Jay Sean With a career spanning fifteen years, multi-million selling and platinum award-winning artist Jay Sean remains the most successful British urban act in music history. Dipping his toes into various urban genres, and living across different continents, it’s no surprise he’s harnessed his success by constantly evolving. Born in Hounslow, West London, Jay says, “The way I grew up shaped me as a human being and has definitely shaped my career. Where my family lived in London was heavily South Asian based, but I was fortunate to have a lot of cultural influences, especially at school, and so my way of interacting with the world was incredibly eclectic.” Apart from releasing further hits like “Do You Remember”, “2012” and “I’m All Yours”, Jay has split time between London, L.A. and New York for the last eight years. He’s also collaborated with some of the biggest names in music, including Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Pitbull, Sean Paul and Mary J Blige, to name a few. Jay’s trademark ambition is still gaining momentum and he says, “I’m so lucky that people out there still want to hear my music, and I just want to keep on doing this forever.”
Thara Natalie grew up in Bergen County New Jersey and has found her way to places all over the globe as a model, actress and musician. With her husband, singer Jay Sean, she continued travelling the world always bringing music on their journey. More than 10 years ago, Thara found her practice at Fireshaper Westwood and in the process, found some much-needed balance that helped her survive the madness of the entertainment industry. Thara graduated from Bikram’s teacher training in the spring of 2007 and was further certified with Fireshaper in the spring of 2013 for both hot yoga and hot Vinyasa flow. Now, as one half of a global business team and mom to daughter Ayva, Thara is passionate about sharing all the good that yoga has brought into her family’s life with the world. Now, as Thara and Jay embark on the next part of their journey together, they look forward to continuing to spread inspiration through their love for all things, health, wellness and yoga in their very own yoga studio, Fire Shaper Tenafly.
Florian Bellanger is a renowned pastry chef known for his role as a permanent judge on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Florian’s love for food manifested itself at an early age, so he knew that his career would take a culinary path. As a child, Florian spent his free time baking in the kitchen for his family. Although a childhood allergy to chocolate ironically prevented him from relishing such treats for nearly six years, he outgrew it and passionately dedicated himself to the art of pastries even more. When asked to share his thoughts about the John Grieco Scholarship Fund, Florian responded with, “I think it is important to give students a chance to do what they like best – it motivates them and gives them the opportunity to discover new talents.” This will be his fourth time serving as a judge for Englewood Idol.
Brianna Peterson is a former resident of Englewood and Dwight Morrow High school alumni. She is 26 years old and currently works at Dwight Morrow High School. 10 years ago she too was a contestant in Englewood Idol when the show took place at the Dizzy Gillespie Auditorium. While in high school she also recorded her first self-written album entitled “Miss Independent”. After graduating Brianna continued writing her own songs an eventually started performing in show cases in NYC. Brianna changed her stage name to B.Kharae and released an EP titled “Official” in the summer of 2016. She had a hot single from the EP “Take your time” which received over 2000 views on sound cloud and social media. She also released a music video for another track on the EP titled “Tonight”, which received over 500 views on YouTube. Brianna also took place in a social media challenge to recreate a popular R&B track “So Gone” by Monica. Brianna received over 2.5k views for her challenge between social media and You Tube viewers. Today Brianna is still making music with an upcoming show case this month.
Kennedy Smith is a 22-year-old Englewood native with music that revolves around positive energy and overcoming adversity. Known for his charisma and lyricism, he gives listeners a breath of fresh air with every released track. He has opened up for Lil Uzi Vert and Jadakiss, as well as appearing twice on Revolt TV. Kennedy has also performed at SOB’s, a New York City music venue known for hosting such notable performers as Drake, Kanye West, and Nas.
Omarr Kaba is a singer and an aspiring artist. He is 20 years old. He recently switched majors from Business Management to Music at William Paterson where he studies. Omarr has been singing since he was a child. Omarr is an alumni of DMAE and participated in both Idol and Englewood’s Got Talent when he was in high school. Omarr is currently working on his first original music project projected to be released later this year. You can follow him on Instagram at glomarr_. Omarr is extremely proud of all of the Idols and he wishes them the best of luck!
Becky Serico, Managing Director of The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC, was honored to be an audition judge for Englewood Idol this year. Becky brings experience to the community as a performer, voice teacher, and an arts administrator. Before bergenPAC, Becky held the position of Director of Arts Education at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, where she oversaw after-school and summer programs in music, dance, and theater for students ages 10-18. She previously worked with Carnegie Hall’s education arm, the Weill Music Institute, managing community programs and artist training programs, including The Achievement Program, a national initiative launched to establish assessments for students studying music privately. She also managed projects within the Musical Connections program, which brings music to those living in challenging circumstances, including homeless shelters, hospitals and correctional facilities. Becky also worked with The Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Becky has held teaching positions at Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory of Music and at The Performing Arts Center of Metrowest, in the greater Boston area, where she was Voice Department Chair. She has been teaching voice privately for over 14 years and was recently a board member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing – NYC Chapter. As a singer, she has performed with such acclaimed festivals as Central City Opera in Colorado, and at numerous festivals in Italy and Salzburg, Austria. Becky earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Ohio Wesleyan University where she also double majored in German Studies. She earned her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.