Hooper: Tampa Bay’s abundant talent deserves appreciation

Gifted performers can be found all around the area, but sometimes we demur because they’re local.
Alex Harris serves as the founder and executive director of the Arts Conservatory for Teens. He sang the National Anthem before Saturday's Tampa Bay Rays' game. [Times (2018)]
Alex Harris serves as the founder and executive director of the Arts Conservatory for Teens. He sang the National Anthem before Saturday's Tampa Bay Rays' game. [Times (2018)]
Published April 22

Local talent Alex Harris ignited the Tampa Bay Rays’ crowd with his rendition of the National Anthem at the Jackie Robinson Breaking Barriers game on Saturday.

The performance did not surprise those of us who know Harris’ incandescent singing. Only his kindness outshines his ability. And no one would blame Harris if he chose to leave Tampa Bay and pursue greater success in New York, Nashville or L.A.

Harris, however, chooses to build his career while serving as the founder and executive director of the Arts Conservatory for Teens. His heart for sharing his gifts beats louder than his longing for stardom, yet I know his music — he has a new deal with Sony and a single, Make It Better, on iTunes, YouTube and Spotify — deserves a larger audience.

His tunes reverberate with classic soul and the gospel grace Harris traces back to his upbringing in the church. Growing up, he performed with his brothers, but wished he had someone to mentor them. So, today he mentors while mastering his music. Too cool. …

Seen on a bumper sticker: I’m Completely Reliable Sometimes. …

Brian Kleinschmidt and Mika McGee are another pair of local talents looking to make big. The husband and wife, both from Riverview, are quality singers, but their big break may be a new HGTV show. Filmed here in Tampa, 90-Day Dream Home debuts Saturday at 10 p.m. on the cable network. …

Dylan Armstrong delivered on The Climb at the Pinellas Education Foundation’s Take Stock In Children senior celebration last week. She’s another local talent, but when it comes to “our” stars, we need to appreciate their gifts. The key phrase is talent — not local.

That’s all I’m saying.

Advertisement
Also In This Section
Advertisement