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Brooklyn Prodigy Tiffany Obi, 15, Makes the Semis at Apollo Theater

October 2011

An East Flatbush teen with a mature singing voice is belting out inspirational hits in hopes of taking the top spot at one of the Apollo Theater’s amateur competitions.

Tiffany Obi, 15, is gearing up to sing in the semifinals of the “Children’s Stars of Tomorrow” competition in October and battle 40 other child stars for the talent show’s top spot.

Tiffany, who has sung in Gospel choirs and other talent competitions, said she could hardly contain herself when she was announced the winner in the quarterfinal round.

“I felt like jumping up and down, kicking off my shoes and screaming,” she said. “I feel very accomplished – not a lot of kids my age get to do that.”

Tiffany made it this far in last year’s competition singing Gospel music, but couldn’t get over the hump to win the $10,000 grand prize. This time around, she’s got a new strategy – singing Whitney Houston’s chart-topper, “One Moment in Time.”

“Last time I sang Gospel. This time it’s inspirational,” Tiffany said. “I want to touch the audience in a different way.”

Tiffany has been putting her musical chops on display since she was 5 years old. She performed at the 2008 and 2009 McDonald’s Gospelfest Celebration as well as in the Martin Luther King Concert Series. Obi also won the second-annual New York Gospel Talent show competition in 2008 and sings soprano in the women’s choir at Edward R. Murrow High School.

Tiffany’s father, Emmanuel Obi, a pastor at the Kings Court Ministries Church in East Flatbush, still gets goosebumps remembering the moment she won in the quarterfinals earlier this month.

“She got a standing ovation and the place was packed,” he said. “We were all exuberant and very proud.”

Apollo Theater President and CEO Jonelle Procope said it’s not easy to make it this far.

“As America’s longest-running amateur talent competition, we attract a wide variety of acts and of course, as one would expect, a range of talent,” said Procope. “There’s nothing like performing in front of a live audience and if you can win over the Apollo crowd like Tiffany did, you clearly have what it takes.”

Obi said she wants to be a doctor when she grows up, but doesn’t rule out singing. For now, she said she hopes she can be a role model for other young adults who want to follow their talents.

“I might achieve something a lot of youths haven’t achieved,” said Obi. “I’d be an inspiration.”


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