Ten-year-old Emanne Beasha of North Port won thousands of hearts a month ago during her on-air audition for Season 14 of America’s Got Talent. Singing “Nessun dorma,” one of opera’s most famous tenor arias, she appeared serene as her enormous voice poured out of her and beckoned tears and a standing ovation from the audience.
The America’s Got Talent judges unanimously voted “yes” for Beasha to continue to the next round. “I was born without stage fright,” Beasha told us in an interview at her home. “I like that feeling of making people happy and making people cry.”
Simon Cowell, whose reputation precedes him for his harsh comments as a judge on American Idol, surprised some with his warm praise, but not Beasha. “Simon’s not harsh; he’s not mean for no reason. He has to be straightforward to keep the show interesting,” she says. “I’ve got Simon’s back.”
Family life hasn’t changed much since Beasha, a middle child with two brothers, captured national attention. “She gets recognized here and there,” says her mother, Megan. “The best part of the whole [America’s Got Talent] experience is that this audition brought so much joy. People are touched to have a connection to her."
Beasha’s musical tastes are diverse. She shocked interviewers with her honesty at iHeartRadio, a radio network known for its ties to Taylor Swift, when she admitted she wasn’t a Taylor Swift fan. Beasha would rather listen to K-pop, the modern pop music in South Korea that has fostered an entire “idol” subculture of hyper-famous boy bands and girl bands with intense stage presence and strenuously choreographed routines.
True to her operatic roots, Beasha’s singing inspirations are Luciano Pavarotti, the famed Italian operatic tenor, and Maria Callas, the American-born Greek soprano. “It’s the way they sing and their attitudes,” says Beasha. “And how elegant [Callas] is on stage. I mean, she invented the word 'diva.' She just inspired respect and she’s a queen.” Beasha emphasizes the importance of not just having a beautiful voice, but having a beautiful presence, and putting heart into the music. After a performance, Beasha likes to take a moment to process her emotions from losing herself in the story and the delivery of the song.
Beasha takes weekly singing lessons, where she learns techniques like using her diaphragm to reach hard-to-get notes, as well as safety precautions to avoid straining her vocal chords. “When she was a newborn, I said that was the loudest baby I ever heard. I actually said she could be an opera singer,” says Diane Ruffel, her grandmother. Beasha quickly chimes in: “You think when I was crying I was using my diaphragm?”
Beasha also takes hip-hop dance lessons. When asked if she’d consider mixing it with her operatic singing, she laughs and breaks into a fast-paced dance routine, accompanied by a few lingering, elegantly earth-shattering opera verses.
In the future, Beasha hopes to perform what she calls "popra," a blend of pop and opera musical influences. She and her mom like to come up with ways to either add operatic features to pop songs, or pop influences to opera songs. An example would be Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow,” during which Gaga showcases her huge vocal range in a powerful wordless segment of the song, known as a vocal run.
Beasha cools down from her busy schedule with plenty of alone time and space to be herself. Horseback riding is one of her all-time favorite activities, and she loves shopping, playing the guitar, cooking homemade treats and inventing new makeup looks—which her mother promptly makes her remove before she leaves the house. Beasha calls herself a “retired ice cream taster,” since her dad runs an ice cream factory.
On America’s Got Talent, Simon Cowell implied that magic ice cream might have given Beasha her singing superpower. Beasha hopes that one day her singing success will allow her to build an animal sanctuary, and she wants to make friends with the artists she looks up to the most, especially the members of K-pop band BTS. “I would like to be known as the girl who loves animals and Korean culture,” she says.