Alyssa Raghu is making history on American Idol. She made it all the way to the Top 24 on the show’s 16th season, but was sent home by the judges after they told her her stage presence just wasn’t up to par with others in the competition. Alyssa didn’t let the elimination get her down, though, and instead, used it to push her even harder. She returned for the show’s 17th season and wowed the judges once again with her voice. They noticed her growth, too, and have helped her land a spot in the Top 14 this time around. Now, it’s up to America to decide if Alyssa will continue on. Here’s more to know about the 17-year-old:
1. She’s a songwriter as well as a singer. After years of interest in music, Alyssa began seriously pursuing a career in the industry when she was just 11 years old. She writes her own music and plays guitar, in addition to having a powerful singing voice. After getting eliminated from Idol at 15, she began working with a vocal coach and set her sights on returning to the show. During the time in between her two seasons, Alyssa has also consistently performed at shows throughout the country to work on her stage presence.
2. She’s into acting, too. Aside from singing, Alyssa has also pursued acting and participates in her high school’s musical theater program. She starred in Lake Nona High School’s rendition of In The Heights as the lead female role, Nina Rosario, and even earned an Applause Award for her performance.
3. She’s now home schooled. In order to put her focus completely on music, Alyssa began homeschooling after her first run on Idol.
4. She’s super philanthropic. Alyssa often performs at fundraisers, including those benefiting hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, as well as those aiding children in Guyana, among others. She is also the chair of the Global Citizens Committee for the World Heritage Cultural Center, which “promotes cultural awareness through the arts and food, knowledge and charity.” Along with her music career, Alyssa is also passionate about making a difference in the world, and hopes to use her platform as a singer to do so.
5. She credits her music teachers with helping her find her voice. In a 2018 interview with Central Florida Monthly, Alyssa admitted that her elementary school music teacher is the one who helped spark her interest in music. After that, her middle school choir direction and high school choir directors helped her find her tone and hone in on her skill.