It’s clear after just one conversation with new Granbury resident Nadia Turner that the former American Idol finalist has the music in her.
It’s a passion she can’t suppress.
Her mother realized it long ago. When Nadia belted out “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in a musical theater performance as a sixth grader, there was no doubt she was meant to be a performer.
Turner was the eighth-place finalist on Season 4 of American Idol in 2007. Before that, she competed on Star Search. She performed at the G8 Summit in Okinawa, Japan, performing a song that she learned to sing in Japanese just for that occasion. She once was invited by a royal family member in Kuwait to perform at a New Year’s Eve party. Photos document meetings with presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Even though she’s performing on different types of stages these days, her passion for the music does not seem to have suffered.
“I just moved to Granbury three weeks ago,” Turner said by phone last Thursday as she was driving to perform at a lounge in Plano, the Blue Martini. “I do about three gigs a week with a cover band called E6. Life goes from one extreme to the next. I’m possibly going to South Africa in the new year.”
Turner said that performing with E6 is “how I pay the bills.” E6 (empire6band.com) plays covers of top 40 songs made famous by current artists such as Rhianna and Nicki Minaj, among others. They can be booked to play clubs, corporate events and weddings.
Last week, Turner performed Christmas songs for seniors at Granbury Villa.
Turner said she has former in-laws here, and a friend, Sherry Vieu, has lived in Granbury for more than 10 years. “She’s definitely my second mom,” Turner said of Vieu.
Celene Rae, who was also a finalist on American Idol, lives in Dallas and convinced her to move to this area “for music opportunities.”
Turner is charmed by Granbury’s square and lake. The Miami native is at home around the water.
“I love the square,” Turner said. “It’s such a treat. Very quaint. I love all the shops. And my friends from Miami call me a beach baby. I live in the water.”
With no premeditation, Turner was already fully prepared for Texas culture – at least in terms of footwear.
She couldn’t explain why, but about eight years ago in Miami she started collecting cowboy boots.
‘AN OLD SOUL’
Despite being just 31 (born Jan. 11, 1981), Turner loves older music of the 1970s and 1980s even more. She adores Roberta Flack, Journey, Jimi Hendrix, the Doors and the Rolling Stones along with the Temptations and other Motown artists.
“My mom told me I’m an old soul,” Turner said of the fact that her biggest musical influences were popular long before she was born. “My mom says my music choices are awesome.”
“I was exposed to music by my mom and my stepdad, mostly on car rides,” Turner texted in a follow-up.
Turner said that of all the people she has met during her career, Roberta Flack made the biggest impact on her.
“She was really sweet. She knew I was a big fan,” Turner said, adding that the two even ended up having a spontaneous emotional reaction after sharing their common love for music and feeling a strong personal and musical connection to each other. “We cried together.”
With the conversational suggestion that Flack’s hit song “Where is the Love” was one of her best, Turner couldn’t resist another spontaneous moment. She flicked on the switch to her stunning vocal chords and started singing over the phone, “Where is the love … you said you’d give to me …”
Her enthusiasm remains high, and her career focus has not slipped off track, despite not experiencing the success and fame of some former American Idol performers turned superstars such as Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry or Carrie Underwood – who was the eventual winner the year Turner competed.
She said that American Idol judge Simon Cowell, notorious for not holding back brutal criticism, was surprised that Turner didn’t advance further in the American Idol competition. He famously told her that “In a competition of hamburgers, you are a steak.”
American Idol was “a blessed experience,” but “it’s frustrating being in this business,” said Turner who has two singles available on iTunes.
More recently, Turner said she headlined “G Rock” featuring female singers at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston as a solo act. She said that in addition to performing as the lead female singer of E6, she averages 30 to 40 solo gigs a year.
Turner is also an actress, having been in two independent films. She said she loves acting and singing equally. She was acting as a child before she began performing as a singer.
Turner said she’d be lying if she said she wouldn’t love to win a couple of Grammys or Oscars in her career. But she emphasized that winning awards or becoming famous is not her ultimate goal. She chooses to focus primarily on her faith and her two daughters.
As for all the rest, she said she simply wants to “sing for the world” as long as she can.
“I believe God has a plan, and I may not understand it now,” Turner said. “I’m just very into my faith. I want to share my gift. I know this was what I was born to do. I just want to keep doing it. Life is short. I don’t want to leave here knowing I didn’t get to share my passion.”
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