Recent Kean Alumna Wins National Music Talent Search Contest
Amanda Almeida always had two passions – medicine and music – and now she’s poised to excel in both.
The Kean alumna completed her bachelor’s degree in biology last month, shortly before finding out that she is also the grand prize winner of Sprint’s #LiveUnlimited The Dreams Academy music contest, a national music talent search competition.
The Roselle native received $10,000, a mentoring session with singer/songwriter Prince Royce, and a writing and recording session with music producers Jean Rodriguez and Danny Flores from COASTCITY.
“I always wanted to pursue pediatrics and oncology,” Almeida said. “At Kean, I received a lot of insight into medicine and opportunities in biology and research. At the same time, I have been creating music basically my entire life. I love both music and medicine, but for now, I will pursue music because that is the opportunity I have just been given.”
The #LiveUnlimited Dreams Academy supports aspiring artists and innovators in reaching their professional goals. Almeida entered the contest with a video showcasing her talents and was one of the 10 finalists after online voting. Prince Royce and Sprint together then chose the grand prize winner and two runners-up.
"The caliber of talent from the aspiring artists was so impressive," said Alberto Lorente, vice president of multicultural marketing at Sprint. “We can't wait to see what the future holds for this amazing program as we meet and help exceptional community members pursue their dreams."
Almeida, who was born in Brazil, began to sing at the age of five, played piano at seven, and taught herself to play guitar at 19. She finds joy in sharing her musical talents at two churches each week.
“God gave me every capability and skill I have. He is mentioned, somewhat, in every song I write,” she said.
After being announced as the first-place winner in The Dreams Academy contest, Almeida spent a whirlwind day in Florida, getting words of advice from Prince Royce and then writing a song with COASTCITY’s Rodriguez and Flores.
“It was phenomenal,” she said. “Together, we came up with the chord progressions and the song. They worked on the arrangement and I wrote the lyrics. I am still dumbfounded over how humble they were, despite their musical talents. I feel the same way with Prince Royce – they are all so humble. It reminds me that before they are artists, they are people.”
While at Kean, Almeida participated in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program designed to increase the number of minority students in traditionally underrepresented STEM fields, and presented her research six times at four different universities. She won a research award from Phi Kappa Phi, tutored math, and was a General Education Mentor. Almeida is also a member of the TriBeta Biology Honor Society and served on the executive board of Kean’s Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Association.
While proud of those accomplishments, Almeida is excited to see what comes next in her music career. Together with Prince Royce, she made one decision already. Her stage name will be Amanda Mei.
Click here to watch the video that gave Amanda Almeida her big break and follow @SprintLatino to see videos of Amanda’s mentorship day.
Photo courtesy of M8 Agency.