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Published March 26th, 2014
'Orinda Idol' Soloist Leaps into National Spotlight
Submitted by Margaret Huang
Isabelle Johannessen (front center) Photo provided

Orinda resident Isabelle Johannessen began singing when she was just a baby. "I would sit in my car seat and hold 'Ahhhh...' for as long as I could," the Oakland School for the Arts senior remembers. And she hasn't stopped singing since.
She made her first solo appearance on Orinda Idol, sponsored by the Orinda Arts Council, as a fourth grader and finally won first place in the Orinda Idol competition in 2012 with group, Urban Flare. She is now a member of Vocal Rush - OSA's prestigious national award-winning acapella group. She also works with Disney pop singer Zendaya, also a former OSA student, as a back-up singer on her "Shake It Up" tour. Johannessen was on tour with Zendaya and missed appearing with Vocal Rush when the group was a finalist on NBC TV's "The Sing Off" in December.
As a dancer and a performer in musicals at Orinda Youth Theater and Glorietta Elementary School, Johannessen found her commitment to the arts to be defining. Her broad range of talent coupled with an incredible work ethnic landed her acceptance at OSA), where maintains a 4.04 GPA.
"The thing about being an artist is that you are learning to better yourself and your craft. That mentality of learning, because you want to improve and not just to get good grades, is how to succeed," says the 17-year-old. "In vocal music, if you don't want to pay attention, you don't really have to. But, when auditions come up and you are not picked for the group or for a solo, you know why. Going to a performing arts school helps you be motivated in all aspects of life."
Johannessen says she gets up at 5:45 every morning. "My mom and I leave the house at 7:30 to drive me to school. Some nights I get a ride home from my family, but most evenings I take BART home after school."
Johannessen recently toured LA with her family to visit colleges and has already received an acceptance from Loyola Marymount College.
For the second consecutive year, Johannessen will be a featured soloist in the OSA Vocal Department concert "Soundtrack," a night of Hollywood hits at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Friday, May 2. Tickets are available on http://www.ticketmaster.com, search for "Soundtrack."


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