Written by Jaclyn Gallucci Wednesday, 06 November 2013 00:00
This past August, Syosset’s Clifford “CJ” Russo entered the McDonald’s voice contest, a nation-wide competition to discover, recognize and reward the most talented singers among the more than 1.8 million employees working in McDonald’s restaurants. Now, he’s among the select few competing for the win.
“Growing up performing, since age 8, singing has always been my passion,” says Russo. “I’ve explored genres from musical theater and modern pop to sacred choral music and even opera.”
CJ, a part-time employee for the McDonald’s on Jericho Turnpike in Syosset, attends Adelphi University. He was among 25 semifinalists chosen from a pool of 4,200 entries based on singing ability, creativity and stage presence.
“I’ve sung at the state and national level, in regional theater, and as a soloist with my college chorus at Adelphi University,” he says. “I often sing at work, too.”
As a semifinalist, McDonald’s flew him to Chicago to make a video recording that is now posted on McDonald’s voting site, www.voiceofmcdonalds.com.
“I love making videos and was inspired by the challenge of being a U.S. Finalist and producing my own video,” says Russo. “I hope VOM can help me advance my musical knowledge and share my talent with the world.”
If CJ makes the finals he will be going to Orlando at the end of April, where the first-place winner will be given $25,000. Voting is open to the public through December 2 at www.voiceofmcdonalds.com/voting/usa.