Katrina Elam

Katrina Elam can write and sing a contemporary country song with wit and charm, but when she started out she was your everyday child singer, belting out songs as loud as she could. For some reason she decided to tone down her performance at the 4-H talent show in her home state of Oklahoma. She was only nine and her heartfelt delivery made her mother cry. Elam rushed to see what was wrong with her mother, and when the young singer found out it was her performance that drew the tears, she knew music was her calling. She spent time practicing on a karaoke machine and performing at weddings and corporate events. By the time she was 15 the Oklahoma Country Music Association and the Oklahoma Opry had named her the state's female singer of the year. When Reba McEntire and Vince Gill visited the state, they invited Elam to perform with them and took word back to Nashville that there was a superstar back in Oklahoma waiting to be discovered. Elam had started writing songs at this point and sent a demo to Nashville. Warner-Chappell Music took one listen to her tape and offered Elam -- now 16 -- a publishing contract. By 17 she had moved to Nashville. She was satisfied with being a writer at first but soon desired to be the singer of the songs she was writing. Only a month of performances for record executives had past before Elam was offered a recording contract by Universal South. The label released her self-titled debut in October 2004. Turn Me Up arrived in 2007. ~ David Jeffries

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