Quinten White performing "Celebrate" for the "Sparkle" Singing Challenge
(Screen grab from myspace.com/sparkle)

On July 14, Quinten White's aunt called him and told him about a singing competition happening in the mall next to the store she works at. The contest, which promotes Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks' new movie, "Sparkle," has each contestant sing their own version of a song from the film. Quinten, 28, intrigued and excited to have an opportunity to show off his singing abilities, went to the tryouts and proceeded to beat 40 other Baltimore hopefuls. The West Hills resident is currently a finalist and represents Baltimore in the "Sparkle" Singing Challenge.

Quinten, along with fourteen other contestants representing their cities, has until April 1 to get enough votes on his video to win the competition. The contestant with the most votes will win a trip to New York City, have an appearance on BET's "106 & Park," and get a recording session with Jordin Sparks' production and writing team, The Punch Monkeys.


Quinten talked to b via email about Baltimore, his love for singing, and why he deserves to win the "Sparkle" Singing Challenge.

How long have you been singing?

I've always liked to sing. But I've have been taking it seriously for about eight years now.

Why did you decide to audition for the "Sparkle" Singing Challenge?

Well the real reason is because I heard there was a $500 grand prize and I was broke. And I love to sing, so I figured, hey why not?

How does the competition works?

There were about 40 contestants and we all had to sing the verse and hook of [one of two songs from "Sparkle,"] "Celebrate" or "Giving Him Something He Can Feel." The judges graded us on our originality and our performance on a number scale. Whoever had the most points won. Then we qualify for the grand prize, which is a trip to New York and [the BET show] "106 & Park." Whoever has the most votes online is the winner.

What would it mean to you if you win this competition?

Well, if I were to win this competition it would mean a lot because I have dealt with so much when it comes to music. But I think it would be so rewarding because I believe this opportunity would open up more doors and chances to let my God given gift be exposed throughout the world. I am a prime example of never giving up on your dreams and believing in yourself; this win would just be a representation of where I'm headed!

What do you think sets you apart from the other contestants?

My originality is what sets me apart. I believe I'm in a lane of my own when it comes to music. My tone and my delivery are unorthodox but undeniable. And my image is unique; people never imagine I'm going to sound the way I do when they see me.

Who is your biggest musical inspiration?

I gain a lot of inspiration from Lyfe Jennings. He's a great singer, songwriter, producer and musician; his concepts are out of the box as well.

What is your favorite thing about Baltimore?


My favorite thing about Baltimore is the strength that you gain growing up here. Baltimore is one of the prettiest ugly cities I have ever seen. There's so much pain in this town but so much triumph; if you can make it here than everyone should respect you. Can't forget the Inner Harbor, though.

What is your favorite song to perform?

I love performing "No Sweeter Name" by Kari Jobe.

How does it feel representing Baltimore in the "Sparkle" Singing Challenge?

It's a great feeling. I'm honored and blessed, many are called but few are chosen, I Love Baltimore.

Why should we vote for you to win the competition?

Because I don't take anything for granted. If people vote for me, I will appreciate the fact that they took time out of their day to support me. I have a passion for music but my heart is for the people. Thanks for the opportunity and to those who vote!

Voting ends August 1. To watch and vote for Quinten's performance, go to myspace.com/sparkle.