Three Young Artists Light Up the Stage at Night of Covenant House Stars Gala  

Former homeless youth performers Hilary and Shanai at Night of Covenant House Stars 2024 gala

On Monday, May 20, Covenant House International hosted its highly anticipated Night of Covenant House Stars event, showcasing the remarkable talents of three Covenant House New York residents: Shanai, Hilary, and Track. The evening was a testament to the immense potential and passion of these young artists, leaving the audience in awe of their performances. 

Hilary: The Rapper with a Message of Hope 

Hilary's love for music began at a young age, inspired by live Christian music and later, rap. At 12, she fell in love with the rapid-fire lyrics and the freedom rap provided. Her music is a blend of emotional depth and motivational messages, aiming to inspire and uplift her listeners. 

Having moved from Venezuela only five months before entering Covenant House, Hilary has embraced the support and opportunities provided. Her involvement with Republic Records and access to the music room at Covenant House have significantly advanced her musical journey. 

Hilary's performance alongside Shanai was her first in the United States, and she delivered it with palpable excitement and passion. Her rapping about overcoming challenges and striving for better resonated with many, showcasing her ability to connect with and inspire her audience.  

Covenant House youth performers Hilary and Shanai at Night of Covenant House Stars gala 2024 at NYC Javits Center

Shanai: Musical Exploration and Self-Discovery  

Shanai, a 23-year-old multi-instrumentalist and singer, has had a lifelong relationship with music. From her early days in school chorus and church music sessions to mastering various instruments in middle and high school, her journey has been one of continuous learning and growth. Despite her broad musical abilities, Shanai's true passion lies in the bass and drums, instruments she believes carry the essence of a song. 

Shanai says her college years were transformative, marked by a profound exploration of self and spirituality. “Studying abroad in Prague and Sydney, I dealt with depression and self-discovery, which led to me ultimately crafting my own major in creative storytelling.” Shanai's senior project focused on the impact of capitalism on human connection, reflecting her deep-seated belief in love and community over profit. 

At the event, Shanai, along with Hilary, performed an original song about the meaning of home, set to the music of rapper, Future's "Wait for You." Shanai's soulful singing paired with Hilary's dynamic rapping created a powerful and moving performance that resonated deeply with the audience. 

Youth performer Track at Night of Covenant House Stars gala 2024 at Javits Center NYC

Track: The Poet with Deep Roots 

Track, a talented poet, captivated the audience with his spoken word performance. Writing poetry since the fifth grade, Track's work is a blend of sensory experiences and storytelling, meticulously crafted to convey relatable themes. His preparation for the event involved numerous rehearsals, fine-tuning his performance “to make sure the audience felt every word,” he said. 

Track’s work contained unique metaphors for his own growth and resilience.  During his performance, Track's words painted vivid pictures and evoked deep emotions, leaving the audience reflecting on the layers of meaning embedded in his poetry.  

A Night to Remember  

Night of Covenant House Stars was not just a showcase of talent but a celebration of agency and hope. Shanai, Hilary, and Track demonstrated that with passion and support, young people can overcome adversity and shine brightly. Their performances were a highlight of the evening, leaving an indelible mark on everyone present. 

As these young artists continue to pursue their dreams, they embody the spirit of Covenant House: a place where potential is nurtured, and futures are transformed. Keep an eye on these rising stars, as their journeys are only just beginning. 

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