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Published February 03 2013

Vote today: As Round 1 of Fargo Star voting kicks off, catch up with last year's winner

VOTE TODAY! Fargo Star Round 1 is live


Voting for the 2013 Fargo Star competition has begun!

Contestants were placed into three random groups. Votes can be cast now and for the next four weeks. Each week, the top two vote-getters automatically move on to the finals.

Through noon Friday, you can vote for your Round 1 favorites. The second group’s videos go online Feb. 11, and the third round starts Feb. 18.

The fourth week, voting will be open for all of the remaining videos, with the top four moving on to the finals.

The final 10 singers will take the stage March 23 with Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome in front of a live audience at The Venue, where the next Fargo Star will be named.

Log on to http://FargoStar.Areavoices.com today and all month to watch the performances and cast your vote.

BRECKENRIDGE, Minn. - Almost a year after winning Fargo Star, Taylor Wall finds herself in a familiar situation.

Right about this time last year, the then-17-year-old was perfecting her rendition of Adele’s hit “Rolling in the Deep.” That song was Wall’s submission for last year’s Fargo Star, which caused people to sit up and take notice.

Now, Wall is again preparing another submission for The Forum’s annual singing competition. This time, though, it’s for a friend – who also happens to be named Taylor.

We recently caught up with the 18-year-old singer during a break in her and her friend’s recording session to find out what’s new, and what advice she has for this year’s batch of Fargo Star contestants.

‘Get my name out there’

Since winning the competition last February, Wall, a senior at Breckenridge High School, has kept busy with performing solo and with school-affiliated musical groups.

She sang for several events in Breckenridge, as well as for a Heidi Heitkamp event in Grand Forks last year. She credits her Fargo Star success for helping people find out about her.

“It was just a great way to get my name out there,” she says.

Also of particular note for her was the opportunity to interview Javier Colon, winner of the first season of “The Voice,” before he performed at the Fargo Theatre in March.

Wall also opened for Colon that night, singing several songs to a near-full house.

Getting to pick the brain of someone who went through a similar, though higher-profile musical competition, was especially enlightening, Wall says.

“He gave me some pointers in furthering my performance skills,” she says. “He told me, you know, you can’t be nervous. He also said to pick a good song that represents you, and a song that not everyone will sing.”

Wall didn’t necessarily need much advice there – the night she won Fargo Star, she belted out a soulful rendition of Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” to a packed crowd at The Venue at The Hub.

Given the fact that she grew up in a musical family, that choice only seemed appropriate.

“As a kid, I was raised and listened to ’80s rock, particularly those female rock singers,” Wall says. “That’s what made me very confident about the performance. It kind of represented my musical tastes, and made me comfortable.”

In terms of what’s next, Wall has been auditioning for college choirs in South Dakota, where she hopes to continue to learn music in the years ahead.

“I plan on just furthering my music education and performance skills,” she says. “Just kind of continue that and upping the scale more and more.”

Sometime soon, Wall will cash in the final part of her Fargo Star prize pack – paid airfare to audition for either “American Idol” or “The Voice.”

She hasn’t found time to audition for either of those programs yet, but says she hopes to do so soon.

“It’s definitely in my playing cards,” she says.

Advice for the hopefuls

Just as Javier Colon gave her advice on handling the pressure of performing, so too does Wall have plenty of suggestions for future Fargo Star hopefuls.

The most important thing, she says, is to not let your nerves affect how you sing.

“Don’t be nervous,” she says. “Everyone’s just there to have fun.”

She acknowledges it’s probably easier said than done, but having encouraging friends and family certainly helps.

“Appreciate people who care for you, and who help you along the way,” she says. “Last year they definitely helped calm my nerves.”

She’s referring to the large contingent of friends and family that traveled to the Fargo Star finals last year to loudly cheer her on. Many wore hand-painted T-shirts that read “Taylor Gang or Die.”

For past Fargo Star contestants who may not have advanced in voting, Wall recommends trying out again in the future.

After all, the first time Wall tried out two years ago she didn’t advance. Then she tried out again last year and ended up winning.

“If you don’t do it now, you’re probably never going to do it later,” Wall says. “Don’t keep putting it off and off.”

And above all, she says, have the courage to step up and show everyone what you’re capable of.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” she adds.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535