Cassville High School freshman prepares for "The Voice"
Shelby Jo Taylor has one objective in life - to see how far she can go with the talents she's been given.
"I'm hoping to have a career in singing and songwriting. Letting people enjoy my company and the lyrics [I write about] my life," said Taylor who was one of the singers that performed this past weekend at The Show in Cassville.
It was announced at that event that Taylor auditioned for NBC's The Voice and was judged well enough to make it past the first round. Unfortunately, Taylor who was 13 at the time was two weeks shy of the cutoff age. She was invited to return next year and bypass the first round of auditions.
"They wrote the director's name on the back of the ticket with her phone number and email address," said Chasity Taylor, Shelby Jo's mother. "They told us to get ahold of her for this coming season and they'll take her to the next round."
This isn't the first time that Taylor has auditioned to perform for a national entertainment-sponsored contest. Three years ago, she and her brother, Triston, travelled to St. Louis to audition for a different NBC show.
"I watch the TV shows and thought this was something I wanted to do," said Taylor. "My brother and I went to try out for America's Got Talent, but we didn't make it. I still have hope so I tried for this."
Taylor had her first taste of singing in front of a live audience at the age of 4 when her father took her to a restaurant to sing karaoke. She sang "How Do I Live" by LeAnn Rimes, and her performance was an immediate success.
"People were pouring out from all parts of this place, there were people on the table," said Chasity Taylor. Shelby Jo vividly remembers leaving the restaurant that night.
"I remember walking out in the parking lot and these two older people came up to me and said, 'You did a wonderful job,' and then they gave me a $100 dollar bill," said Taylor who celebrated with her family by eating at Taco Bell.
Taylor was originally born in West Virginia, and she moved to South Carolina at an early age. When she was 10, she and her brother both entered the Coastal Carolina Fair and performed separately.
"Out of 600 people, her brother took fourth place playing [guitar] and singing a song he wrote," said Chasity Taylor. Shelby Jo won first runner-up in that contest.
The Taylor family moved to the area about three years ago following an accident where Shelby Jo's father, who was a train operator, was injured on the job. The entire family has been involved in performing in one area or another for several years. Dad plays drums in a band called Slamm Box in Eureka Springs, Ark., while mom was an extra on the television series "Army Wives" and "The Patriot", a film made in 2000 starring Mel Gibson.
For now, Chasity Taylor is content to support her daughter and see how far Shelby Jo can go with her dream. Taylor goes to Cassville High living the life of a normal freshman, singing in No Boys Allowed (NBA) a performing show choir at the school. She looks forward to the possibilities that await her with the addition of a performing arts center in the school district. She also holds a realistic perspective of her chances next year and views each experience as an opportunity to learn.
"I anticipate making it through one or two rounds if I actually put all of my effort into it," said Taylor. "I don't think I'm really that professional yet; I'm still young and still learning."