Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Not only does her voice sound far more mature than that of a typical 12 year old, her grace, poise and personality rival that of an 18 year old.
Karoline Rhett is an up-and-coming singer and songwriter, and she’s one of our very own.
This Mount Pleasant recording artist has just released her second music CD and will go on tour April 15 for the first time.
Karoline has been asked to join the Teen Nation Tour. The Teen Nation Tour consists of several teens who will travel the east coast singing in selected schools and venues to promote anti-bullying.
The Teen Nation Anti-Bullying Tour has been endorsed by Lee Hirsch and the movie “Bully” as well as The Great American No Bull Challenge, The No Bull Guys, Sara’s Smile, Project Believe In Me, Hold on Another Day, The Bully Project and the One Million Kids Initiative.
The Teen Nation Tour was developed by Lee Wilson with Wilson Star Entertainment in response to the need to get an anti-bullying message directly into the schools, in a format that is not only informative but entertaining. The Teen Nation, Stand and Defend Tour, has partnered with some very talented teen and preteen musicians to bring music and their message to schools and venues.
Karoline’s beautiful voice started to make an impact at around age 3, when she began to deliver versions of her favorite tunes while in the supermarket or elsewhere shopping with her mother.
About that same time, she and her mother attended an Amy Grant Christmas Concert and she asked if any children would like to come on stage. Before Karoline’s mom could look over to ask if she wanted to go up Karoline was already on stage dancing and singing - even though she didn’t know the words.
“I learned as time went by that I was good at singing and I wanted to do it for the rest of my life,” she said. “I would tell my mom in the morning on the car ride to school that I wanted to be a singer.”
She learned how to sing the old fashion way - she came by it naturally. Plus she added, she “practiced and practiced, and practiced and practiced...”
She also knows how lucky she is to have parents who have supported her ambitions 100 percent.
Her mother first took real notice of her daughter’s talent during Karoline’s first grade talent show at Mount Pleasant Academy.
“Karoline wanted to sing and I tried my hardest to talk her out of it. I didn’t want her to get up there because kids are so cruel and if she had messed up the kids might tease her. But she did it, and she nailed it and that was the first time I said oh my goodness, this little girl has something,” said Karen Rhett.
And in that moment when Karen’s daughter sang “America the Beautiful” she knew that somewhere, somehow, her daughter would be singing the rest of her life.
Karoline is self taught, although she took vocal instruction from Nancy Steadman of Mount Pleasant and from a Nashville vocal instructor, Judy Rodman.
Along the way Karoline made videos of herself and put herself out there in hopes of getting noticed.
In fact she made business cards for family and friends to hand out. One particular card made its way into the hands of veteran RCA Victor and Moonwatcher producer Joe Taylor in 2010. As a result of that meeting, she recorded her debut CD, “Stirring Rainbows,” with him and a star-studded array of artists, writers and engineers including drummers Tony “Thunder” Smith (Jeff Beck, Santana, Lou Reed) and Bryan Compton (The Wicked Felinas) and bassists Jim Blakeslee (Killer Whales) and Sean O’Bryan Smith (Keith Urban, Kenny Rogers, Lady Antebellum). Three-time Grammy winner Steve Churchyard (Katy Perry, The Pretenders, Avril Lavigne) mixed the collection with additional mixing and mastering completed by three-time Grammy winner Steve Rosenthal (The Rolling Stones, Sam Cooke, Natalie Merchant).
During this time, Karoline discovered song writing and co-wrote three songs on her debut pop rock CD with Moonwatcher Music record label.
In 2012 Karoline began working with Nashville singer/songwriter/producer Dean Miller where she recorded her second CD “Melody,” which was released this month.
The songs on “Melody” are mostly cross-over country and some pop.
“Save your heart” is the most significant song on the album to her, she said. “I think it has a great message - don’t let the world break your heart apart because one day I will find you. That’s good for children my age who must wait to find the one they love.”
Karoline’s anti-bullying tour starts April 19 and ends May 3. She’ll travel across the east coast beginning in Delaware and ending in North Carolina. She’ll also be performing at Wonderfest in Charleston. Christine Osborne, owner of Wonder Works will bring her company’s Wonderfest to Hampton Park on Friday, April 5 the day before the Cooper River Bridge Run. The 2013 Kids Run and Wonderfest is expected to draw thousands of children and families from across the Lowcountry for a day of exercise, games, toys and activities to raise money for four local children’s charities: Hugs for Harper, Happy Wheels, Abby’s Friends and Keys for Hope.
“The biggest challenge for me is getting myself out there and getting everyone to listen. There are so many people doing the same thing so I had to find a way to stand out,” she explained.
Her advice to other kids looking to make a splash, “always be yourself and don’t change for anything.”
For Karoline her voice stands out and she’s driven to have her own style and own personality.
Her inspiration is Taylor Swift who she said has been there for her fans, never changed or tried to fit in with everyone else and is not going down a wrong path.
With the help of her parents, Karoline is easily able to stay grounded despite her rising fame.
Like any kid, she takes time to play with her dogs and talk to her friends. “It takes a lot of time to perform, so I make it a point to stay in touch with my friends. I make time for them,” she said. “Afterall, you don’t get to be a kid forever.”
Karen said she spends a lot of time with Karoline. Each night they sit together and respond to each and every message her fans send her. But the key is that they do it together.
Karen guides Karoline on how to respond. “We have a really great relationship to begin with. She’s always been comfortable asking me something. We have a really good bond and I think because of that it is so easy to explain to her what I feel is right and what’s wrong and if she’s responding in a way that is not appropriate she understands when I tell her.”
Karen said that talking and communicating with Karoline has made her child become the person she is today.
“It is so important that if a child asks a question a parent must be able to answer it in the most honest way so at whatever age they can understand and relate to the answer.”
In addition, her mother and father have been at every appearance Karoline has made. They have followed, guided and supported Karoline’s career as a family unit.
Karen said at first it was a lot for the family to adapt to.
In just six short months, they were back and forth to Los Angeles meeting people and that’s when everything just took off.
“But we’ve done all of this together - learning and communicating and being this very tight-knit family. I think she gets a kick out of seeing her father and I enjoy her career with her and she sees the pride on our faces,” said Karen.
Social networking has helped to excel Karoline’s career. She often wakes up in the morning to find she has 100 more friend requests overnight. In fact, 44,000 Fans follow her on Facebook and she answers every message, which you would never expect. Young fans her age think that is wonderful and Karoline tries to make her fans feel important - because it is important to Karoline.
But with her skyrocketing success, she may not be able to maintain those responses very long.
And while mom still paces backstage and breaths ragged breaths of worry, Karoline is as cool as a cucumber when she takes the stage. Just like she is in her mannerisms.