Felicia Punzo
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"Staying In Sync"

Staying In Sync


A finalist in a nationwide singing competition, Felicia Punzo is keeping more than her voice in tune.

By Fred Durso Jr.


April 24, 2008



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Felicia Punzo
In a Hollywood studio, a trio of celebrity judges critiques Felicia Punzo though she’s 3,000 miles away. In front of TV cameras, the panel — former pop idol Deborah Gibson, actor Joey Lawrence and writer/director/producer Andrew Van Slee — turns its attention to Punzo’s homemade video. On screen, the pint-sized songstress nearly defies her stature by belting out Avril Lavigne’s powerful “When You’re Gone.” Microphone in hand, Punzo hits the many high notes with ease, her passion for performing evident not only in her voice, but her movements.

The judges are ready to rule.

Expecting the worst, Punzo listens to the unanimous praise through her computer monitor. “She has a great range,” “good pitch” and “she’ll be making a record soon” were some of the compliments doled out by the three.

“They said that about me?” the 14-year-old asked herself, adding, “I didn’t know what they were going to say.”

Punzo is now a finalist in the “American Idol”-esque show “Total Pop Star,” which airs on the TV Guide Channel and www.totalpopstar.com. Since her uploaded videos have garnered more than 1,000 votes, she’s hit finalist status and is in the running to realize a lifelong dream — a record contract.

“I really hope to be signed by the time I’m 16,” Punzo, of the 3400 block of Kramer Court, said.

Stardom aside, her familial support system and grounded mentality is keeping her from being lured to the industry’s dark side, evident by the downfall of some of today’s pop icons. “She has a good head on her shoulders,” dad Frank said. “She’s very smart. And she knows right from wrong.”


Entertaining the masses is a necessity for any pop princess; luckily, Punzo already has experience. At 11, she belted out the national anthem during a Philadelphia Kixx game to a crowd of more than 15,000. And, like the divas she idolizes, including Christina Aguilera and Beyoncé, she has no problem sharing her talents with large crowds.

“It felt so good when people started clapping,” the Neumann-Goretti freshman said. “It’s like I have a power over everyone. I like to make people happy when I sing. Whenever I sing, nobody seems really mad.”

Being in the limelight is no surprise to her family, since her dad and two brothers — Frankie, 25, and Philip, 21 — are all DJs and it’s through them her love of pop, dance and R&B music grew. While they’re spinning the beats, Punzo is singing the songs, which she’s been doing since age 4.

Initially told she was too young to perform in plays with the local Neumann Players, Punzo would get up on stage and sing in defiance. Her voice wooed the powers that be so much she was made a cast member. She’s since performed in “The Wizard of Oz,” “42nd Street,” “The Sound of Music” and “Annie” (Punzo is the lead in this year’s Neumann-Goretti production).

Yet the teen knows there’s always room for improvement and, since last year, has trained with a voice coach. Though declining a “developmental contract” with Philadelphia International Records, Punzo is putting in ample studio time to complete a demo CD. She’s working with producer Mike Forte on two dance tracks.

The singer — nicknamed “Felicia Keys” after famous songstress Alicia Keys — has even used music to find solace in tragedy. Upon the 2006 death of her friend, 18-year-old Domenic Pinto, she penned her first song, “Angel.”

“I wrote a poem first and with that poem, I turned it into a song,” Punzo said. “He always used to be part of my music. Because I was so close to him, I would sing in front of him and my brothers.”

Flexing these creative chops is one way of staying competitive in the ever-evolving music industry. And she’s hoping “Total Pop Star” will give her a shot at stardom while putting another South Philly celebrity on the map since she’s the only Philly finalist.

In November, the show asked singers to submit performance videos to its site. Receiving accolades from the three judges or 1,000 votes turns contestants into finalists. Frank initially heard about the competition from a friend and thought the exposure would be a blessing for his daughter.

The finalists (including Punzo) may be evaluated by the judges, with their performances airing on TV. Meanwhile, voters can select which performer they deem worthy to win $150,000 in prizes and a record contract. While numerous votes may help a contestant’s cause, the judges reserve the right to choose any finalist for the last round.

Announced in June, the remaining six finalists will be flown to Hollywood to compete in a reality series. There, they will begin recording sessions while working hand-in-hand with the judges. Final performances will be posted on the Web site, at which time America will vote for its favorite performer at the end of June.

So, does Punzo feel she has what it takes to go all the way? She’s been practicing every day and, at the advice of her voice coach, has given up soda (apparently the drink dehydrates the vocal cords).

“Hopefully, I’ll go to Hollywood,” she said. “If I don’t, that’s not going to bring me down. Nothing will bring me down because I love singing.”

If she does make it big, her father and mother, Frieda, are there to keep her in line since they are all too familiar with the dark side of fame. Frieda’s nephew, actor Rodney Harvey, who appeared in the 1991 movie “My Own Private Idaho” with River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves, died of a drug overdose in ’98.

Though using her voice to reach stardom, Punzo plans to become a mainstay by keeping her morals in check. A former member of her grade school’s rosary club and an altar server, Punzo frowns on some of the behavior of today’s popsters.

“I’m not like them at all,” she said. “A lot of people know me as a good person. When people look up to me now, I feel good about myself.”

Punzo’s family feels, as she fine-tunes her voice, the same will happen in other aspects of her life.

“It may take some time [to become famous],” Frank said. “She’s surrounded by a bunch of good people that believe in her.”


To vote for Felicia Punzo, visit www.totalpopstar.com and click “finalists.”


- South Philly Review


"Radio Indy Grindy Award"

"Felicia" by Fleicia Punzo (Electronica Artist from Pennsylvania(PA))
POSTED BY: momof5pacs POSTED ON: 02 Dec 2008 01:49 PM

RadioIndy is pleased to present Felicia Punzo with a GrIndie Award for the CD "Felicia"
“Felicia” is the five-song electro pop debut EP from fifteen year old phenom Felicia Punzo. Prepare to hear about Felicia for years upon years to come, as her smooth and clean vocal performance puts her in the same vein as Miley Cyrus and early Madonna. Suffice to say, she has mainstream written all over her. This EP is filled with great electro and hip-hop beats that, even if dared, you couldn't sit still to. Felicia writes her own lyrics, which is more than you can say about most young pop sensations. She sings about love and lost love, including one particularly heartfelt song, “Angel,” which is about a young friend of hers that passed on. The recording quality is excellent and ready for club play, or to be cranked up at a house dance party. “Do It Anyway You Wanna” has a nice electro beat and a great use of synthesizers, showing Felicia's minimalist side. “Love of a Lifetime” is a more lyrical track ready for radio play that is sure to make you marvel at Felicia's maturity level considering her age. Overall, “Felicia” is an impressive debut from a young new artist sure to consistently make her way to the radio waves. For fans of electro pop and the likes of Miley Cyrus, Felicia Punzo would make a worthy addition.-Chris & the RadioIndy.com Review Team
Check out Felicia Punzo's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites

- Radio Indy


Discography

1. Anything You Want

2. Do It Anyway You Wanna

3. Confidential Love

4. Love Of A Lifetime

5. Angel

6. Sweet To Me 2009

7. Ready for the Weekend 2009

Album Artwork (PDF)

Photos

Bio

Felicia Punzo
Born 6-16-93
5'3 weight 110
Brn Hair Brn Eyes

FELICIA

Felicia Punzo is a 15 year old recording artist from the city of South Philadelphia. She was born on June 16,1993. Felicia has been singing & performing for people since the age of 4. She has performed in 11 plays , was in 3 TV commercials, sung the National Anthem at a Philadelphia KIxx game at age 11, won many talent competitions and is an extra in the 2009 motion picture Standing Ovation.

Felicia has been very busy with her singing career over the past 2 years. In JUly 2008 she released her first EP "Felicia". THe cd included her first song she wrote Angel. Radioindy.com gave the cd rave reviews and awarded Felicia with a Grindy Award for Independent Artist for Best Dance CD 2008.

IN October Felicia went into the studio with Grammy award producer Kam Houff . They dropped two smash singles "Sweet to Me and "Ready for the Weekend to be released January 2009. These 2 singles are ready radio and should take her to the next level. She is represented by Attorney Simon Rosen who is actively shopping her for a record deal.

Felicia is very serious and focused about her singing career. Being a pop star is something she dreamed about since she was a little girl. A dream she will pursue until it comes true.

Theatre

King and I
Sound of Music
42nd Street
Flower Drum Song
Annie (Annie 2008)
Guys and Dolls
Hello Dolly
Wizard of Oz (Dorthy 2009)

TV Commercials

Value Kia 2002-2005

Screen

Standing Ovation 2009