1 in 2000: Marisa Nahas, the next big thing

Kirstin Jett ‘14
Copy Editor


Sophomore Marisa Nahas seems like an average teenager; however, Nahas sticks out in the crowd. Along with the rest of her four-person singing group called “By the Way,” she was featured on the music competition show “The X-Factor.”
“I felt like I was about to pass out. I was so nervous and excited at the same time,” Nahas said.
Nahas has been singing as long as she can remember.
“I’ve loved it for so long that I grew to love it more and more over time,” she said.
She began taking voice lessons at 8 years old and entered the world of musical theater at age 10.
“I remember the first time I sang in front of an audience was when I was 7,” Nahas said.
She performed at the Tin Fish Restaurant.
“My dad’s band was playing so I sang along with them; I did ‘Pieces of Me’ by Ashley Simpson,” said Nahas.
Not long after that, Nahas joined her first musical cast.
“My first musical was ‘Camp Rock’ and I played Mitchie’s friend, Caitlyn,” said Nahas. Nahas performed in her first musical when she was 10.
The singing group Nahas joined was originally called “True.” They performed pop music and it included members Gabby Phillips, Nicole Hollinsky, and Darbi Dombrowski. But after they lost a member, they invited Nahas to work with them and changed the name to “By the Way.”
“They found my videos on YouTube and thought I would be a good fit for them,” Nahas said.
By the Way has performed at local events such as the Fire and Ice Festival in Rochester, the Classic Car Show, a Christmas event at the Detroit Zoo and they sang the National Anthem at a Detroit Tigers’ game this past August.
“The group had performed at a Tigers’ game once before I joined, so when we were asked back, I was really excited,” said Nahas.
Although the group has enjoyed singing locally, they always aspired to do something bigger.
“‘X Factor’ has always been a goal of ours, so we finally decided to audition,” said Nahas.
After submitting their online audition tape, By the Way received a call from a producer of the show; the producer could not reveal if they had made it through that portion of the audition yet, but the group was told to be prepared for the next round in Long Island, NY. A few weeks later, they received notice to fly out to Denver for the actual televised auditions. For that audition, the group sang “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys and “Home” by Phillip Phillips.
“I was afraid I would forget the words,” Nahas said.
Luckily, she remembered every word. Nahas says that it was strange seeing judges Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Simon Cowell in person.
“Since we were so used to seeing them on TV, they looked like wax figures when they were right in front of us,” Nahas said.
By the Way got the opportunity to introduce themselves to the judges; Cowell even said that Nahas, “took the group from zero to hero.”
“I gave Demi a big hug and I thought I was going to cry. Everything was such a blur,” she said.
Unfortunately, By the Way did not make it through their third evaluation. Although they were disappointed, Nahas said the group had an amazing experience that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Nahas says she and the rest of By the Way are currently starting fresh, making a new music video, and doing all new recordings in a professional studio.
“We want to stick together and continue to share our music with people,” Nahas said.
Although they have moved onto new projects, she says she will never forget her experience on “The X Factor” and whatever happens she knows it taught her a lot about performing.
“Whatever performance you’re doing, whether it be in front of 100 or 100,000 people, or in front of celebrities, peers, or strangers, you still have to give it your all and do your best,” Nahas said.

Marisa Nahas ‘16 (left)  and her singing group, By the Way, pose in front of “The X Factor” sign, ready for their audition.

Marisa Nahas ‘16 (left) and her singing group, By the Way, pose in front of “The X Factor” sign, ready for their audition.