She was exposed to the spotlight from a very young age, singing before she could barely walk. Mount Pleasant singer and songwriter Karoline Rhett has serenaded the music community again, except this time on an international stage.
Last month in Atlanta, the 18 year old country-pop artist was invited to perform at the annual International Singer Songwriters Association (ISSA) Awards in Atlanta. Rhett elected to sing a song she wrote, “Brave” and walked away with silver in the Young Adult Artist of the Year Award category.
As Rhett was walking up to accept the award she realized she forgot her cue cards for the speech. This impromtu experience taught her to learn to relax, let go of the nerves and quit worrying about being perfect in the public eye.
The shiny piece of hardware is gratifying to Rhett, but what means even more is the lifelong process it’s taken to get to this point in her career. To her, the milestone is a metaphor for her musical success.
From singing in the supermarket at 3 years old to getting on stage at an Amy Grant musical, first grade talent shows and National Anthems at sporting events like the New York City Marathon; Rhett showed all the telltale signs that she was going to pursue music well beyond the confines of a school or church chorus.
Early on in her elementary years, Rhett and her parents decided that if she was going to seriously pursue music as a lifelong career, she would need to be home schooled for the remainder of her grade school education to allow for a flexible travel schedule. She dreamed about singing and songwriting for as long as she can remember, but never could she realistically imagine where her musically journey would take her.
After debuting her first album “Stirring Rainbows” at 12 years old, the normalcy of her life began to change ever so drastically. Rhett spent much of her early teenage years like most musicians do, on the road.
She would go on to travel back and forth to Nashville, working with out-of-town and local vocal coaches including Nanci Steadman (Shipman). After dropping her second album “Melody” in 2013, at 14 years old, Rhett signed with a Nashville producer. She was later nominated for Female Artist of the Year and Song of the Year by Nashville Universe.
During this time, Rhett learned a great deal more than just how to fine tune her vocal cords and balance the butterflies in her stomach. She’s learned the art of media skills, red-carpet skills, nutrition, stage presence and attire.
Amidst her travels, which were becoming a regular part of her lifestyle, Rhett found herself performing in front of VH1 executive producers in Los Angeles. However, she never let the glitz and the glam go to her head.
“There’s a lot of people out there who like to take pictures of everything and post it so other people can see how much of a great life they have, but sometimes it’s good just to take it in for yourself,” Rhett said.
Somehow, she’s found a way to remain even keel in an industry that often times inflates one’s ego. Rhett confesses that her innate humbleness has been the secret to her success thus far.
“Keep your family close to you and always have stuff outside your career that you enjoy, something you can go back to, to remember who you are,” Rhett said. “Always be humble and take a look around you, take it all in and really appreciate what life has to offer.”
Rhett admits that being a socialite in today’s social media scene can be overwhelming at times. Especially when you’re being bombarded with a flood of fan mail on a daily basis. However, Rhett is so appreciative and grateful of her fan base that she responds to virtually every fan on a nightly basis with the help of her mother, Karen Rhett.
For Rhett, it’s not about being in the spotlight, her music has transcended further than just what you hear in your earbuds. In 2013, she went on the Teen Nation Tour, where she used her rhythm and words to deliver a powerful anti-bullying message. She is also a member of Tunes for Tots, an organization made up of nearly two-thousand artists from around the world putting on shows to benefit charities for children.
To this day, all of her songs she writes include undertones of being yourself, loving yourself and healing from heartbreak. Rhett confided that some of her creativity and inspiration is drawn from personal experiences.
Rhett hopes that listeners can relate to the messages in her songs and helps them cope with whatever they’re going through. At the end of the day, if her lyrics get through to at least one individual, than she feels like she’s done her service to the music community.
When she’s not in the studio honing her craft or on stage entertaining, Rhett enjoys spending time with her dogs or cheering for the New England Patriots.
To date, Rhett has recorded three albums and her goal is to have her fourth by the end of the year. Her favorite song so far is in the works and she cannot wait for it to be released. To listen along to Rhett, visit karolinemusic.com.