University of Delaware junior Erin Bellucci stunned Michael Bublé concertgoers in February at Madison Square Garden when she performed Etta James’ “At Last.” Find out why the Connecticut native is passionate about music and what went through her head when she was singing in front of the superstar.
I had always enjoyed jazz music. My dad in the car when I was younger would always play classics, all the legends and even Etta James. I was watching one of those seeking talent shows, like “America’s Got Talent,” when I was 12 years old, and a woman came on and sang, “At Last.” I really liked that song and looked it up with all the lyrics. And when I was singing it, I was like ‘Hey Dad, I really like this song!’ He was excited because at 12 years old, there’s the Disney Channel and all those things that are really popular. He was excited because that’s the music that he really enjoys. So he was especially encouraging with that. In middle school, I had a lot of public heartbreak with not getting parts I wanted and not getting solos I wanted. When high school came, I was not really sure if singing was for me, even though I really loved it. My choir teacher Lorraine Cetto pushed me further and said, “You can do this; you are capable.” It was Haig Shahverdian, (the director of Pops ‘n Jazz) who took a chance on me as a sophomore and let me be in the show with the upperclassmen.
It was just shock and just trying my best to just perform. I think right before it happened, once the music started, I think I was like, ‘It’s go time.’ That was the only coherent thought that I had throughout that experience.
It was less stage fright and more when he came over to talk to me I was star struck. At one point he had me peek out into the audience and I could just see faint cell phone lights and then I was like, “We’re not going to look there.” So I think that was helpful. That song has been my song for so long. I don’t know if there’s anything I’m more confident doing in the world than singing that song.
Bellucci says she was starstruck by Bublé.//Photo courtesy of Erin Bellucci â€‹
I distinctly remember walking to school listening to Michael Bublé’s first big album and loving it. I loved the way that his voice came across and he sings with such talent and such great technique. I didn’t know how great of a guy he was until I was at the show and he was talking to everyone just so genuinely in such a big space. He talked about how much gratitude he had for everyone coming out to the show and how humble he was for everyone to come out to his show. It was really special.
It was the first Michael Bublé concert I’ve ever been to. It was my second time in the Garden. My boyfriend had taken me to a Rangers game about a month before and being in there was electric. It was really the first time I knew just how sacred that space is for performers and athletes.
My sister does professional public relations in New York City and one of her jobs was for a restaurant that wanted to start doing a little bit of live music here and there. I was invited to sing and I came with my guitar. It was really my first professional gig. There were only about 20 set people in the place, but they were great and having fun. At the end of my set, this woman comes up to me and says, ”Hey, here’s my card. This is really fun. You should come see us when we’re back in the city. My email is on there. Email me a week before our New York City show and I’ll make sure you have tickets to the (Michael Bublé) show.” It ended up being Michael Bublé’s executive stylist. That was crazy. We emailed her a week before the show saying, “Hey is it okay if we still come? We appreciate it.” She said, “Yup, tickets will be in the box office. Enjoy the show.” Once we got (to the Garden), we found out we had incredible tickets—right next to the catwalk on the floor. Something I never could afford in a million years. It was just a special thing on its own. Just going to the concert was this huge twist of incredible fate and getting to sing was another huge twist of incredible fate.
There are two avenues after graduation. Recording my own music would be a huge goal, or to become a music teacher. I love teaching music. I teach a songwriting class at a camp.