Shelby Lentz

Plainwell teen to open for ex-Idol singer Matt Giraud

Kayla Deneau, Staff Writer

Plainwell High School senior Shelby Lentz loves being on stage.

“I love the adrenaline rush I get when I go on stage and see all these people supporting me in following my dreams,” she said. “I love how music is such a universal language everyone can relate to.”

The 17-year-old is gearing up to grace the stage in Kalamazoo’s District Square Saturday, Aug. 2, as an opening act for American Idol’s Matt Giraud.

Lentz, who said her musical style is a mixture of country and pop, first realized her dreams when she joined her sixth-grade talent show.

“I sang ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus and received a standing ovation and the directors were crying,” she said. “It was a really beautiful moment and it’s when I realized I wanted to do this.”

Since the talent show Lentz has taught herself to play the guitar, is learning to play the piano and began writing her own music.

She said she performs a mixture of cover songs and songs she has written herself.

“I do old classics that everyone can sing along too, but then I perform a song I put my heart and soul and emotions in,” said Lentz. “I love to see the audience’s reactions when I write a song; see what people think of it.”

She began performing at Kalamazoo’s Wild Bull, and in 2012 she opened for Frankie Ballard at the Kalamazoo State Theatre.  

Lentz has auditioned once for the “The Voice” and twice for “American Idol.”

While she didn’t make it to the judges for either show, she said they were great experiences and she would not hesitate to audition again if they were not too far away.

“The experience was awesome and the exposure’s great,” said Lentz. “You are surrounded by people who have the same passion you have. It’s such a great time, even if you don’t get the answer you’re looking for.”

Recently she has performed at Maude’s Taphouse in Otsego and Captain Lou’s in South Haven, leading up to her upcoming performance.

“I’m so excited,” Lentz said of opening for Giraud, of whom she is a fan.

“I remember when he was on (American) Idol and I was so excited someone from Kalamazoo was on and made it so far,” she said. “I used to stay up and vote for him over and over.

“It was awesome when they asked me to open for him; not too long ago I was a little fan girl of him on American Idol.”

Lentz is not yet sure of her college plans but said she plans to apply to Belmont University in Nashville.

“It has been awesome to see myself grow in the last six years,” she said. “I know I have so much more growth and potential in me.”


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