Nonprofit Trains Young Singers in Philadelphia and Beyond


credit: toddbfreese

"You guys should really audition for this ArtSmart program," Philadelphia teen Journae Barnes tells NPR.

"And I actually just took the chance and followed through with it."

Barnes, from a musical family, grew up singing in church but didn't have formal training, so she submitted a video to the nonprofit ArtSmart program, which offers one-on-one, tuition-free music lessons to young people in cities across the country.

"I could see the passion coming through your face, and I remember being in love with it because it was so authentic," says ArtSmart mentor Lucas DeJesus.

Barnes, now a freshman at a Philadelphia high school, says she hopes to go to Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Like Barnes, 16-year-old Neveah Fires also auditioned for the program.

She's a huge fan of Disney musicals, and she sang "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid in her first audition.

She's worked with ArtSmart mentor Andrew Monath since last year.

"I feel like I had to build a relationship with Mr. Monath," she says.

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