Gabriel Ramirez, an 18-year-old from Glen Rose, auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” in San Antonio on Friday, Jan. 11.
Ramirez is a freshman in college at the University of North Texas. He is currently majoring in theater but he is about to change his major to music, which seems fitting considering music is the talent that he used to audition with.
He sang “Creep” by Radiohead but decided to do his own little “piano inspired rendition” that he and his friends came up with.
Ramirez has been singing secretly since second grade but he didn’t start singing out loud until his sophomore year in high school.
“I remember when I would watch people sing and my face lit up and it would always be, ‘Oh, I could never be there’ and now I'm going to be there, and so it’s like, I want to show people that no matter how rough life can really get sometimes, you can do anything that you really wish to do. Seeing people’s faces light up with that hope is awesome,” he said.
To prepare for the audition, Ramirez would sit down at the piano with his best friend and they would practice together.
“Just singing with somebody that I'm comfortable around and trying my very hardest that way, when I go in front of people to sing, I can think, ‘This is for my family. This is for my friend. This is for Jordan,’ so definitely, singing around my best friend, it really helped,” he said.
So what was the audition like?
The audition started with Ramirez in a holding room with about 150 to 200 people.
“They call and asked, ‘Who needs a piano or a dance floor?’ and I think about six of us out of 150 raised their hands. I was like, ‘Okay, this is going to be fun,” he said.
Once he and five others were outside of the room where the auditions were taking place, Ramirez thought they would go in the room one by one, but that wasn’t the case.
“They’re like, ‘We’ll call you when we’re ready.’ We’re assuming, they’ll call [us] in by name. No. They called us all in there at once, like you’re going to be watching each other perform,” he said.
“All of the other acts performed except for one and I’m the second to last one, so I get up there and I start playing the piano and I start singing. I thought I was doing terrible,” he said. “I was so scared because my voice was so shaky, but then I look and the judge himself is smiling at me, so I was like ‘Okay, that’s a little bit better.’ So then I really get into it, and I noticed that I hit one note and it kind of shocked him and I was just like, ‘Is that a good thing or a bad thing?’”
It turned out to be a good thing because once Ramirez finished the song, he said, “Thank you. I’m sorry. Thank you,” to the judge and the judge responded with, “No, that was absolutely phenomenal. I hope I’ll see you in the next round.”
“I was shocked that I could do it and not freak out because I’m pretty sure I peed a little,” Ramirez said with a laugh. “But that was just because I was so scared. I think the biggest thing that really caught my attention was the fact that the judge looked at me and said, ‘That was phenomenal. I hope to see you again.’”
Ramirez said his favorite thing about the entire experience was how friendly everyone was.
“All of the people there were so sweet. We were all rooting for each other,” he said. “That was the best part was that everybody had each other’s backs, no matter what their talent was, how old or how young, or what gender, any kind of orientation or race, everybody was there and we supported one another. This was a huge supportive group and they’re all performing against me, but it’s like we were all performing with each other rather than against.”
When asked why he chose now to audition he said, “It was more of one of those, ‘I'm not in Glen Rose anymore, I’m at college.’ And it really broadened my horizons being at college and realizing you miss 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take, and it was just ‘why not?’ The worst that they’re going to do is say, ‘I’m sorry, but you did not make it’ and [I’ve been] definitely thinking I can do this, so why not do it?”
He also encourages everyone to take a risk, especially if it’s something they really want to do.
“If anybody is ever scared to do anything, they should just go for it, because you think it’s scary and you feel like there’s this huge pressure on your shoulders, but honestly it gets a lot less scary once you’re actually doing it. It turns into something fun, especially if it’s something that you love, and I think that’s one of the biggest things that anybody could ever realize. It’s a big step in your life and there may never be another opportunity to do this. You may never ever get another chance to show the world what you got,” he said.
Ramirez said he will find out in early to mid-February if he’s going to the next round.