America's Got Talent host Nick Cannon began performing at the age of eight and by 15 he was headed for Hollywood, landing gigs at world-renowned comedy venues including The Improv, The Laugh Factory and the Comedy Store.
His experience as a stand-up comedian provides him with a special connection with the budding talents.
"As a fellow performer, I just know the intensity, especially when you know this is their shot at stardom, so the level of intensity and the stakes are so high that, I just empathise with them being in that position, whether it's on stage doing standup or an audition," he says.
"When you've got all the chips on the table you want to go out there and give everything and give your best performance.
"So, I just try to encourage them and try to, let them know that it's not the end of the world if it doesn't go as planned, because in their mind this is the end, this is their shot."
He and his wife Mariah Carrey have welcomed twins Monroe Cannon and Moroccan Scott last April. But being a father is no reason for the entertainer to slow down.
"If anything, I'm going to have to speed up. I've got mouths to feed now. I've got to put my kids through college, so that gives me a whole different drive.
"It gives me a different type of momentum to want to do more and be the best provider and father that I can possibly be," he says.
Although Cannon has started in the showbiz at a very young age and the show is full of young performers, the father isn't sure if he would like to see his own children take that path.
"I'm not really a fan of encouraging my kids to be entertainers. Not because I think there's anything wrong with it, I think it's beautiful when a young person is striving for their dreams, and if my children do want to do that, I'll be as fully supportive as possible.
"But, I just think there are so many other things in the world to become and to strive for. I think a lot of times we value the entertainment industry way too much when, it's all great, it's amazing, but you know I want my children to be heart surgeons or a college professor."
But the 31-year-old host is happy to give the young talents some advice.
"Have a good time. Enjoy yourself. Don't think of this as anything else but a fun performance.
"When those young people are on the side of the stage I ask them all these questions, but the last question I always ask them is, are you ready to have a good time.
"I just have to remind them that they're young and they're entertaining because they love it, not because you're trying to win US$1 million, not because your parents are going to be more proud of you, or anything of that. You're doing this because this is what you love," he says.
Looking back he says America's Got Talent has done a lot to breed a more hopeful generation that can embrace more opportunities.
"It takes ordinary people with extraordinary talent and gives them opportunity that they normally wouldn't have because they might be from Minneapolis or they live in Seattle and can't get to Hollywood or New York, and it kind of evens the playing field when it comes to entertainment.
"I mean, when you think about our You Tube show it doesn't matter where you are in America, it's a platform for you to showcase what you have. And it's not just, 'Oh, can you be the next Idol singer or can you be the greatest dancer?' It's like everyone has a skill set and we want to give the opportunity for everyone to display it," he says.
America's Got Talent, Sunday, 8.30pm on Prime
- © Fairfax NZ News
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