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Q + A with Melinda Doolittle


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Fanfare Cincinnati: Have you performed with a full live orchestra before? If so, what was that experience like? What are you looking forward to about the performance with the Cincinnati Pops?
Melinda Doolittle: I have! I’ve performed with multiple symphonies and it is, by far, one of my favorite ways to sing. I literally feel like I’m flying while I sing. I’m so honored to be singing with the Cincinnati Pops. I’m especially honored to be included in such a fabulous season of my favorite artists! What a joy! I also have quite a bit of family in the city, so this will be a really special weekend for me.

FC: What are the holidays generally like for you? Do you have any special holiday traditions with friends or family?
MD: My holidays normally consist of concerts, egg nog, Hallmark Christmas movies and birthday cake for Jesus. I’m not always home or with family on the holidays because of my travel schedule, but those few things make me feel at home wherever I am.

FC: What are some of your favorite songs for this time of year? Are there any that you never get tired of performing?
MD: I have so many! “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Children Go Where I Send Thee,” “Joy to the World,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Jingle Bells,” to name a few. “The Christmas Song” is my all-time favorite, though. I will never get tired of singing it.

FC: Tell us about your American Idol experience. What were some of the particular joys and challenges of being on the show?
MD: What an experience! It’s so crazy because each moment was normally equal parts joyful and challenging. Meeting the mentors like Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Jennifer Lopez, etc. were amazing opportunities to meet and learn from artists I’ve looked up to for so long. However, I’ve never been more nervous to sing in front of anyone. The same goes for singing in front of millions of viewers. While it was definitely nerve-racking, it was also one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had!

FC: What other projects are on the horizon?
MD: I’m working on a project that is a tribute to the great classic soul music we all love. I’ve been honored to work with Jim Weatherly, the writer of “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “Neither One of Us” and “You’re the Best Thing” to start this process. I’m really excited!