Not since hearing Whitney Houston sing her Greatest Love of All chart-topping hit did I believe anyone could ever match her roof-raising voice. That is, until Angelica Salem. If you don’t know her name, you will.
This past Sunday on New Year’s Eve, Angelica sang the Star-Spangled Banner to a cheering crowd of over 80,000 fans. If you watched the New York Giants play the Washington Redskins in their last NFL regular season game, you probably noticed two things: Angelica was the good luck charm the Giants needed to break their losing streak, and this young woman was born to sing!
The sweet sound of Angelica’s powerful voice feels as heaven-sent as her name.
In the first few moments of her performance, you realize Angelica has a gift that shines as fiercely as the history of the song she is singing. But her voice resonates even more when you consider the journey she’s taken to build her “giant” dream against a backdrop of immeasurable challenges.
What’s more, Angelica’s cadre of supporters inspiring her to forge ahead with her healing gift mirrors the very history of our collective American Dream.
Let’s step back for a second to consider one thing at the onset – the notoriously challenging American anthem. It has two octaves of notes and rich lyrics that have tripped up even the most seasoned singers. In the same way, the history of the Star-Spangled Banner is certainly filled with its own set of “missteps”.
When we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the anthem in 2014, we recognized a flag and a country born out of war. United States soldiers raising a flag at Fort McHenry to celebrate a crucial victory over the British forces were fighting for the respect and love of a country whose freedoms and rights were still as problematic as they are today.
Angelica’s voice is its own call to arms – enticing us to embrace the unwavering bravery of Americans past and present.
Her personal setbacks are different from others but rooted in the same challenges faced by so many Americans, from the devastating victims of Hurricane Maria to the raging fires across California. Angelica’s pitch is one of stalwart perseverance despite the loss of her father four years ago and the sudden death of her brother in a tragic car accident in 2017. And still, she sings.
In the few minutes it takes for the stadium to become quiet and her voice to ring out, America comes alive. Singing is all Angelica has ever wanted to do from the time she could walk: “Being on stage means everything. I’m going to keep on singing until I make it to Broadway.” And this Stamford, Connecticut native will because she has come so far and she’s willing to share her gift every chance she gets. Whether she’s donating her time and her energies to sing at local sporting and charitable events, no singing opportunity is too small.
And the big arenas are calling – singing at professional boxing events, the National Basketball Association (Chicago Bulls games) and the National Football League (New York Giants games).
Angelica is already booked for an upcoming New York Islanders game in a few weeks and hopes to be invited to sing for Major League Baseball before landing a role in a major Broadway production.
As a young twenty-four-year-old, Angelica is the voice of hope for our nation.
Each time she sings the anthem, she reminds us that we can overcome adversity if we do it together. Angelica’s mother Mary is her rock, as well as a small circle of family and friends. Grateful for every day and the opportunity to do what she loves, Angelica also hopes to one day empower other young people to pursue their dreams.
For now, Angelica will continue to take voice, acting, and dancing lessons, going full steam ahead in 2018. Auditioning for roles on Broadway and supporting one of her close friends who is battling cancer provides a daily reminder not to take life for granted.
“I am lucky to be surrounded by people that I love who have no time for complaining.”
This optimism fuels a higher calling to do something special with her life and is just the kind of reboot we all need to embrace in the year ahead. Let’s dream about the opportunities that manifest themselves when obstacles arise and believe that Angelica’s star-spangled banner waves over our home. Let’s stand together and cheer Angelica Salem who’s headed for bright lights.