Denae McDougle won first place at the annual WAC talent show last Wednesday night through instructing the crowd how to become pop stars while using only three chords.
“I’m gonna show everyone how to be pop stars tonight,” McDougle said at the beginning of her act. She proceeded to sing a mashup of 25 popular songs while strumming only three chords on her guitar. According to her, only three chords are actually needed to write a popular hit. McDougle successfully engaged the audience with her performance as many audience members were seen clapping their hands to the beat, or singing along to songs.
The sophomore at Western began teaching herself how to play guitar in sixth grade, and has since then expanded her talent. Her self-taught capabilities earned her $200 for the first place cash prize, which will help pay for school expenses next semester. Her audience engagement of educating everyone about what it takes to become a star stood out among other singers that night.
“I figured a lot of people will be singing, so I wanted to do something different,” McDougle said.
McDougle wasn’t the only winner that night. International student, Mariatul Dianah Hidzir, won second place for hitting a few stellar high notes in a cover of “Rise Up” by Andra Day.
“This song has a deep message,” Hidzir said. “It’s about sharing the love regardless of race or beliefs.”
Hidzir displayed uniqueness as well. Rather than walking onto the stage from behind a curtain, Hidzir made an entrance from the back of the room for her performance. Her voice filled the auditorium before the audience was able to see her, causing the audience and judges to look around the room for a face to match the voice.
An a capella performance by Nah’ryan Reed-Crawford earned a third place spot among the contestants that night as well. Her voice was powerful and full of emotion as she sang without any musical accompany. Her choice of singing acapella stood out to the judges as well. Over all, the three winners displayed their own personality through use of song.
Although there were only three winners that night, all of the Griffons who performed dazzled the stage with their own personal talents. A few contestants overcame delicate struggles in order to perform in front of an audience.
Dante Owens, a freshman at Western, performed an original rap entitled “My Time” dedicated to his twin brother who is currently suffering from HIV.
“It is about me becoming a man and taking care of my brother,” Owens said regarding the meaning behind his lyrics. Owens also explained how he and his brother grew up without any guidance from their parents, so going to school and writing music is his way of sharing his personal struggles and accomplishments.
The only Western student who did not sing that night was Tatum Thomason, who performed a tap dancing routine to “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk The Moon.
“I have been tap dancing since I was two, so for 17 years,” Thomason said.