Dartmouth singer picked from audience to perfom with his musical idols

Dec 7, 2022

If there are two musicians Dartmouth resident and singer Jordan Paiva especially reveres, they are 2006 “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee and her husband, Grammy Award-winning composer and producer David Foster.

“I always loved her voice,” he said of McPhee. “And David is just a legend — he’s a musical genius.”

Recently, he and his wife saw the two perform at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Little did Paiva know that he would be singing with them that night.

“It was nuts,” he said. “Just a dream come true.”

During the middle of the show, the house lights came on and Foster asked the crowd if there was anyone who could sing.

Immediately, Paiva’s wife yelled that her husband could. According to Paiva, Foster nearly chose someone else since he doesn’t want someone who is being pointed at,” but someone who really wants to sing. 

Paiva has been known to get crowds moving outside the Maria Connor Center for Active Living, but he was in shock that one of his musical idols acknowledged him. Nevertheless, he said he could do it.

“You just have to put yourself in a place and do what you do best,” he said.  “And that’s what I did.”

Though frozen at first, Paiva quickly chose to duet “The Prayer,” a song originally recorded by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion for the 1998 animated film “Quest for Camelot.” Foster co-wrote the song, and McPhee performed it with Bocelli in 2008. 

When he sat down after the end of the song, Paiva was shaking.

“I couldn’t believe that actually happened,” he said.

Paiva was humble about his performance, saying he “flubbed a line.” When he noticed McPhee smiling at him while he sang, he got nervous.

Still, those who attended the Providence performance had nothing but rave reviews of Paiva’s singing abilities.

“It probably took us 25 minutes to leave the theater because we were talking with so many people,” he said. 

If singing with two of his idols wasn’t enough, Paiva got to meet Foster and McPhee after the show, taking photos to commemorate a night he will never forget. 

As Foster was getting into his car, he told Paiva: “You did one hell of a job.” 

“That was just surreal,” Paiva said. 

This isn’t the first time Paiva has been selected from the audience to showcase his pipes. In 2011, the Dartmouth resident dueted at the former Dunkin’ Donuts Center with singer-songwriter Josh Groban, an artist Foster discovered.

“Providence just happens to be my lucky charm,” Paiva said with a laugh.

Paiva is hoping that his luck will follow him to Boston next year, where he and his wife (along with their mothers) will see McPhee and Foster perform again next year.

He is already going through a setlist to determine which song he’ll sing if picked again.

“I got to make a great comeback,” he said.

A video of Paiva’s impromptu performance with McPhee and Foster is attached to this story.