“I have learned that I work best when I don’t try and force ideas to come to me,” Schwartz said. “When I get frustrated with the progress I am making on a song, I just have to take a break and not rush things. I also learned that the music industry is full of compromise. There was one song that the producer and I were not agreeing on. We both wanted to take it in completely different directions. The end result combined our two visions for the song, and I love how it turned out.”
She said that participating in the competition was both fun and intimidating.
“Music is my passion in life, so the entire experience has been exciting,” Schwartz said. “I always have fun when I am writing songs, recording, and doing what I love. Of course the competition side can be extremely nerve-wracking, especially when you have to write a song within a limited time constraint while trying to make it sound like a hit.”
The show aired on Sunday afternoons on MyNetworkTV 33. Schwartz’s songs were the appropriately named Believe, Dream, Inspire as well as We’ll Always Have Music, Run Boy and Life’s In Our Hands. She also sang in the group performance of The World’s Game. Schwartz believes the win will help with her long-range goals.
“Music is my passion, and I always try to write songs that have an inspirational message,” she said. “I hope that by winning Musical Genius, I will be able to share my music with the world and touch as many people as possible with my songs. This is just the beginning.”
Fans may download her songs and lyrics via the Web at www.musicalgenius.tv/index.php?page=leia schwartz.