Erika Van Pelt Biography
Van Pelt was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2002, she moved to South Kingstown, Rhode Island.
Van Pelt sang at church in the children's choir and at the age of seven was singing solos with the adult choir.
Van Pelt went to South Kingstown High School and joined the vocal jazz ensemble and chorus and was involved in musical theatre. She was in groups that received first places at the Rhode Island All State Jazz Choir, Rhode Island All-State Chorus, All New England Chorus and All-Eastern Chorus competitions. She was a founding member of a cappella group called SoundCheck.
Van Pelt attended Community College of Rhode Island (Chamber Singers) and Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts and studied jazz, rock, pop and soul along with production and engineering.
After college, in 2005, Van Pelt launched her own company, VP Entertainment, a full-service mobile DJ company, and became an independent contractor with Kaleidoscope Kabaret, performing throughout New England at major venues including Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun. She performs part-time with The Sultans of Swing, and is a performing partner of Fairhaven Entertainment and Boston Swing.
Her recent major live performances include the national production "If You're Irish" and the annual "Chance to Dance" shows at the Providence Performing Arts Center, as well Boston Swing with Mark Maher at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston, Massachusetts. In February and March of 2010, she starred alongside Matthew Royality-Lindman in The Contemporary Theater Company's production of The Last 5 Years. She has been a member of the company since 2010, also caroling with the company's holiday singers each year since 2009.
Van Pelt auditioned for the eleventh season of American Idol in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the semi-final round, she performed Heart's "What About Love", but was not one of the five highest female vote getters. The judges selected her to be one of the six wild card performers. She performed Lady Gaga's "The Edge of Glory" and was selected as one of the three wild cards to advance to the Top 13. Van Pelt was eliminated on March 22, 2012, finishing in tenth place.