Sara Bareilles might be known for her 2007 hit “Love Song,” but audience members heard a different tone from Bareilles when junior musical theatre major Paige Matteson sang her song “Gravity.” 

“I just love this song, it’s so pretty and it’s so relatable to everyone. It’s just gorgeous,” Matteson said. “I’m a girl. I’ve been in love. I’ve been sad. It just seems, like, so universal about, like, any sort of relationship that it maybe isn’t as good as you think it is and then you realize that you’re like, ‘Hm, maybe I need to step away from this.’”

Matteson was one of 18 performing acts during Ball State's 33rd annual Talent Search.

2017 Talent Search Winners:

  • Overall Winner: Paige Matteson, “Gravity” 
  • Female Vocal: Paige Matteson, “Gravity” 
  • Male Vocal: Joshua Goodrum-Green, “Her Voice”
  • Original Composition: Terica Anthony and JT Butler, “Too Far”
  • Musical Ensemble: Terica Anthony and Michael Hassel, “Anything Worth Holding On To”
  • Instrumental: Elizabeth Golliher, “I Don’t Love Nobody/Orange Blossom”
  • Freestyle: BSU Jump Ropers

RELATED: Students compete for scholarships in Talent Search

Matteson, who won overall and female vocal categories, started singing when she was in sixth-grade, but began to take it more seriously when she joined show choir her freshman year of high school. 

Matteson was the last singer to perform, but she spent most of the show in the audience, watching the performances.

“I sat in here until the last moment, until they made me go because I wanted to see everyone and just being in the audience made my nerves go away because everybody was just up there having a good time,” Matteson said. “Everyone, like, once they were done, came down and everyone was so supportive. It was like a little cute family hug down there.”

Despite living an hour away, Matteson’s parents came to watch her perform. Angela Matteson, Paige’s mother, said Paige’s singing abilities weren’t always center stage. 

“She usually sang quietly away from us. We never really heard her sing until she got into middle school or high school,” Angela said. “Earlier, we were blown away.”

“I’m just really proud of her. She’s overcome a lot of different stuff and just to pursue what she loves and to be accomplished at it makes a really proud mom moment." 

Chair of Talent Search, Tyler Hostetler, was a contestant in Talent Search for the past three years prior to his role as chair. The biggest difference, he said, was making sure every contestant had what they needed to perform.

For Hostetler, who won the freestyle category in 2015, presenting the winners gave him a different perspective.  

“It was great seeing the names on there and being able to watch their reaction because I’ve been in their shoes when I won a category before and it was just like, ‘Man, I’m giving that to someone else.’”  

Contact Mary Freda with comment at or on Twitter at @Mary_Freda1.