Shipp on course for success as precocious jazz singer

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Shipp on course for success as precocious jazz singer

North Penn High School senior and aspiring jazz singer Juliette Shipp belts it out at 2014's annual Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids event.

North Penn High School senior and aspiring jazz singer Juliette Shipp belts it out at 2014's annual Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids event.

North Penn High School senior and aspiring jazz singer Juliette Shipp belts it out at 2014's annual Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids event.

North Penn High School senior and aspiring jazz singer Juliette Shipp belts it out at 2014's annual Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids event.

Siena Catanzaro, Staff Writer

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Whether you know her as the girl who sits next to you in math class or the girl who was once bitten by a shark, she is recognized by all as a girl with the voice of an angel: a jazz angel, that is. North Penn senior Juliette Shipp has been singing ever since she was three years old, and her last three years at North Penn have given her many opportunities and opened doors on her way to becoming a professional jazz singer. Before her time at North Penn, Shipp won many competitions and was flown across the nation to sing in front of thousands of people.  Not only is she one of the voices of the Disney 411 theme song, but she is also one out of 44 recipients of the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Scholarship. Her resume is outstanding and is made even more impressive by the fact that she is still only 18 years old.

“I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. It’s always been something I’ve been good at, so that’s where I decided to focus my attention,” said Shipp.

When Shipp was nine years old, she competed in her first vocal competition, which landed her in first place. The prize was to perform in Disney World in front of Cinderella’s Castle. This competition also gave her a chance to be one of the voices for the Disney 411 theme song. Ever since performing in Disney World, Shipp has continued competing and winning awards.

“The best competition that I’ve ever won was when I entered the Boys and Girls Club National Conference Talent Search, and I won and ended up getting flown out to San Diego. I got to sing in front of 5,000 people as the headline act; it was so cool. They paid for everything. I got to meet Neyo, too, and other celebrities,” said Shipp.

Juliette Ship has won so many awards and competitions that, when asked how many she has won, she couldn’t come up with an exact number.

“At least twenty – well, somewhere between twenty and thirty, I think,” said Shipp. Vocal competitions differ from other athletic competitions, because there are rarely trophies or medals handed out. Most vocal awards are certificates, scholarships, or chances to perform in another venue.

Shipp recently won first chair at All State Vocal Jazz and will now perform in March at the Spring Festival in Hershey.

“The style of my voice and the way that it sounds is naturally a more ‘depthy’ sound. It fits best in that category of jazz, but I also like [jazz] best, and I love scatting. It’s so free. With jazz there isn’t a lot of form to it, so you can just do whatever you want. You don’t have to follow the rules,” said Shipp.

In addition to competing, Shipp writes her own music and performs at local venues.  She recently showcased her talent at Philly’s World Café Live venue, where she was offered an opportunity to perform at a nonprofit music organization show later in March.  Her rendition of “Benny and the Jets” and “The House of the Rising Sun” blew the audience away.

“World café live was a really relaxed and fun experience,” Shipp commented. “It’s very cool because the audience is full of other musicians, so it’s a knowledgeable crowd that can appreciate what you’re doing. But I was nervous because it was my first time doing it. The crowd reacted to me really well, though; they loved what I did.”

Although Shipp performs for personal enjoyment, she also sings for the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Scholarship. In ninth grade, Shipp became one out of 44 other recipients in the nation to win this award that gives her around $4,000 each year to fund her vocal lessons and other expenses to help her achieve her dream. She has been winning this award for the past three years.

“Each year you have to resubmit all your information so you can continue winning the award. You have to submit receipts for your lessons and other things, so it’s very organized. In ninth grade, Hank Aaron was receiving an award and getting recognized for a citizenship type of award, and he flew me and all the other recipients out to New Orleans, where we got to stay for a week. He wanted us to come see him get recognized, and then we got recognized as well and had dinner with him,” said Shipp.

In addition to competing on her own, Shipp dominates vocal competitions within the walls of North Penn, as well. She traveled with North Penn’s Thespian Troupe to the Pennsylvania State Thespian Conference, where for the past two years she has qualified to move on to Internationals. She received two perfect scores after performing her individual event (IE) in solo musical theatre. Shipp is also an active member of the Thespian Troupe and NPHS Theater and has been in Women’s Choir, Chambers, and Ambassadors for the past three years as well as singing the national anthem at multiple sporting events. She has also participated in SGA’s Talent Show for the past two years and is hoping to perform at this year’s event.

Shipp will be continuing her singing dreams, as she has applied to multiple vocal jazz and music business programs for college.

“I want to become a singer and make that my living, but I also want to open my own professional jazz and blues venue like the House of Blues. I would like there to be one in New York and one in New Orleans. It would be a place where professional jazz players can perform for people who are interested in that type of music. We would also have soul food,” said Shipp. “I want it to be called ‘Soul’ for the soul music and soul food.”

Juliette Shipp, the jazz angel, has blessed North Penn with her soulful music and is sure to soon make her mark out in the world, as well.

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