Student Spotlight: Tara Joshi ’18, Dartmouth Idol Finalist

by Amelia Rosch | 2/10/15 6:10pm

Dartmouth Idol finalist Tara Joshi '18 loves KAF's roast beef sandwiches.

When Dartmouth Idol finalist Tara Joshi ’18 was young, she would only sing around the house. After her mother signed her up for a production of “The Sound of Music,” she decided she only wanted the part of Gretl von Trapp.

“I was very shy, and I never sang in front of other people,” she said. “That’s why I wanted to be Gretl, since she has a small part and looks cute.”

Joshi said her mother was confused when she found out that she wanted such a small, non-speaking part, since she always loved singing at home. After a conversation with her mother, she said she decided that she wanted to show off her singing voice and ended up getting the part of Maria, the lead role.

“I realized it was something I really loved doing and I wanted to show people that I had a personality, and a lot of that came through singing,” she said.

Since then, Joshi has continued to sing. This year she is the only freshman finalist in Dartmouth Idol.

Joshi said that she originally decided to try out because of her interest in singing competition shows like “The X-Factor” and “The Voice.”

“It was always something I wanted to try my hand at to see what would happen,” she said. “I wanted to know what the process was.”

In her first audition for Dartmouth Idol, she said she sang one of her favorite songs “The House of the Rising Sun” (1964) by The Animals. For the semi-final, Joshi sang “If I Ain’t Got You” (2004) by Alicia Keys. She said that she chose to use it because she considers it the “ultimate expression of love” and because of its range.

“It shows a lower register in the verse and then a higher belting chorus, which I really like,” she said. “It displays my range in a really nice way.”

Joshi said that finding out that she had even made it to the final round of Idol was a huge shock — while she wanted to wait until she got an official email about the results of the semi-final round, she ended up finding out from her mother.

“I was still asleep, and my mom called me because she had heard about it somewhere,” she said. “I thought it was a mistake.”

She said that she is still in the process of deciding what she is going to sing in the final round and that she will soon be meeting with Dartmouth Idol’s founder and director Walt Cunningham make a final selection of songs. She said that she is also getting ready to start rehearsals for the group numbers for the final performance.

In addition to the performing experience that Idol has given her, Joshi said that she has enjoyed getting the chance to listen to the other Dartmouth Idol contestants.

“That was another thing that was awesome about this experience, experiencing people’s talent because people are so busy and involved that there is rarely an outlet to just show one type of talent,” she said.

Outside of Idol, Joshi sings in the a cappella group the Dartmouth Dodecaphonics, which she joined this fall. She said that being a member of the Dodecs has had a huge impact on her time at the College so far.

“They’ve been like family to me,” she said. “They’ve really been my role models and helped me navigate my way through my first term and a half. It’s been a real honor.”

Zak Meghrouni-Brown ’18, who is a member of the Dodecs, said that Joshi has been a strong member of the group. In particular she sang “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” (2013) during the group’s Winter Whingding over the weekend.

“It was the most energized performance that the group has done since I joined,” he said. “She just absolutely killed it.”

Morgan McGonagle ’18, who is a Dodecs member and one of Joshi’s floormates, said that Joshi’s voice shows a remarkable amount of range and is suited for a variety of genres.

“She’s really controlled in the way she sings,” McGonagle said. “She has a jazzy, bluesy kind of voice, but she sings very modern pop songs really well.”

She said that she was aware of Joshi’s singing talents even before they both joined the Dodecaphonics, when the two had an impromptu Sam Smith singing session in Joshi’s room.

“We just started singing the exact same harmony which wasn’t in the song,” she said. “It was a really cool moment where we just connected.”

Meghrouni-Brown said that Joshi also brings the Dodecs alive through the charisma of her voice, which makes her a natural leader in many of the group’s songs.

In addition to singing, Joshi said that she has always had a love for classical Indian dance. She said that she and a friend from home who goes to the College meet once a week to dance together. She has also worked at the Shakti Dance Company in Los Angeles.

While Joshi said she is still not sure which subjects she wants to study at the College, she is interested in studying international development and the surrounding issues after taking a class on the topic.

While she does not plan to sing professionally, Joshi said she wants to continue to sing.

“I know that singing will never be something that I just used to do in College,” she said. “I always want it to be part of my life, not as a career but in some other manifestation.”

The last word with Tara Joshi ’18

Favorite thing from KAF: Roast beef sandwich

Favorite study spot: Baker Lobby

Artists she wants to see in concert: Sam Smith and Tori Kelly​

Meghrouni-Brown is a member of The Dartmouth staff.