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Shanna Henderson

College of Liberal Arts alumna

Shanna Henderson, a musical theatre graduate from Reeltown, Ala., has been involved in the music scene for 17 years. A 2012 graduate from the College of Liberal Arts, Henderson is an experienced tuba and trombone player and was featured in "Auburn POPS!," "Gotta Dance," "The Light in the Piazza" and "The Marvelous Wonderettes." In 2010, Henderson won the local singing contest Auburn Idol and was awarded a $10,000 check from The Hotel at Auburn University. During her senior year at Auburn, Shanna auditioned online for The Glee Project and at the Nashville open casting call. Henderson was accepted and competed on the second season while completing her final semester at Auburn. Watch Shanna each week on The Glee Project 2, airing on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. CST on Oxygen.

1. Why did you choose to come to Auburn?

I chose Auburn University because I grew up at Auburn University. My grandmother works here, my aunt works here and my grandfather worked in Auburn City Schools, so Auburn was my home even though I'm from Reeltown, Ala. I am also a diehard Auburn fan. I bleed orange and blue, and I was saying "War Damn Eagle," as a baby. (That's the only time it was okay to cuss.) I just fell in love with this university.

2. What was it like to win Auburn Legend?

Winning Auburn Legend made a huge impact on my career as a singer, actress and someone who truly wanted to pursue music as a career after school. It gave me this confidence that made me believe in myself more than I had ever believed in myself before. When I walked on the stage for the finale of Auburn Legend I didn't know that I was going to win, but I knew that I loved what I was doing. I had an amazing support group there that I had found at Auburn in the musical theatre department. My entire BFA class was there cheering me on, win or lose, and I will never forget that moment. When I looked out into the audience and saw all of my BFA family I knew it was okay if I didn't win. But then I won! The possibilities and the confidence that I gained from that really pushed me forward as a musical theatre actress here at Auburn.

3. How did you decide to audition for The Glee Project and what was your audition like?

I watched The Glee Project: Season 1 every time it was on. I was obsessed with it. I loved that it wasn't just a singing competition or an acting competition; it was about people's real stories. I fell in love with that concept and I also fell in love with these different characters that I felt like Ryan Murphy was creating for Glee from real people. When I saw that they had auditions, I thought about it for a while, but I ended up booking a gig here at Auburn. I was in "The Marvelous Wonderettes" which was a wonderful experience.

After the show closed, I remembered The Glee Project audition and I decided to do the online audition and just see what would happen. I was afraid! It's all about trying to get votes online, so there's a fear of rejection with your friends and your family. I went and auditioned in Nashville in person and then I just started making the cuts. After that, I got the call that I made the top 80 to be flown out to L.A. They narrowed it down to the top 30 to perform for Ryan Murphy. That's when I got super competitive. When I made it to the top 15 girls and sang for Ryan Murphy, he loved me! When I left that audition I knew that I had the job and that was the most amazing feeling I've ever had in my life. We later found out we weren't going to find out in L.A. if we made the show or not; we had to wait (which was the best lesson I learned in TV world). We had to wait for a Skype call on the 23rd of December and I'll never forget that day. There was a tornado warning and I was terrified I wasn't going to get the call because the power kept going out. The power was on for 20 minutes, long enough for me to get the call on Skype, and then Robert Ulrich called and said, "I'll see you in L.A." I was speechless.

4. What did you take away from your experience with The Glee Project?

I've learned so much doing The Glee Project. I have to say the biggest lesson I learned was how genuine people truly can be. I went into this competition series in a competitive mode. I was like, "I'm here to win. I want to be on Glee. I have an objective and I'm going to meet it." I was expecting to make friends, but I wasn't expecting to actually make lifelong friends or to keep a relationship with these amazing people. When we wrapped the show, I was sad! I learned how genuine people can be and how even in a competition setting, people still cared and still wanted to make sure you were okay when you were completely homesick (and trust me I got homesick a lot!). Everyone was there for each other, and we didn't have to be. It just showed me so much about how people really do have it in them to be amazing people and treat people with respect.

5. Do you have a celebrity duet wish list?

This list could go on forever because I love singing duets with awesome singers, but I would love to sing with Carrie Underwood. I think the girl can just belt for days! I would also love to sing with Christina Aguilera. She was one of my huge idols growing up. I got a lot of my vocal intuition from her by just sitting in my floor listening to her music. I would also love to sing with the Civil Wars. I don't really tune into that part of my voice a lot, but I do love singing a lot of softer music. I'm known more for a strong belt, but I do love singing softer music. (That would be more of a trio, but I consider them one entity.) And then I'm obsessed with Regina Spektor, so that would be awesome to sing with her. The biggest one though, is that I would absolutely love to sing a duet with Jane Lynch!

July 2, 2012