Be Sure to Follow Your Passion, No Matter What
By Jennifer L. Warren
NEWBURGH – Some kids constantly fidget before a test. Others anxiously look over their notes. Madison Bishop prefers to sing.
“I like to sing in my head when there is a problem going on, such as before taking a test,” explained the eleven year old Tuxedo Park School sixth grader. “I actually like to hum, and I can be very loud, so my classmates will tell me to quiet down; I get a lot of that from them, but I just keep going cause it’s very stress relieving.”
It’s also a past time that is an inherent gift that Bishop has been diligently refining since age three. Not long after her induction into the singing realm, the dedicated Bishop was taking the stage at age four, singing the National Anthem in front of a large crowd, a feat that felt very natural and comfortable.
“She was always singing and humming any songs at all she heard on television,” recalled her mother Patricia. “She always pronounced things very clearly, we never really had to correct things with her; she just got it.”
That crystal clarity continued to bloom through Bishop’s early elementary school years. as she performed in an assortment of impressive venues, mainly churches, across the country, including; Georgia, Texas, Houston and Connecticut. In 2012, her talents were showcased at the Installation of the Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City.
Amazingly, at just age six, she was able to stay calm, making impromptu adjustments, singing with the crowd, despite their slower version of the National Anthem.
Her talents have even landed her gigs beyond the United States borders, in Trinidad, the homeland of her father, Howard. Here, she performed several times at 100 plus years birthday celebrations for her father’s grandmother, her great-grandmother.
In fourth grade, she appeared in her first school talent show, providing a mesmerizing rendition of the classic hit, “Let it Go,” from the movie “Frozen.”
“To this day, people at her school still talk about how amazing that performance was,” recollected her mother Patricia.
In addition to being able to mesmerize listeners with her unique sound as well as perform in an extemporaneous manner, the young Bishop has also displayed an ease with bringing her singing game to large crowds. At age seven, she performed in front of approximately 4000 people at the 70th Anniversary of the North Eastern Conference Seventh-Day Adventist, unfazed by the massive audience, thoroughly absorbed in her passion.
Bishop’s singing career took yet another upward swing last winter in March, 2017 when she got accepted into the American Choir Director’s Association, selected as one of 300 from a pool of 5,000 applicants. Traveling out to frigid temperatures in Minnesota for the event, Bishop spent long days practicing and honing her singing craft, completely absorbed in her tasks and never once complaining about the work.
Most recently, she has taken her singing craft up still another notch, taking lessons from acclaimed Broadway and opera singer, Elex Lee Vann.
Bishop, fast becoming a student of singing, is quick to cite the gains she has made from Vann’s influence.
“I have learned to control my voice, gestures and breathing,” explained Bishop. “He has also taught me how to do gestures from the heart; he is very, very knowledgeable and has been extremely helpful in many ways.”
Help has come close to home as well. Bishop’s father, a singer himself, has served as a mentor, as have his three sisters (her aunts), all who sing. With a favorite genre of Christian music, Bishop further derives inspiration from the industry; Sandy Patti is one of her favorite gospel singers, and someone whose songs she often includes in her repetoire. There is even a strong peer motivation. Teaming up with friends Ashley and Nya, the trio have formed a group called “God’s Girls,” each brings a different harmony that smoothly comes together to form a beautiful sound which has been well received at an array of events.
Despite all of Bishop’s early, rapid successes, that climb has not been without obstacles. Living with asthma, she does have to use an inhaler on occasion.
At times it has affected her performance; however, for the most part she has overcome any setback it has created. That perseverance in many ways mimics the type of fortitude, maturity and positivity that embodies Bishop’s approach to singing in general.
“The key to being successful is it can’t be work; you have to enjoy it, and practice and dedication are so important,” said Bishop. “It can be very hard to hit and hold the high notes for such a long time, but the more you practice, the easier it gets.” Reflecting further, the poised Bishop, smiled, adding, “Also, mistakes are going to happen, but you have to be cool with it, and be able to learn from it.”
If you have not had the pleasure of hearing Bishop’s singing, you have an opportunity to do so locally, later this month. On February 28, she will be performing the National Anthem at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park for the State of the County Address to be delivered by Dutchess County Executive, Marc Molinaro.
This article originally appeared in the Hudson Valley Press.