Sept. 20, 2012
-- LaBelle, born Leah LaBelle Vladowski on September 8, 1986 in Toronto, Canada, is the only child of Troshan and Anastasia Vladowski. Troshan and Anastasia who are musicians and immigrants that defected and came to the United States leaving from communist Bulgaria during a tour of Western Europe in 1979 with the Bulgarian pop music groups Srebyrnite Grivni and Tonika. LaBelle graduated from Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington in 2005 and attended performing arts school, Berklee College of Music, in Boston, Massachusetts.
LaBelle has been performing since 1990, singing and dancing but it was in 1993 that she started pursing a musical career. In 1997, LaBelle won the Washington State Pre-teen Miss America Pageant and was first runner-up in the National Pageant. In 1998 she joined Total Experience Gospel Choir and the Langston Hughes musical, Black Nativity over the following five years. In 2000, LaBelle was part of the WAM Network children’s reality show, Caught in the Middle and continued on the show for two seasons. In 2002, LaBelle won the Grand Prize at KUBE 93.3 Summer Jam Idol and was the opening act at Summer Jam 20.
LaBelle gained further public recognition at the age of 17 when she was on the third season of American Idol. She auditioned in New York City and performed Whitney Houston’s “I Believe in You and Me.” LabBele received a golden ticket to Hollywood but after making it to the semi-finals, she did not receive enough fan votes to pass the semi-finals. Labelle was then brought back for the wild card show and was selected by Paula Abdul to advance to the finals. After performing during the Top 12’s soul Week, she received the lowest amount of votes and was eliminated from the show and did not qualify for the American Idol US Tour. Her rendition of the soul classic “Betcha by Golly, Wow” by The Stylistics was included on the Season 3 American Idol finalist compilation album American Idol Season 3: Greatest Soul Classics.
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