A Merit Winner in Popular Voice: Senior Giana Poppo

By Alexandra Brocato

With the seniors officially gone, it is important to recognize the unique, creative, and influential impact they had on Byram Hills. One such student, Giana Poppo, has left quite a legacy.

Giana was recently named named a 2017 ​National YoungArts Foundation​ ​(YoungArts)​ Merit Winner in Popular Voice. She was selected, along with 690 other students, from the largest pool of applicants to date across the whole United States. Giana was recognized for her singing through a blind video audition process conducted by an independent panel of highly accomplished artists. Recipients of this award include renowned artists ​Doug Aitken ​(1986 Winner in Visual Arts) and ​2015 So You Think You Can Dance winner​ Gaby Diaz ​(2014 Winner in Dance). Giana explained that she heard about the program “through a friend at a summer program at NYU this past summer.” She recalls recording her “YoungArts audition videos live the day that they were due” and submitting them “at around 11:50 that night!” It truly “ended up working out, though, so it was totally worth it,” she adds. For her audition, she recorded four videos singing live that met specific criteria; one song had to be up tempo, and another song had to be from the 1920s-1970s.

Image courtesy of Giana Poppo

Giana has always had a passion for the arts, specifically singing and dance. She has such a gravitation towards singing that she feels “like I have been singing before I could even talk.” Throughout her life, she has always loved creatively expressing herself in the arts. Besides having a talent for singing, she also loves to “write or play the piano, guitar, violin.” Her favorite genres are pop and r&b, so most of her music is centered around these influences. Giana is equally invested in dancing; she has danced competitively for years at Westchester Dance Academy. Giana is a committed, passionate and enthusiastic student. She encompasses this idea best when saying, “A lot of times my friends will ask how I bring myself to give up all of my free time and work so hard on music… it is because it is such a strong passion of mine, I truly love it.”

When she is not singing or dancing, she devotes her time to the Food Bank for Westchester Club. Not surprisingly, Giana also tries to incorporate her passions into her community service by singing at children’s hospitals and nursing homes. Giana loves her friends, and this is what she will miss most about BHHS. She also has a sister named Aniella, who is a sophomore and her “best friend.” Like Giana, Aniella is musically oriented, and the two constantly collaborate by playing music together. “Usually she plays and I’ll sing. It’s so much fun,” Giana adds. The two will commonly sing covers of pop songs featured on the top charts.

Given her dedicated passion for music, Giana will definitely want to pursue music in college. “Music makes me so happy; it can put me in a good mood even in what feels like the worst of times,” Gianna articulates. Ultimately, she wants “to be able to be a part of spreading music (whether it is on the creative side or the business side) so that it can touch everyone and affect them the way” it affects her. Giana will be attending the University of Southern California and will be majoring in Music Industry with a business concentration in music and entertainment at the Thornton School.

It was a real treat getting to know Giana! Her enthusiasm is evident to anyone who speaks with her, and her success in music is just the beginning. Byram Hills has very talented students, and Giana is no exception.