Palmetto Bay resident Leia Schwartz, who is one of only five talented young musical artists showcased in the new musical reality show called Miami’s Musical Genius, has been in four episodes so far with one remaining that is scheduled for Feb. 23. The shows air on Sundays at 4 p.m. on MyTV33.
A twist on shows like American Idol and The Voice, Musical Genius is different, not just having contestants singing other artists’ songs. Instead, the young aspiring singer/songwriters write a new original song keyed to a different theme every week, with performances in various places around the area. They usually have only have 30 minutes to compose each piece, adding to the pressure.
Further adding to the pressure in Schwartz’s case is a recurring problem with asthma, a condition she has struggled with since childhood and which ironically led to her taking singing lessons in the first place, as a way of strengthening her lungs. She wrote the song for the second episode of the reality show while in her hospital room. She has been battling illness for the past few weeks but is feeling better now. Her enthusiasm is irrepressible.
“The competition has been a lot of fun,” Schwartz said. “It’s definitely a challenge having to write songs to a specific theme on a time constraint. It’s been tough, but I’m really happy with what I’ve come up with so far. I’m extremely thankful for all of the support that my friends and family have given me.
“I’ve also been receiving such kind messages from people I haven’t even met about how much they love my music and how inspirational I am. It’s a dream!”
The most recent episode, which aired Feb. 16, featured Leia singing a song she wrote about John Rose, her choir teacher at Coral Reef Senior High School, who has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), since she found him to be inspiring in both music and in life.
The contestants on Musical Genius will get different points for each of several categories, which will be averaged into a “GPA” (Genius Point Average) every week. At the end of the show’s run the person with the highest GPA will be declared the winner.