Watch video of Lilly performing
By Amy Woods
She sang her heart out in front of Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern, wailing about how “Tuesday’s just as bad” in Call It Stormy Monday.
When she awoke on a recent Thursday, she learned her journey had ended on America’s Got Talent.
“Being there was just so incredible, and I’m just so happy I got to do it,” Lily Forte said. “I was just so grateful that I got so far in the competition. I got a standing ovation from 3,500 people.”
The Unity School eighth-grader made it to the popular television show’s Judgment Week as one of 75 teens culled from an initial audition of 75,000. Although her performance of the T-Bone Walker hit did not air on the July 15 episode, she said she received three yeses — from former supermodel Klum, actor and comedian Mandel and radio legend Stern — and one no — from Spice Girl Mel B.
“It was so cool getting up there because you went up, and there’s all these other contestants, and you feel like an actual, famous star,” Lily said. “It was an awesome experience. It was amazing.”
The multitalented musician had to stay mute about the previously recorded results for nearly two months.
“I’ve had to keep quiet about it,” Lily said. “I would just say, ‘Stay tuned, stay tuned.’ ”
She said she didn’t shed a tear and already has booked her next gig.
“I’m going to be in the Battle of the Bands for Teen Vogue and Rock Religion in Miami,” Lily said. “They found my music on ReverbNation, and they called my mom.”
One of 12 performers selected for the Aug. 2 show, Lily will sing Rock and Roll by Led Zeppelin — her favorite band — and an original tune titled Too Bad.
“I wrote the music and the lyrics and everything,” she said of her first song. “It’s kind of mellow, but it has a really great melody to it.”
Not only does Lily play saxophone in the regular school band and drums in the jazz band, she also serves as lead singer of the School of Rock house band.
She has been singing since age 8.
“I grew up watching the Disney Channel,” Lily said. “I would always sing along to those songs. I’d sing along to the radio. Then, I started listening to more songs that were not on the radio.”
She came across a recording she liked, and while it belied her years, she sang John Lennon’s Imagine in the school talent show. It brought down the house.
Mother Heidi Forte couldn’t be prouder of the opportunities Lily has been afforded.
“With Lily, it’s like if she’s performing, and someone sees her, there’s something else that always comes out of it,” Forte said. “She is just a unique, different type of singer for her age. A lot of 13-year-olds don’t have that style, that bluesy, jazzy rock that she does.”
Forte said she has no idea where her daughter got those chops.
“Not from us,” Forte said of herself and husband, Craig. “Her father and I both love music, but neither one of us sings or plays an instrument. She just has a passion for it and a passion to learn.”