Although USC student Elizabeth Gaba was born and raised as a singer, little did she expect to find herself auditioning for the 17th season of "American Idol" this year.
The sophomore majoring in popular music said she was motivated to try out for the singing competition television show because "as a singer, the number one thing you hear the second they [know] that you sing is 'You should audition for 'American Idol.'' When the opportunity presented itself to me, I thought it would be really great."
Gaba performed "All I Ask" by Adele and said she was surprised when she was selected because she was up against competitors nationwide. However, Gaba believes she moved forward in the show due to the moving background story of how she discovered her anonymous egg donor, who happened to be a USC alumna, and reunited with her last May. Gaba said the episode she is in will air on Sunday, March 17.
When deciding which university to attend in 2017, Gaba was drawn to USC because "pop program is unlike any other program in the world and it just seemed like exactly what I wanted to be doing with all of my time. It turned out the program was perfect for me in every single way and I just really love being apart of it."
She also joined SoCal VoCals, one of the university's award-winning a cappella groups, to enjoy her free time outside of her academic work. To Gaba, getting involved in a cappella through USC and the summer program she attended has been a large impact on her singing career because it created connections and friendships that made her the person she is today.
Since she didn't attend an art high school, Gaba said the only opportunities she had to sing were in choir and the annual musical. However, now, she "spend[s] all day every singing and enhancing my musicianship. I can genuinely say that looking back on videos of me when I was younger, It's absolutely crazy how much I have improved since being at USC."
Prior to college, Gaba started her singing career when her grandmother heard her singing on the phone as a 7-year-old. Born into a family of musicians, she was encouraged to take voice lessons when her talent was discovered. After performing at her fourth-grade talent show, Gaba knew she wanted to pursue a future in music.
The aspiring singer grew up performing in her school and community as well participated in occasional local and national competitions, including YoungArts and Spotlight. She attributed much of her growth as a vocalist to A Cappella Academy, a summer training program started by one of the members of a cappella group Pentatonix, which Gaba attended for four years.
"I would love to be working in music and performing in any capacity I can," she said. "I love pop music and I chose to study it for a reason…I just hope to be performing as much as possible in the future — it's the thing that makes me the happiest and I really think it's what I'm meant to do."