As Syesha Mercado warms up her voice with her mother, it's clear that the gifted voice runs in the family.
"Her mom is a great singer, excellent singer," said Syesha's childhood friend Etienne Porter.
Zelda Mercado said her daughter has had a bright future since American Idol.
"She's a go-getter and that's what I like about Syesha. She wants something, she goes after it."
Syesha is currently on Broadway in Chicago performing in Book of Mormon. Next month, she will release her first single entitled, "You Don't Even Know Me."
The lyrics are, "Boy how could you say, you love me, when you don't, you don't, you don't even know me."
She explained, "Like you love them and you're in love and you're like hmmm, wait, do you even know what my favorite ice cream is? Do you know what I'm allergic to?"
Fittingly, Most of America doesn't really know Syesha, despite her life on Season 7 of American Idol. She's a dancer, artist, actress and entrepreneur. Her recent projects include a role in the film "Dreams," a musical web series called "Hit It", (which she's filming with former Idol Toderick Hall) and her own brand and artwork, which is being featured on keyboard covers for a company called "Xskn".
"It's kinda cool, it's kinda fancy," Syesha said with a smile.
She said there's no way she could be where she is today without her Idol debut.
"I'm really grateful for American Idol. It taught me so much about myself as an artist," she said.
Since the show, she moved to L.A. and then to Chicago.
"This is a really tough industry and it's very cutthroat, and I think family is what keeps you grounded."
Being away from her family is a challenge she expressed in her emotional YouTube performance of Adele's "Someone Like You." It was a tribute to her nieces, nephews and sister.
"She had moved to Philly and I just hadn't seen her in a long time and I was actually thinking about her, and I was like looking at her picture on the wall, so it wasn't even about a man, it was about my family, I'm really close to them."
This holiday season, Syesha made sure to come back home to her family in Sarasota. While in the recording studio, her friend Etienne explained why Syesha stands out from other artists.
"How she knows what she wants to happen on stage and with the music and not all of a sudden just taking direction but knowing how to say hey this is the way I like it."
Perhaps that confidence comes from knowing that what she hoped for on that big bright stage is finally happening.
"I am living my dream right now because I'm home with my family and I'm working in a studio still, so like I'm doing everything that I want to do," she said, "and I know it's only gonna go up from here."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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