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When Radharani Martinez wrote in her Marist yearbook, “One day I’ll be on The Voice,” it was more than wishful thinking. Winner of the “Most Likely to Be Famous” superlative and having starred in numerous Marist performances, the Jersey City native had the chops to back up her claim. After graduating in 2016, her dream was soon realized this year, when she passed her audition for NBC’s singing competition, The Voice.
“Seeing myself on TV for the first time was crazy,” Radharani, known as RADHA, recalled. “I had so many people from around the world reaching out. People believe in me, and my voice, and think it can take me all the way.”
RADHA’s audition, now with over 5 million views on Youtube, thrust her into the spotlight. Her song choice, “Mama Knows Best” by Jessie J, takes a powerhouse vocalist and a lot of courage to perform. Thankfully, RADHA had a few years of practice, performing it as a student at Marist. The song allowed her to showcase her range and was an homage to her mom, who taught her how to sing.
The afternoon before her audition aired, she made it a point to stop by Marist High School.
“It felt right to come back to one of my biggest support systems. Marist pushed me to challenge myself and gave me confidence,” RADHA said of the school. Her performances at pep rallies were some of her first experiences with large audiences, and she used that time to experiment with her range. “I sang ‘And I’m Telling You’ by Jennifer Hudson at Marist, testing the waters, and everyone loved it. I needed that moment to sing as big as I do now.”
RADHA has since moved on through the show and into the highly competitive “live shows” airing November 12th. The competition has reinforced her mindsight of giving her best possible performance every time she’s on stage.
“The Voice has given me a glimpse of the real world of the music industry and the opportunity to learn.” RADHA explained. “With management, staging, consistency with practicing, interviews, working with different artists…it’s up to you to give it your all. Always perform like it’s your last time.”
To Marist students aspiring for a singing career, she hopes she can be a role model. She says if this is the life you want, you have to consistently practice, and you must make sacrifices. Before her time on The Voice, she was a full-time college student juggling two jobs and managing her online presence.
“Be true to yourself and market that. People will be attracted to what you have to offer,” RADHA said.
In this age of technology and social media, promoting yourself is key. She says to start practicing promoting as soon as you can and keep your supporters close. The support of her former classmates and from current students pushes her forward. While the journey has been a whirlwind, she leans on these supporters to keep her grounded.
“I think about going on retreats at Marist, sitting by the campfire, talking about my big dreams. It’s a humbling moment for me,” she remembered. “Marist cares about more than education, it focuses on personal growth. Family defines Marist and I grew up there. Marist’s values have held me down.”
RADHA hopes the audience recognizes the hard work she’s put into her current success. She promises to continue putting her all into the completion and her career.
“Keep an eye out for me—I’m going to deliver amazing performances,” RADHA said. “It’s not easy stepping into the spotlight, sometimes people need to see a local from Jersey City, from Marist, to find their own confidence. I want to make you all proud!”
Source: Jersey Journal Editorial
Thanks to Jersey City and its arts council, a young poet’s voice now has a broader reach.
Last month, Rashad Wright, 24, was named the city’s first poet laureate in more than a decade. He brings an already impressive body of work to the two-year position, which is still in the formative stage.
A recent graduate of New Jersey City University and a member of the National Guard, Wright told radio station 101.5 that he started writing poetry as a student at Marist High School in Bayonne.
His verses are intricately designed with twists and turns, challenges and surprises. And his slam performances of his works are riveting.
In “Ode to Basketball,’’ he describes the game as an “urban symphony of body language’’ and “eloquent soliloquies with a ball and a net.’’
In societal commentary “Monsters,’’ he writes: “What is being black if not being like a monster movie waiting to happen? A movie to never have a sequel. A scene to be cut out of a script. I can be typecast into playing a hashtag at any moment.”
In prose piece “Between Lines,’’ about his identities as a Guardsman, civilian and poet, he tells us: “As a poet, it feels like the souls of black folks fire through my lips.’’
Poetry isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, which is why encouraging and celebrating performance art like Wright’s – works that pull you in and make you listen – is so important.
Wright will receive a $3,000-a-year stipend during his term, which some have questioned. We see it as a fitting token of respect and appreciation and certainly not something to quibble with in a more than half-billion-dollar budget.
Wright has said his mission is to improve lives through the power of the spoken and written word.
“At the end of his term, Rashad will be a better poet, and Jersey City will be a better place,’’ Edvige Giunta, one of Wright’s former professors at NJCU, told The Jersey Journal.
We look forward to seeing how Wright molds this opportunity.
With over 20 years in the acting industry, Alison Jones ˈ03 credits the start of her amazing career to Marist High School. An active member of the Marist family, Alison participated in basketball, track and field, choir, dance, and was the Vice President of the Student Council during her time here. On top of it all, she took her very first acting class and starred in her first role at Marist! She took the experiences from her Marist acting classes to William Paterson University, where she graduated with a major in Theater. Alison has starred in numerous TV, Film, and Theater roles and now teaches these skills at her own production company, Uplifted Talent and Productions. Her current project, Ollie, is a production written and produced by Alison herself, based on the true experiences and life of her Uncle right before the Civil Rights Movement. Congratulations on this achievement and “break a leg”! #RoyalKnightSpotlight #MaristHS #RoyalKnight
As a social media influencer, Akash Joseph '13 has been expanding his Instagram and brand @PCgaming for years. The venture started while Akash was attending Marist, using the Instagram as a place to connect with other PC gaming fans. Now with over 500,000 followers and counting, he’s created a career for himself, attracting attention from tech fans, advertisers, and the local news. Akash has set his sights on expanding further, aiming for a one-stop-shop website for all things PC gaming. We’re excited to see how his online presence continues to grow! #RoyalKnightSpotlight #MaristHS #RoyalKnight
You can read Akash’s feature in the Hudson Reporter here: https://www.marist.org/about/news
NYC based actor and director Jayson Wesley ˈ07, got some advice during his time at Marist High School from Br. Bob Warren: “Go to college and study drama”. Although Br. Bob saw his potential, Jayson was apprehensive about his career, and studied marketing at Saint Peter's University instead. However, after graduating and landing jobs in the sales world, Jayson found success but not passion in his line of work. Taking a leap of faith, he immersed himself in the art scene around him, devoting his time to acting and directing. Now a full-time actor, Jayson has paved a way for himself, starring in numerous film, commercial, and TV roles. You may recognize him from Emmy Award winning 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel', NBC's 'The Blacklist', CBS's 'FBI', CBS's 'Madame Secretary, Netflix's 'Iron Fist', and the Nectar Sleep commercial 'Make America Sleep Again,' which is nominated for a Webby Award. Congratulations on your nomination, we'll be sure to put in our votes! You can find Jayson on Instagram, @iamjayson_wesley.