Mercedes Wilson and Candice Glover both look to share a similar message in their life work.
The delivery is just a bit different.
Wilson, 33, the founder of For Our Daughters, is a young breast cancer survivor who lives in Western New York and has visited schools across the region to inspire teen girls.
Glover, 26, grew up on Helena Island, S.C., lives in Atlanta and came of age during several appearances on “American Idol.” Her legion of supporters watched her determination to overcome criticism about her weight and lack of confidence to win Season 12 of the popular singing competition.
Wilson and Glover will join forces for the fifth annual For Our Daughters Breast Cancer Awareness Gala, to be held from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.
“It’s going to be a good time,” Glover said during a recent telephone interview. “We’re going to sing some empowering music, as well as some things people can get up and dance to. I definitely want to be able to meet and greet everyone there, and tell them thank you in person for supporting me on the show, voting for me and buying my album – and I want to show them my support.”
Those who attend can expect to hear Glover sing “I Am Beautiful,” the song that propelled her to Idol victory in 2013, the third season she’d tried out for the show. Idol judge Simon Cowell was hard on her during her earlier auditions, which inspired her to better herself in ways she could while coming to terms with things she couldn’t change.
“When you make the top three, they come to you with potential singles,” Glover said. She was approached before the finals with two songs: “Thank You,” which also is on “Music Speaks,” the album she cut after her win, and her signature song, co-written by Joleen Belle and Jaden Michaels.
“When I heard the words to ‘I Am Beautiful,’ I started crying because the words fit me,” Glover said. “Just to feel beautiful inside yourself no matter what people say is important. The song begins, ‘You say I sound funny when I laugh real loud.’ I have the loudest laugh. It might make me feel insecure but that’s who I am as a person. That’s the way that God made me.”
Glover – among those who performed last April on the final “American Idol” episode – has traveled the world since her Idol victory, and is at work on a second album in which she is doing much of the writing and arranging. She recently posted a song called “Captured” at soundcloud.com/officialcandiceg. “I wrote it. It came from my heart and my brain and my experiences,” she said. She will go on tour when the next album is released, the first time since touring with fellow Idol stars three years ago.
Meanwhile, it’s off to Buffalo, a trip she will take not only for professional but personal reasons. A close college friend was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer while the two attended the University of South Carolina in Beaufort about six years ago.
Along with Wilson, Glover will encourage women of all ages who attend the gala to know their bodies, get appropriate health exams and support each other – as well as look at life realistically as they pursue their challenges and dreams.
“I think a lot of people think that when you win ‘American Idol,’ the next day you become Beyonce,” Glover said, “but it’s defintely a battle, hard work.”
Order gala tickets, which cost $60, at forourdaughtersinc.org.