The West Bank is not lacking in talent. First, we have Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph, of Marrero. Joseph is one of the local contestants who vied to gain the title on Fox’s “American Idol” this year.
I had a chance to speak with her while she was on somewhat of a break during American Idol Hollywood Week.
Joseph, 26, is a 2007 graduate of L.W. Higgins High School and worked as a singer in Bourbon Street clubs. She participated in an open-call audition at UNO Lakefront Arena in June, then a judges-round audition at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in August.
With her bubbly attitude, Joseph, who received her nickname “Jelly” from her grandmother Luecindya Rowe, said she has never competed for anything.
“My first performance in front of people was in my senior year of high school and my school was asked to participate in Celebration in the Oaks as one of the school choirs. My teacher asked if I would mind doing a solo,” she said. “I decided to invite my family, who had never heard me sing in public before. My family was just as nervous as I was when they saw me grab the microphone and I began to sing ‘O Holy Night.’ ”
“We had no idea Jelly could sing,” her mother, Marie “Girlie” Gibson, said. “She never sang around the house or anything. I sing and her dad, Andrew Joseph, was the lead singer for the Batiste Brother Band.”
Joseph also performs with the Original Pinettes Brass Band and in 2014 performed in “Four Women — Tribute to Nina Simone” at Chickie Wah Wah with Erica Falls, Mykia Jovan and Tarriona “Tank” Ball.
For the first audition, Joseph sang “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele.
“I had never seen so many people going after this one dream with so much passion, which made the experience for me both intimidating and inspiring.”
Next was Hollywood Week. Hollywood Week determines the Top 24, 12 girls and 12 guys who make the cut to contend to be the next American Idol.
“Hollywood Week was very intense because you didn’t know who you would be performing with and what genre songs you would be singing. I have met so many interesting people during this experience,” Joseph said.
Her road may have come to an end for “American Idol,” but she is traveling far in the eyes of West Bankers. She will be performing in several major festivals in New Orleans this year.
“They can catch me onstage with Tank and the Bangas and the Original Pinettes Brass Band, which I’ll be performing with at French Quarter Festival.” She is also one of the lead singers in the Speakerbox Experiment, which has a CD available.
“I wrote my first song on this album, also available on iTunes, called ‘The Speakerbox Experiment Volume 1: Love Stories,’ ” she said.
Playwright Harold Ellis Clark
Playwright Harold Ellis Clark, of Gretna, has been named one of two finalists for the 2015 Stanley Drama Award for his play “Uncle Bobby ’63.” Clark, who wrote numerous unpublished novels and unproduced screenplays for 18 years before writing his first play in 2010, also was a finalist for the 2013 Stanley Drama Award for his play “Tour Detour.”
Each of the winners and Clark will be honored during a ceremony and reception on March 23 at the Players Club in New York.
Clark’s other plays include “Marrero Action,” “Fishers of Men” and “We Live Here,” the latter of which ran Jan. 2-25 at Playhouse on the Square’s Theaterworks in Memphis. He won Playhouse on the Square’s 2013 New Works@The Works Playwriting Competition for “We Live Here” and Upstage Theatre’s 2013 Emerging Playwrights Project for “Fishers of Men.”
Clark was a semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference in both 2013 for “Tour Detour” and 2014 for “We Live Here.”
He’s editing a new play, “Madame Thames’s Spirit Bar.”
Good luck, Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph and Harold Ellis Clark.