BY BETH DEDMAN
A local singer residing in Brooklyn will be featured in the premiere episode of the 18th season of “American Idol,” airing at 8 p.m. EST on Feb. 16 on ABC.
Meghan Fitton, 24, will audition in front of an all-star judging panel, including Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.
Fitton describes her music style as “folk-soul with a blues and jazzy influence” and she writes and produces the music she uses to audition, she said. Her musical influences include Nora Jones, Carole King, Jeremy Mitchell and Amy Winehouse.
“I’ve been singing forever,” Fitton said. “Since I could talk really. Some of my earliest memories were belting out across the house and my brother telling me to be quiet. It’s an intricate part of who I am.”
Fitton is originally from Foxboro, Mass., she said. She began performing in the Boston Children’s Chorus when she was 12 and toured with them nationally and internationally. She sang for the jazz band, jazz choir and show choir in high school. She studied vocal jazz performance at the University of Miami and moved to New York shortly after graduating.
“When you live in New York and you’re trying to pursue something like this, you feel like you have moments where nothing is happening and nothing is moving,” Fitton said. “I had no plans to go on the show, but then I was like ‘You know, I’m gonna just try it.’”
Fitton auditioned in front of representatives for the show in Brooklyn and received a call that day that she would be able to perform for the judges, she said.
In this premiere episode, “American Idol” contestants will perform for the judges in Savannah, Ga.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles.
Fitton auditioned in Savannah because her oldest brother lives there with his wife and children. Fitton’s entire family traveled with her to the audition to cheer her on.
“It was nice to have us all together,” Fitton said. “I knew that no matter what happened in that room, they were going to be supportive. They’ve always been supportive of all my shows and giving me feedback on my recordings. They’ve always had my back since I was young. If there is anyone I would want there, it’d be them.”
Fitton is excited for the episode to air, but she is also nervous, she said.
“I grew up in very small beginnings, not to say I didn’t have opportunities, but you know everybody. You know intricate details about people and now I’m going to share that with the whole country,” Fitton said.
Fitton is planning a viewing party to watch the episode with some of her friends in NYC.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,”Fitton said. “I was watching the Oscars and they had advertisements during the show and it was crazy to know the people they had in the ads. It’s crazy to think I’ll see myself on a show I’ve watched since I was 8.”
Fitton will release an original EP in late March called “All Over the Place,” featuring three songs she began writing when she moved to New York in July 2018, she said.
“I didn’t think about recording anything until I felt as if my life is going to change at least a little from being on this show and I felt like it was now time for more people to hear it,” Fitton said. “I’m very proud of it and I got to make it with my friends.”
Fitton hopes that auditioning on the show will open more opportunities for her to play in iconic venues like the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. or Radio City Music Hall.
“I want to connect with more people,” Fitton said. “As artists we create these pieces for ourselves, but we also make them for others. It’s really hard to get people to come through and listen. Big or small you want people to relate to what you create.”
Some of the other notable auditions in Sunday’s episode will include a subway performer from Harlem, a garbage collector and a “hopeless romantic who encounters her own fairy-tale twist,” according to the episode description.
“This is a really big opportunity and I’m excited for the show to air,” Fitton said.