Singing is not something that just anyone can do. It takes talent, heart and a touch of spunk – qualities that Isaac Mianscum most surely possesses.

The song that propelled the 24-year-old Mistissini sensation to the third round of this year’s Canadian Idol contest was “You Raise Me Up,” by Josh Groban. It’s fitting, because Mianscum had mentioned to the judges that he was doing this to inspire the Cree youth.

“The second round I was supposed to do five songs, but I only ended up doing two and I passed,” he said. “They asked me why I wanted to be a Canadian Idol and I told them that back home our youth has really low self-esteem and I want to demonstrate to them that I have a talent to be in this competition and hopefully our youth will look at me and do the same.”

Mianscum said Cree youth have all kinds of artistic talent and that he wanted success at Canadian Idol to inspire them. “The judges were really inspired by my answer and they said, ‘We ask the other competitors the same question and all they say is we want to be a Canadian Idol, we want to be famous, but you have really inspired us and you’re going on to the next round.’”

Mianscum, who was accompanied by his parents and his sister, made it through three rounds, the first two of which were preliminary rounds.

In the very first preliminary round Mianscum was confident but didn’t like his chances of being the one picked out of his group of five. “There was this girl that was in my group who sang like an angel. I thought she had a really good shot. So when it came time to make the decisions the judges told us that only one person was moving on. Then after a few minutes they came back and said, ‘Isaac you got it! You’re going to the next round!’ I was really overwhelmed.”

Mianscum told the Nation that his talent comes naturally and he was actually discovered by accident. “I used to always sing in my room and one day when I was 15 I was singing really loud because I thought no one was home. Then my dad knocked on the door and he asked if it was a tape or if it was me. I was shy at first but that’s when I realized I was good.”

Mianscum, who works at Meechum’s Store, now sings at various public events in and around Mistissini.

His downfall came in the third round when his nerves started to kick in and he sang a little off-key. “I was off key for one of the songs so they asked me to sing something in a lower key. I sang ‘Angel’ by Lionel Ritchie and that’s when three of them told me that they would have said yes, but I had to learn to sing better in a low key.”

Mianscum said that he will continue to work on his voice – and the lower keys – when he comes back next year.

“I didn’t feel frustrated or sad, I just felt happy that I got that far. For the past two years I’ve wanted to audition for Canadian Idol and this year I got my chance. I’m coming back next year for sure. It’s fun meeting new people,” he said. “I want to encourage the youth, or anyone who has a talent to sing or other types of talents, to pick it up and use it.”