Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of features about the Morristown's Got Talent Finalists. Check back with Patch as more are posted leading up to the Feb. 26 event.
For Nailah Taylor, getting back to the Morristown's Got Talent finals was a promise kept.
"My sons' wanted me to tryout and I wasn't able to do it last year so I told them that I would the following year," Taylor said.
This year's appearance in the annual fundraiser for the Morris Educational Foundation is almost old hat for Taylor, who performed in the contest in 2009. Taylor will compete for top prize, as well as for the admiration and praise of the regularly-sold out event. Tara Bernie, a Morristown resident who serves as senior producer for NBC’s Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood LIVE, will preside over Feb. 26 contest at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.
Four distinguished arts and entertainment professionals will judge the talent competition and there is a $1,000 cash prize for 1st place, $500.00 for second place and $250.00 for third place.
And what has the songstress chosen for her encore performance?
"I will be singing I'm Here by Fantasia Barrino from the broadway play 'The Color Purple," Taylor said.
Taylor said she chose the song because it" tells my story in a song and I relate to so well."
According to Taylor, she has "had some downfalls and victories in my life and so this song just grabbed me when I first heard it."
Moristown's Got Talent is a big commitment, which Taylor says her family has allowed her to make.
"I have an awesome support system. First and foremost I would like to thank God for blessing me with such a gift and constantly supporting me through it all. Secondly, I would like to thank Rexx for being my vocal coach/pianist because without you this wouldn't be possible. Katriece Davis my niece/Goddaughter for always being there for me when it comes to watching her God sisters so I can rehearse for this event. Sekayi and Na'im, my sons, for constantly having my back and being my biggest fans," Taylor said. "Murjani and Haniyah, my daughters, for always being my audience when you guys aren't with Katriece."
Taylor, a 16-year-employee of the Morris School District, said this year's audition process went smoothly because she was prepared and did what she enjoys.
And performing is only one of her passions.
"When I have any free time I love to read and cook. I am also in school at this time so I keep myself busy with school work," Taylor said. "I enjoy talking and laughing with my children at any given time."
As for her chances? Does Taylor think she has a chance at the top spot?
"Yes," Taylor said. "I have what it takes."
Tickets will go on sale Jan. 27 for the event at the Mayo Peforming Arts Center, 100 South Street, Morristown. Those interested can call 973-539-8008 or purchase online at www.mayoarts.org.
Those interested in sponsoring the event or purchasing an advertisement in the event’s playbill to cheer on the contestants and to benefit the Morris Educational Foundation can download forms at www.morristownsgottalent.com.