12/18/2009 9:28:00 AM Eight-year-old goes from PV Idol to recording studio
Eight-year-old Kela Jadae Hedtke says she's not quite ready to be a professional entertainer - "Maybe when I am nine," she added.
Photo courtesy of Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
PRESCOTT - She was a finalist in the PV Idol contest, performs with a professional band, and has a record producer knocking on her door. Eight-year-old Kela Hedtke of Prescott Valley is going places.
"It's fun. I like it when they clap when I'm on stage," said the shy singer at her mother's hair salon in Prescott Valley.
"She started singing when she was about 3 or 4 years old," said Jodi, her mother. "Even in the car she'd be dancing around."
Until the PV Idol contest this past June, not many people outside of Kela's family were aware of her amazing singing voice.
"I was a judge at PV Idol, and when I heard her sing I thought she was really something else," said Chris Goff, her vocal trainer and member of Prescott's MacDaddy Band. "It takes natural talent to carry a tune in pitch at her age."
Goff offered to be Kela's vocal coach and her mother readily agreed.
"You want to do it now before her voice changes," said Goff, who has performed professionally around the country including the Grand Ol' Opry. "If you sing incorrectly, your vocal chords rub together and you don't want that."
Record producer Keith Waters heard Kela sing at Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar in Prescott Valley, and asked about producing a CD with her.
"She's going into the studio to make a CD," Jodi said.
Although MacDaddy bills itself as a country rock band, the four ex-touring professional band members play music "across the board," Goff said. That's fine with Kela. She likes most music, but favors hip-hop.
"I like it all, but I want to dance and sing hip-hop because it has a lot of beat," Kela said while strumming a new short-neck acoustic guitar.
In addition to her vocal lessons, she is learning to play guitar and keyboards. She switched from playing electric guitar to acoustic because the electric guitar was too large for her, Jodi explained.
"She wants to do it all," said her grandfather, Mike Hedtke.
After playing and singing a near-perfect rendition of the Dixie Chicks' "Cowboy Take Me Away," Kela admits she gets nervous performing for small audiences.
"But put her in front of 500 people and she's fine," Mike said.
After Kela and Goff performed a duet of Miley Cyrus' "The Climb," Goff said that he is not worried that Kela does not prance around the stage during her performances.
"The performance part will come later," he said. "The important part now is getting her voice ready. I don't want her to become like a lot of professional singers that have to rely on machines to correct their voices."
Kela said she is "excited" about making a CD, but she's not sure she is ready to be famous.
"I want to be famous, but I'm not sure if I'm too young right now," she said. However, she thinks 9 years old is a good age to become famous.
Kela performs with MacDaddy Band at 6 p.m., Dec. 19, at Pinon Pines Bar and Grill, 2701 Highway 89, north of Prescott.
"If you want to hear Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Sara Evans and the Dixie Chicks altogether, then you have to hear Kela," grandfather Mike said.