For the past three years I’ve made a point to go to the State Fair. Usually I go for the food. Anything you can think of – on a stick. But the fact that I’ve been watching my weight had deterred me in years past. The last three years I’ve gone to the fair because of the amateur talent contest. Each year the finals are at the Grandstand in front of several thousand people. I have gone to the fair because of Josie.
Josie is the daughter of a good friend of mine from college. Her dad, Brian, and I studied Calculus together. We were good friends throughout college. He went on to become a doctor, get married and have kids.
The first year, 2009, I sat by myself in the crowd during the finals. I had no idea what to expect when Josie got on stage. She was 10 years old at the time. She sang Bubbly by Colbie Caillat. I remember sitting in the crowd and when she started singing, feeling the collective group dynamic of, “Wow, this girl is GOOD.” Josie didn’t win that night. But is was amazing to see how comfortable a ten-year old was on stage in front of a few thousand people.
In 2010, Josie made it to the finals again. This time I sat with her parents and grandparents. She got 3rd place this time.
Last spring, Josie released two singles on iTunes. They were both covers. One was a cover of Taylor Swift’s “The Story of Us.” The other was a cover of One Republic’s “Stop and Stare.” I like her version of The Story of Us way better than Taylor Swift’s. I, of course, downloaded them.
About a month ago, I made my way to the state fair. I went to one of the preliminary rounds to get into the show at the grandstand. I had some meetings that day and by the time I got to the fair I actually missed Josie’s performance. But I did find her, and her family and hung out with them that evening. Josie won the open division for pre-teens and made it into the grandstand show. The next night, she won first place in the county fair talent contest. So, she made it to the grandstand two different ways. I went up north, so I didn’t see the grandstand performance. Josie got 1st place this year. She performed her original song, Sunshine.
On September 14th, Josie released 3 more songs in iTunes. All 3 are her original songs. They’re really good! Check them out.
In my classes, I play music when the kids are working on their homework. I’ve played Josie’s stuff for them. They can’t believe that she’s only 12. I wish Josie could hear what they say. Because they’re closer to her age, I think that it means a lot that they like what they hear.
Last week I was talking with a few of my Hmong girls while a Josie song was on. One of them actually had heard all of Josie’s music on her Guitar Josie YouTube site. It was so cool that one of my kid’s had heard of her already!
Josie is in 7th grade. She is a totally sweet girl. The music stuff is stuff that she’s doing on her own and gets her parents’ support. She’s got a manager that is getting her music in places that people can hear it. She’s extremely talented and I’m sure that eventually she’ll be known all over. She’s already got record people watching her and calls from a national tv show. It will definitely be fun to watch the progression of this talented young girl!