For Kings home playoff games, Pia Toscano stands at center ice to sing the National Anthem.
The (Season 10) American Idol Finalist and Interscope Recording artist first graced STAPLES Center ice in January, singing the famous song before a Kings-Dallas Stars game. Since she has been selected to perform in the postseason.
The New York native recently answered the following questions from LAKings.com:
LAKings.com: How often have you sung the national anthem before?
Pia Toscano: I have sung the national anthem quite a few times. I actually started singing the song when I was 11 going back to school assemblies. I have gotten to do it for Mets baseball games then later. I always joke that I should release it on one of my albums. It helped me get my start, it was great practice and I really enjoy doing it. These are my first hockey games and I was really happy it was the LA Kings. I had come to a game a earlier and I had the best time. There was a lot of energy and it was a lot of fun. The action is great.
LAKings.com: A hockey arena is cold. How does that affect you as you get ready to perform?
Pia Toscano: I definitely try to keep my throat warm. I am very sensitive vocally so as soon as I am in a colder environment I start to get the shivers so I am constantly trying to keep my voice warm. I had recently come down with laryngitis so when I was practicing that morning in January I was really nervous. I didn’t know if I would get through it but I think it went fine.
LAKings.com: What kind of music would you expect to here at a hockey game in-arena?
Pia Toscano: Very high energy music and a lot of rock for sure.
LAKings.com: While you were at the Kings-Stars game our Kings Vision camera crew was following you around. Do you get used to that?
Pia Toscano: American Idol really helps you prepare for that. There you had camera crews from the show following your every move. I have to say when I first started that show I wasn’t used to it. I get a little camera shy but with American Idol I really started to adapt to the cameras, even when I was getting my make-up done. The guys with the Kings were really great and I think I am completely used to it now.
LAKings.com: Does the show prepare you for that about as much as it does for performing?
Pia Toscano: I would say 50-50. You learn how to perform in pretty much every situation. If you don’t have your full voice you still try and pull it out from somewhere. If you feel nerves, some last minute jitters, you learn to overcome those. Also with American Idol you are thrust into the spotlight overnight so you learn how to best try and handle that.
LAKings.com: Go to YouTube and you see some seven million views for one of your videos. How does that feel?
Pia Toscano: It is incredible just to know that people follow what I do and have an interest. Just last year I was trying to get YouTube views of me singing in my kitchen. When I got to 600 I was excited. Now to get to six million is just incredible. I am very happy. I love what I do. This has always been my dream and I am glad that people enjoy it.
LAKings.com: Do you then rush to remove those videos from the kitchen?
Pia Toscano: No because that is where I started. I am a perfectionist so when I posted anything on YouTube I knew that it would be something that I would look back on and remember where I started. I guess people like to see the improvement. I think I have come a long way from my kitchen. Everybody starts some where.
LAKings.com: Are you living in L.A. full-time?
Pia Toscano: I am currently living in California. My management and my label are out here so that makes it more convenient for me. I am constantly working and I am always in my studio. I go back and forth between New York and Los Angeles.
LAKings.com: What do you like to do here?
Pia Toscano: People ask me that all the time. I am sort of a home-body. I don’t go out much. When I do I am usually in a vocal booth or taking part in a writing session. I am lucky to have a nice pool and jacuzzi as part of my apartment complex but I never use it. I watch movies and I Skype with my parents.
Back in January, Kings Vision followed Pia around the arena. Here is a look at that feature: http://video.kings.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hcatid=731&id=156607&cmpid=LAK|KV|feature|RM%20
Here is a look at her hit video, This Time:
Follow her on Twitter -- @PiaToscano