“The coaches have taught me not to try to please anybody but myself,” first-year University of California, Riverside student Adanna Duru uses this as motivation to continue pursuing her dream after competing on 14th season of “American Idol.” Singing had come easily to Duru since she was a child; it was how she was able to cultivate this talent that helped to lay the foundations for her dream of becoming a well-known artist.
Developing and achieving dreams are often based upon one’s ability to persevere, a strength that Duru continues to practice. She reflects on how her older and younger brothers would constantly complain about her singing while growing up in Diamond Bar.
“No matter how many times they tell me to stop, I keep going,” she stated, demonstrating her determination to continue on her path of becoming an artist. Duru had become accustomed to sharing her angelic voice after years of performing in front of her family and audiences in talent shows, revealing how singing became second nature to her.
Duru relates how artists like Beyonce, Britney Spears and Stevie Wonder have always been major influences on her choice of music, but it wasn’t until she competed on “The Voice” that she really identified who she is as an artist herself. “At the time, I didn’t know much about myself — what type of music I wanted to sing, how I wanted to dress on stage,” she exclaimed as she reflected on the time Adam Levine chose her to pass through her audition. Duru was eliminated after the battle rounds; however, “The Voice” guided Duru in developing her brand identity and led her to discover her interest in pop, soul and R&B music, eventually preparing her for her next stage: “American Idol.”
“I’m still in a trance right now,” Duru heartily exclaimed over the fact that she competed with the top 11 finalists in “American Idol.” Coming a long way since taking a break from her academics here at UCR and deciding to audition with Lady Gaga’s “You and I” earlier this year, she’s established herself as a pop artist while still displaying her versatility by performing other genres of music. “I like to perform songs that allow me to have high energy when I’m on stage.” She explained that her love for Lady Gaga and Rihanna has helped develop her interest in “edgy, dance music.”
Competing on “American Idol” is a handful of work, but there is also a dash of fun involved. Duru reveals that she has found the chance to meet many people who share this dream along with others who helped her achieve it. The “relationships built on the show are going to last for a long time,” she shared. She expresses that much of competing on “American Idol” doesn’t feel like a competition at all, but rather that they are all working together and sharing a good time. Her least favorite part of the experience was losing her companions to the eliminations.
“You think that it’s a competition between yourself and everyone else, but it’s really a competition between yourself and the day before,” Duru explained. She maintains an optimistic and headstrong attitude that reflects in her performances week after week, contributing to her success on the show. “If you keep doing your best, you’re going to get picked through. If you don’t, then you’re going to get eliminated,” she said, keeping her mindset short and simple.
In this way, Duru managed to devote her time and effort into achieving the best of herself and learning to improve with constructive feedback from the judges and the audience. With alternating show themes and a busy travel schedule, rehearsals were difficult to manage, but Duru maintained her intensive training with her vocal coaches to develop her talent more each day as the coaches have taught her to be “100% confident with (her) artistry.”
After feeling confident in her performance of “Love You I Do” from the movie “Dreamgirls” on “American Idol,” Duru was unfortunately eliminated. Though she was surprised about her elimination, she remained optimistic of her future as she will continue to pursue a career in the music industry. “I’m happy I got to show America who I am,” she reflected.
As Duru continues to reach greater heights in the music industry, she reminds herself to stay humble as she thanks her increasingly large fan base for her success. She graciously mentioned that the messages and emails stating that she is an inspiration from her fans are extremely rewarding. “I had no idea that I was going to make it (to the final 11),” Duru conveyed, as she thanked the show for the exposure that she has received while remaining in complete awe that it was America who had continually voted her through.
She continues to grasp the support of millions of Americans with her boundless talent and conviction. Having written songs for multi-platinum selling recording artists like Metrostation under Universal Records, she hopes to one day share her original pieces with the world through her own voice.
With the endless experience and lessons she continues to gather, she also hopes to “tour the world with (her) own entertainment company and mentor young artists.” She elaborated on her vision to use her personal dream to aid others in achieving theirs. ”If you have big dreams, you don’t need anyone’s approval to go after them. If you have passion, dedication, and discipline, you will succeed,” Duru advised to anyone with great aspirations.