For every big break, Smyrna High graduate Quintin Richardson has discovered setbacks and heartbreaks. But, every setback has also opened new doors. Next week, he'll tell his story to current SHS students, hoping to inspire more kids to follow their dreams.
In 2012, Smyrna High School graduate Quintin Richardson found himself within arm's length of his dreams to be a professional performer thanks to a lucky break with the "American Idol" franchise.
He made as far as Los Angeles but things didn't work out quite like he had planned. He forgot the words to Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive" and just like that, his dreams seemed to go up in smoke.
Not so, Richardson says. He and his performing and writing partner Javon Newman, continue to write and perform as JQ, an R&B-pop duo.
"This past summer, we were in The Village Studios in Los Angeles," Richardson said. "We got to present our songs to management and got some really good feedback. It looks like we might have a future as songwriters."
Richardson added that the ups and downs of his career thus far don't weigh him down or make him doubt his dreams, though.
"One door closes and another one opens," he says.
And, that's just what he wants current Smyrna High School students to know. He and Newman have 15 minutes at the SHS Winter Pep rally to get their point across with their inspirational message, "Follow Your Dreams."
"Our message is not just about making it big as a singer," Richardson explained. "It applies to being a doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut or anything you want."
JQ's message doesn't stop with local students either. The duo is currently booked for two middle schools in Philadelphia, Penn., with plans to try to get into other schools as well.
"I really want kids to understand the process for success and that the first step isn't going to get you the corner office or fame. It might not even be the fifth or sixth step in your journey," Richardson said. "But, you have to keep at it and be willing to do what it takes, even if it means taking jobs you don't want."
With such a short time to make an impact on the kids, JQ will follow up next Wednesday's motivational talk with an acoustic performance, CD signing and poster give-away at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant and Bar on Friday, Jan. 31.
"At the Wagon Wheel, we'll be able to spend some individual time with kids who have questions," Richardson said. "But the message will be the same, just 'follow your dreams.'"