Myra Tran was a Top 40 finalist contestant on American Idol season 17. Photo courtesy of Myra Tran

Myra Tran was a Top 40 finalist contestant on American Idol season 17. Photo courtesy of Myra Tran

Federal Way resident competes for top 20 spot on ‘American Idol’

Todd Beamer senior Myra Tran previously won “The X-Factor Vietnam” in 2016.

Todd Beamer High School senior Myra Tran became a fan favorite around the nation as she took the stage on “American Idol” season 17.

“I feel my dreams came true,” the 19-year-old Federal Way resident said. “I’m grateful to have had that chance.”

She quickly exceeded round after round of the singing competition until she was let go after her performance of Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go” in Hawaii at Disney Aulani Resort, which aired April 1. Tran narrowly missed out on becoming a top 20 finalist.

“The first thing I learned is experience,” she said. “[It] changed my mind a lot about the music industry. I know it’s pretty tough and I know that if I want to survive in the music industry, I have to work so hard.”

But she is no stranger to the spotlight. At just 16 years old, Myra Minh Nhu Tran won season two of “The X-Factor Vietnam.”

“I didn’t know I’d be able to win ‘X-Factor,’” she said. “I was so surprised … it’s the first achievement in my career.”

Winning that competition, she felt ready to take on “American Idol” with her sights set on a one-way golden ticket to Hollywood.

She learned how to sing high notes and how to sing with emotion from her vocal coach, Ho Quynh Huong, in Vietnam. But a lot of her talent came from her own practice of singing American songs.

Tran grew up in Long Xuyên, Vietnam, then moved to Ho Chi Minh City for two years. In 2017, Tran, her dad Dinh Cao Hinh, her mom Kim Thao Tran and her younger brother Huy Dinh, moved to Federal Way.

“I came to the United States to follow my dream, to chase my dream,” she said.

Although, Tran said she was hesitant about moving to America.

“I didn’t have friends, I needed to learn a new culture, and I needed to learn a lot here,” she said. “In Vietnam, I had already won ‘X-Factor’ … A long time later, I realized I need to go and learn and I need to improve myself.”

Only a few close friends, some teachers at Todd Beamer and her former choir members knew she had won “The X-Factor Vietnam,” she said about her stardom in the United States.

There were a few performances singing in elementary school at the age of 6, but Tran said the first time she saw Whitney Houston singing on television, she was hooked.

“At that time I realized, yeah, I need to be on that stage,” she said. “I need to be singing like her. I just want to sing … I was so, so, so young. I didn’t know I’d end up performing a lot.”

When she found out “American Idol” hosted an open audition in Bellevue in 2018, she decided to take a chance.

“Me and my dad thought, ‘Yeah, we can just try, we have nothing to lose,’” she said.

Tran quickly moved through rounds and rounds of preliminary auditions over the following weeks until she made it to the audition in front of the “American Idol” judges.

“Oh my God, my heart almost jumped out,” she said about her nerves from that day.

The season 17 judges appeared awestruck with her first audition, where Tran sang Jennifer Hudson’s “One Night Only.”

After her performance, Tran was met with a standing ovation from the judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.

“You’re in high school?” Perry asked with a bewildered expression after Tran’s performance. “… I loved it.”

“I mean, you’re up there with the Kelly Clarksons of the world,” Bryan said. “That’s the only way I can say it.”

“You have stepped into a zone that’s yours,” Richie said. “And all I want you to do is, from now on, rule your zone.”

Tran earned her golden ticket to Hollywood and beyond, which she hid behind her back as she left the audition room. When she surprised her family, “My dad was crying,” she said.

Last week, Tran’s “American Idol” run came to an end as a top 40 contestant.

“I wish I would’ve known more about how stressful it is in Hollywood,” she said.

Tran is now preparing for her high school graduation and hopes to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston next year while pursuing her singing career.

Meanwhile, many fans in Vietnam are waiting for new releases of Tran’s music and music videos, she said.

“If they accept me, I will release a song in English, too,” she said of her American fan base.

While you must have talent, it’s also important to work hard, be humble, listen and “eat the stage,” she said with a laugh.

While it’s still too soon to tell if she’ll return to “American Idol” in a future season, Tran encourages everyone to dream big.

“It doesn’t matter where you grow up or where you are from, just be yourself. You need to realize what is your dream and you’ll see that things will happen with you.”

More in Northwest

Sarah Abdullah is a pharmacist who left Iraq as a refugee. She joined the Welcome Back Center at Highline College and is now only two tests away from gaining Washington state certification to practice her trade. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Recredentialed: Barriers face Washington’s immigrant, refugee professionals

Even with degrees from abroad, it can be difficult for many to get certified in the state.

If passed, Senate Bill 6254 would limit the nicotine concentration of vape products, ban certain flavoring chemicals and require vape manufacturers, distributors and retailers to obtain licenses from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. File photo
Lawmakers propose sweeping regulations for vaping industry

Bill supporters cite concerns over health issues and teen use.

A proposal by Senate Democrats would require concealed pistol license applicants in Washington state to complete a safety course. File photo
Democrats seek firearm training requirement for concealed carriers

Republican senator calls proposal ‘unconstitutional.’

Snohomish County man is first U.S. case of new coronavirus

A man in his 30s was hospitalized in Everett after contracting the virus during a trip to China.

Matt Marshall, leader of the Washington Three Percenters gun rights group, addresses a crowd rallying for Second Amendment rights Jan. 17 at the state Capitol in Olympia. Marshall condemned Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, which expelled Rep. Matt Shea from the Republican Caucus. Marshall announced his candidacy for the 2nd District seat held by House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gun rights advocates rally at Capitol

Criticism levied at Matt Shea investigation, Republican leadership.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (center) announced a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in a press conference Jan. 2. Debbie Warfield of Everett (left) lost her son to a heroin overdose in 2012. Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki (right) lost her son to an overdose of OxyContin in 2017. They are joined by Rep. Lauren Davis of Shoreline (second from right), founder of the Washington Recovery Alliance. (TVW screenshot)
AG Bob Ferguson talks lawsuits, gun control

Washington state Attorney General stopped by Sound Publishing’s Kirkland office.

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

In November 2019, Washington voters approved Initiative 976, which calls for $30 car tabs. Sound Publishing file photo
Republicans try to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hangup

Lawmakers sponsor companion bills in the House and Senate.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Most Read