My story, as so many, begins with a dream. As a child, I had but one desire: to sing, sharing my voice with anyone who would listen. But what started as a young girl’s fairly-tale dream quickly blossomed into a stirring passion – one that I would stop at nothing to realize. Looking back, I’m not even sure I had a choice; as romantic as it may sound, I still can’t shake the feeling that singing is what I was made to do.
Growing up in Grandville, Michigan, I took every opportunity made available to me to use my voice, singing at my church, competing in talent shows, starring in musicals – I even started a vocal group with two of my best friends called “The God Squad”. I also began studying piano at the age of seven; Music was the air I breathed.
As my teenage years passed, I began my college career at North Central University in Minneapolis. Studying vocal performance in a collegiate atmosphere further-stoked the fire within me – but, as many students do, I faced the financial struggles associated with pursuing a higher education. Even with my amazing job at Ruth’s Chris Steak House- I was in need of major financial help. About this time I discovered that my favorite pop brand – Dr. Pepper – was accepting submissions for their Million Dollar Tuition Giveaway. Having ALWAYS loved Dr. Pepper and being a broke college student, submitting a video seemed like a no-brainer. I was hopeful that the appeal I made to my webcam might land me one of the smaller scholarships offerings – I never could’ve imagined I’d be chosen as one of the finalists and given the opportunity to compete in Dr Pepper’s SEC Championship Halftime Tuition Throw! Fate walked through the doors at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in the form of an incredible NFL player. Mr. Ray Edwards (formerly with the Minnesota Vikings, now with the Atlanta Falcons) graciously offered his advice on the best way to throw the football- The Chest Pass.
On the field right before the Dr Pepper Tuition Throw took place- I remember closing my eyes and singing the hymn “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” and although 80,000 fans were screaming behind me- I felt a peace come over me I could never fully explain. I walked onto the field and by the grace of God won the contest- and a tuition check for $123,000. 20 days later I was moved into Music City and ready to chase my dreams-something I could not have done without the help from Dr Pepper.
Within weeks of making the move to Nashville, TN, opportunities came to me so quickly; it was clearly meant to be. The opportunity and privilege to write, create and share my music with you brings my dream to life. The faith I have in Christ, and the support of my family is the foundation I’ve been building on since day one. Their love and encouragement have carried me to where I am today, and continue to sustain me in my victories and defeats each and every day. As you can see, it’s been one seriously providential ride. Each day I wake up here in Music City, still feeling like that little girl from Grandville – just awake in a dream.
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