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Sunday, October 20, 2013

From Kentucky to Chasing Nashville, four teen singers chase dreams in Lifetime series

Special to KyForward
 

A new Lifetime television docu-series takes a peek into the lives of four teenage singers from Appalachia, including Savannah Little from Pikeville, as they follow their dreams to become country music sensations. Twists include “stage parents” and another Kentucky connection – three up-and-coming music talents.
 

i1ndex-ChasingNashville-logo

Chasing Nashville will be like no other unscripted singing show on television,” says Rob Sharenow, executive vice president and general manager of Lifetime. “This is not a polished studio competition. Our show tracks the actual reality of a group of amazingly talented young singers who want to be country music’s stars of tomorrow. It will dive deep into their lives backstage and at home as they try to achieve what countless young Appalachian singers have tried before.”
 

Chasing Nashville will premiere on the network Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 10 p.m.
 

Through extensive access to the home and budding professional lives of four ambitious teen singers from Appalachia, the series will follow the high drama and competition they encounter as they and their equally determined families lay everything on the line in pursuit of fame and fortune in country music.
 

Pressure mounts onstage for the young hopefuls as they are coached and recruited for high-profile showcases by some of country’s best scouts, including renowned Grammy-winning producer Keith Thomas (Trisha Yearwood’s “You’re Where I Belong”) and respected writer/producer Deanna Walker (The Dixie Chicks).
 

Kentucky teens in the cast:
 

 Savannah Little (Photos from Lifetime)

Savannah Little (Photos from Lifetime)

From Pikeville, Savannah Little, 15, comes with a mom who manages every aspect of her career and spares no expense to ensure that she shines.
 

When did you realize you wanted to be a country singer?
 

I have been singing and dancing ever since I can remember. I realized I wanted to be a country singer the first time I performed in front of a large crowd. I was nine-years-old at the time.
 

What is your favorite song to perform and why?
 

My favorite song to perform is a song called “Apologies” by Grace Potter.  This is a great song because it is so soulful.
 

What are your hobbies besides singing?
 

Besides singing, I love to dance. Dancing clears my head and makes me feel happy. I also love hanging out with friends, and spending time with my brother and best friend, Elias.
 

If you don’t end up being a professional singer, what other job would you like to have?
 

It’s hard to imagine not being a singer/dancer. If I am not singing, I will be teaching dance and music.
 

What has been your biggest obstacle while chasing your singing dreams?
 

The biggest obstacle for me is balancing my time, but I believe even athletes my age have the same obstacle. If you play a sport, it is competitive and if you want to be a major player, you have to work hard.
 

About Robyn (mom):
What’s your current occupation?
 

I worked as a senior sales executive for 16 years, but left that job to spend more time with my children. I currently work as a branch office administrator for a financial institution.
 

What inspired you to help your child become involved in the music industry?
 

When Savannah was 5-years-old, she was sitting on the kitchen table, and my parents were in town to watch her perform in the Nutcracker. Savannah started singing “Jesus Loves Me,” and my parents and I stopped what we were doing, and just stood there in shock at the voice that we were hearing. She would sing all the time, in the car, in her room, everywhere. I wanted to give Savannah opportunities to grow as a vocalist and a performer. 
 

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Julia Knight (Photo from Lifetime)

Julia Knight (Photo from Lifetime)

Lexington’s Julia Knight, 16, is determined to make it in the music industry. She has been playing the guitar, writing her own songs and performing since she was just 12-years-old. Julia is a dance major at Lexington’s SCAPA. She has been cast in several productions at Lexington Opera House including Oliver, Anne of Green Gables, Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, Peter Pan and the production of Aladdin, Jr.
 

When did you realize you wanted to be a singer?
 

I knew I wanted to be involved with music for the rest of my life shortly after I started playing guitar (at 12) and writing songs.
 

What is your favorite song to perform and why?
 

This answer can change every few weeks for me. I really enjoy performing original songs and songs that engage the audience to sing along. I have played anything from an Elvis tune to “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley and “Price Tag” by Jesse J. These songs are fun for the audience, no matter how large or small the crowd is.
 

What are your hobbies besides singing?
 

Aside from singing and writing, I have been a contemporary dance major the past seven years at the local youth performing arts school, I play tennis and I love horses. I’ve owned my horse, Wildfire, since I was 11.
 

If you don’t end up being a professional singer, what other job would you like to have?
 

If singing doesn’t work out as my career, I will definitely be involved in the music industry. I will pursue writing or something else in the music business profession. I would love to attend Belmont College in Nashville.
 

About Gina (mom):
What’s your current occupation? 
 

Business Development and Financial Analyst
 

What inspired you to help your child become involved in the music industry?
 

Julia became interested in guitar at the age of 11 and received her first guitar for her 12th birthday. She was a natural with the guitar and grew rapidly from playing and singing at her first guitar recital after six weeks; to playing at public events and coffee shops performing covers, writing her own songs; to playing her own shows.
 

What do you think your daughter is learning most about while being involved in singing?
 

Julia’s much more than a singer, she’s an artist who not only performs but creates music.   She has learned how to turn an idea into a song people can relate to.  She recently started co-writing which is a new experience for her learning to collaborate with others and sharing ideas.  She’s learned discipline and hard work pay off.
 

* * * * * * * * * * * *
 

Tyra   (Photo from Lifetime)

Tyra Madison (Photo from Lifetime)

Tyra Madison of Pine Top started singing with her Papaw when she was just 4-years-old and now she can’t imagine doing anything else.
 

When did you realize you wanted to be a country singer?
 

Very early, when I was 4. I actually used to sing more pop and Disney channel type music, and I was even a Hannah Montana impersonator. I also was influenced by my papaw and his love of bluegrass. I sang “Rocky Top” about a million times, it was everyone’s favorite! I think when I watched Carrie Underwood win American Idol and become a successful country singer is when it sealed the deal.
 

What is your favorite song to perform and why?
 

I love up-beat tempo songs, ones that I can sing with an attitude. I would say my favorite is my new original that I helped co-write, my second song ever, it’s called “High Heels Fool Ya” and it’s a song about myself, I think other country gals will be able to relate because it’s about being feminine.  I hope you get to hear it soon! As far as covers go, I enjoy Grace Potter’s “Paris (Oh, La, La),” it’s just so much fun to sing!
 

What are your hobbies besides singing?
 

I love dance and I am on a competition dance team and I have been since the sixth grade. I take jazz, lyrical, tap, ballet and I also love hip-hop. Theatre is also a big part of my life and I have been cast in around 10 regional productions, most recently “Grease.” I also like hanging out with my friends, going to movies and local sporting events and I am obsessed with fishing!
 

If you don’t end up being a professional singer, what other job would you like to have?
 

I really can’t see myself doing anything else other than singing and performing. I am blessed, if I don’t “make it” I guess I will take over my dad’s car dealership empire.
 

About Katrina (mom):
What’s your current occupation?
 

I am self-employed, I have car dealerships….I am a full time “mom-ager”
 

What inspired you to help your child become involved in the music industry?
 

She started going with her Papaw to Pickin n Grinnin, a local place where musicians meet one a week to play and sing, when she was 4….I didn’t go, so I had no idea she was going and getting up and singing. When she was in Kindergarten she asked to be in the school talent show and I asked her what she wanted to do and she said sing. I said OK, still clueless. She got up in front of the entire student body, kindergarten through 12th grade (Tyra went to a small private school), and sang “You are my Sunshine” acapella, blew everyone away and won the talent show. Ever since then she has said when she grows up she wants to be a singer on a stage.
 

Would you call yourself a stage mom?
 

Yes/no, I would say yes because I do everything to have to do to get Tyra as prepared as I can…I organize, curl, iron, pack, critique, gather, tape, glue, video, style, chauffeur, schedule, etc. However, I am not the pushy, demanding, do-anything-I-have-to-do-to-get-my-child-ahead-type person.
 

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Celeste (Photo from Lifetime)

Celeste Turner (Photo from Lifetime)

From Prestonsburg, Celeste Turner has multigenerations of her family behind her.
 

When did you realize you wanted to be a country singer?
 

I have always wanted to be a famous singer. When I was 9-years-old, I auditioned and was chosen to sing in the Kentucky Opry Junior Pros. I sang onstage in front of 800 people once a week, during that summer. That was when I knew that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.
 

What is your favorite song to perform and why?
 

“Gone” by Montgomery Gentry, because it is so fun to perform and the crowd always loves the song and gets into it.
 

What are your hobbies besides singing?
 

Dancing, painting and writing
 

If you don’t end up being a professional singer, what other job would you like to have?
 
Lawyer or Doctor
 

About Angela (mom):
What’s your current occupation?
 

I work at Justice and Stamper Insurance Agency.
 

What inspired you to help your child become involved in the music industry?
 

When Celeste was 3-years-old she was watching a TV commercial and she said, “ Mommy, I want to be on TV just like that little girl.” She would go around the house singing all the time and she said that singing made her so happy.
 

Would you call yourself a stage mom?
 

No, I would not. I let her have a voice in what she does and doesn’t do when it comes to her singing. However, if she commits to performing somewhere, I make sure she practices and looks and sounds her very best.
 

Other principles in the cast are: Autumn Blair of West Virginia, Helena Hunt of Clyde, N.C., and Lauren Marie Presley of Red Water, Texas.
 

Catch a sneak peek of the show here.

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