California Vocalist's Dream Comes True

Since childhood, Olivia Cosio (left and below, photos by Caitlin Cunningham) has been “fighting to keep music in her life.” Growing up in the Tenderloin in San Francisco, her family struggled to make ends meet due to her mother’s chronic illness, but Olivia remained steadfast in her devotion to music. Now her dreams are coming true with a little help from her friends at From the Top and their Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award.

Olivia describes the neighborhood where she has grown up very powerfully. On one side of Olivia’s neighborhood is a rich cultural district and on the other is an area known for crime and violence. She gravitated towards the cultural offerings. Olivia says:
 
"I have missed many opportunities because I do not have financial resources. Growing up in the Tenderloin, a notoriously dangerous area of San Francisco, has made me a hard worker with strong ambitions. I am proof that one’s neighborhood does not have to define them."

Music is a driving force in Olivia’s life. A student at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Olivia studies music with Todd Wedge and participates in numerous choirs in the school’s music program. She has also studied jazz and piano and maintains high grades. On top of all of those activities, she still finds time to give back to her local community through her volunteer work with San Francisco’s Breakthrough Collaborative.

Her experience volunteering in San Francisco served Olivia well when she came to Boston, Massachusetts for a live taping of From the Top in October. The day following the taping, Olivia and her fellow performers presented three music-filled assemblies for students at three campuses of the Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy. Through From the Top’s Arts Leadership Orientation Workshop, she was able to explore her own leadership pathways and learn more about what it means to take music beyond the concert hall. She was beginning to achieve many of her musical dreams!

Since appearing on From the Top, Olivia has updated us that she has been invited to participate in the YoungArts program in Miami. With From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, Olivia will be able to attend a summer music program, pay for her private voice lessons, and travel to college auditions across the country.