Bolivar native Karli Chayne (Karli Duren) wrapped up 2012 with a trip back home for the holidays and a gig at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev. But for this high school junior and aspiring country music star, 2013 may be her biggest year yet.
Karli sang the National Anthem at the National Finals Rodeo Dec. 9. The event, organized by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, is one of the most important championship rodeo events in the U.S. The 10-day event is aired live on the Great American Country cable station.
Singing for a crowd of 18,000 packed into the Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas was “a great experience,” Karli said, and the group of rowdy rodeo fans was the largest for which she has ever sang.
“I was so nervous,” Karli said. “I wasn’t nervous until people started asking me if I was nervous. And then they rolled out the red carpet for me and the spotlight came on and I realized, ‘Whoa, there are so many people.’”
After her performance in Las Vegas, Karli headed back to her hometown of Bolivar to spend the holidays with her extended family. She was able to catch up with old friends and even attend a basketball game or two.
“It was fun to watch them play because I grew up with them,” Karli said. “I love coming back to my hometown. It’s always fun.”
She and her family moved to Nashville, Tenn., almost two years ago so that Karli could pursue a career in music.
“I go to Station Camp High School and sing in the select chorus,” Karli said of her life in Tennessee. “We are doing a musical in the spring.”
Karli and a friend from school started a songwriter’s club at their high school. They aim to help students at the school who are interested in writing with the creative writing process.
Though she is busy with her school’s musical endeavors, Karli has a schedule packed full of meetings with music executives and gigs in the Nashville area.
“I signed with the Bobby Roberts Management Co. and we are working on a major record deal now,” Karli said. “I’ll be going on the road in the spring and hopefully I’ll be performing at the Grand Ole Opry.”
Karli even hopes to sing with her sister, Abbi Grace, at the CMA (Country Music Awards) Festival in June.
“It has definitely accelerated,” Karli said of her journey in the music business. “Trying to do that and keep up with school is an experience, but it’s fun.”
Karli performs a lot in downtown Nashville, she said, and is co-writing songs with “some pretty big writers.” She opened for country music star Hunter Hayes in Illinois and has worked with writers of songs for big-name artists such as Blake Shelton. She has performed on stages the same night as country music stars Ronnie McDowell and Don Gatlin.
She has even performed with Savannah Jack at the Bluebird Café in Nashville. Karli hopes to head back to the studio soon with producer Brian Austin to finish up her next album.
For more information about Karli, visit her website, www.karlichayne.com. Become a fan on Facebook or follow on Twitter to keep up with her daily activities. Karli is the daughter of Jeff and Cristi Duren.