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Young Stars, Big Voices

July 28, 2009

Originally uploaded by Hillary the mammal.

Some of my earliest memories are with music.

I used to spend hours crouched against my tape recorder, singing songs softly so no one could hear. They would mostly be songs I learned in church. I would get so passionate about them and filled with an overwhelming feeling that is difficult to describe. Sing just felt right, and came so naturally to me. I still maintain this passion today.

There are many kids who are born with this innate connection to music, and some possess extraordinary gifts. Here are some of my favorites:

Bryan Wilson

Bryan Wilson emerged on the gospel music scene with the Mississippi Mass Choir around the age of 12 with an unusually powerful rendition of “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.” He naturally possessed the control, tone and vibrato that many singers spend a lot of time developing. His performance of “Yahweh,” recorded months after his initial debut, remains a constant favorite of mine. I’m even trying to imitate some of the vocal runs that he does! In this video, he is battling the late Rev. James Moore, one of gospel music’s most dynamic voice, and certainly holding his own, wowing the crowd in the process.

Charice Pempengco

Philippine-born Charice Pempengco is a mesmerizing young singer who astounded audiences when she first performed “…And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” on a Korean television show at age 15. She became an internet phenomenon soon after, garnering millions of YouTube hits. She is now under the mentorship of music legend David Foster, who is undoubtedly preparing her to be the next great star.


Brandy emerged on the scene in 1994 at age 14 with a fresh face and (at the time) very current sound. Soon after, she became the face of young teen pop and R&B, with over 25 millions records sold, a hit television show and endorsement deals from Covergirl. At the heart of her stardom, though, lies a rare talent. She now maintains a cult following and is often considered ” a singer’s singer” with her perfect pitch, intricate harmonies and unique, raspy tone.

Frankie Lymon

13 year-old Frankie Lymon, with The Teenagers, reached #1 in 1956 with “Why Do Fools Fall in Love.” Frankie charisma and charm, and strong soprano voice, became a hit with the teenage market, and a slew of other hits followed. Tragically, Frankie died of drug overdose in his twenties, but his musical legacy and influence continue today.

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