ImageLilo Blank has been performing since she was five years old. Lilo loves to sing and performs with her school’s touring ensemble and Up The Octave, and will be performing at the free Yo! Teen Philly Fringe Festival event on September 21, from 7-9 at the First Unitarian Church. You can hear a sample of Lilo’s music at That’s So Philly’s Soundcloud page. Philadelphia Stories editor Rachel Mamola asked Lilo to tell us a little about her music and performing life.

How old were you when you first started performing?

I was 5 years old in kindergarten at Myers Elementary School.

Do you remember that first performance?

I do remember it.  I was very excited and not nervous at all. I sang  ‘You are My Sunshine’ wearing my favorite red dress.

I’ve read you perform with your school’s touring ensemble and Up the Octave, an a capella group that was also featured earlier in the year on the That’s So Philly Facebook page. What are the differences between singing solo and singing with a group?

The benefit of singing in a group is that you are not in it alone. There is the experience of vocal blending, and it is really wonderful to share the spirit of a song with my friends.  The benefit of singing solo is that the spotlight is mine!

I really enjoy singing in both types of situations because group singing allows me to play off of other people’s voices, which can be challenging but fun.  Singing solo is wonderful because I can control the song tempo to suit my own voice, but the downside is that I am up there all alone.

I think it takes a lot of courage to get up on a stage and perform. Do you ever get stage fright?

Not all the time, but I did when I auditioned for America’s Got Talent. It was something that I had been looking forward to for a long time and did not know what to expect, so I did get nervous.  I am finding that the older I get the more nervous I get.

What advice do you have for young people thinking about performing, or for people who are afraid to get on stage?

If you love it, do it!

Who are your musical influences and idols?

This may sound strange but I really don’t have any musical idols.  I listen to a lot of different types of music.

If you could only sing one song for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Drops of Jupiter because it is a pretty song and the melody never gets old.

If you could perform in any Broadway musical, musical, or play, what would it be and which character would you want to play?

Les Mis and Eponine.

If you could perform with any famous band, what would it be and why?

The Script, because I love everything about them.

Do you plan to continue performing as you move on to college and beyond?

I do plan on performing in college and perhaps beyond but that is a bit far away.  I have begun exploring schools and am currently really interested in the University of Rochester because they have the Eastman School of Music as well as a great engineering and science program.

What are you looking forward to at the Yo! Teen Philly Fringe Festival?

Performing, of course!

Do you think it’s important to be exposed to other young artists, like yourself?

Absolutely.  I learn something new every time I hear someone perform.  It could be a new song I had never heard before, or something about their performing style that could help improve my own performance.  There is always a benefit to sharing in the performance experience and I am very excited to be a part of the first Yo! Teen Philly Fringe Festival.