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10-year-old Wallace sings to ‘teach the gospel to others’comment (0)

August 4, 2011

By John Evans

By all accounts, Skylar Wallace doesn’t like to talk about what happened June 18. That’s when she bagged the $10,000 first-place prize in the 2011 The Gift contest, a children’s singing competition put on by the Central Alabama McDonald’s Owner/Operator Association.

“You would meet her and you would talk to her for two hours, and she would never tell you that,” said Skylar’s grandmother, Judy Carden, a member of NorthPark Baptist Church, Trussville. “She would never tell you that she won anything. She just won’t do it. She says that that is bragging and that she does not like that.”

The 10-year-old, also a member of NorthPark Baptist, has amassed an extensive record of singing performances, from churches to talent contests to opening for professional singers. Skylar’s win at The Gift contest, in which she out-sang nine other finalists with a rendition of “The Impossible Dream,” merely adds to her accomplishments.

But the redheaded dynamo is winning accolades not just for her stellar voice but also for a life marked by selflessness, humility and devotion to God. When asked by a judge at The Gift what she wanted to do with her music, Skylar responded that she wants others to feel God’s touch and know He will always be there for them.

“I think He gave [this singing ability] to me, because everybody gets gifts for a reason and a purpose, and my purpose is because He wants me to teach the gospel to others,” Skylar said later.  

It could be said that her journey to vocal excellence began at birth. Her mother, Holli Wallace, grew up singing and spent several years singing backup for the country group Confederate Railroad, and her father, Ron Wallace, is a Nashville singer/songwriter who sang backup on Tim McGraw and Faith Hill albums.

Holli Wallace remembers her daughter’s first musical displays at age 3. Skylar created songs and had Carden write them down, including one called “Wonderful Mommy.”

“She sang this little song all the way through that she had just written all by herself at 3 years old, and ever since then, she’s just been going strong,” said Holli Wallace, who also attends NorthPark.

Skylar began singing publicly at age 6 while attending Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham. One of her teachers overheard her singing the gospel song “Via Dolorosa” and asked her to sing it in chapel. From this first performance sprang many others as word spread of the little girl’s talent.

Steve Pennington, Skylar’s voice teacher and producer, recalls first meeting her at a singing contest three years ago, in which she was slated to sing “Via Dolorosa.” He expected a train wreck from a 7-year-old attempting such a song.

“Not only was it wonderful (but) she did the entire second verse in Spanish and it was flawless,” said Pennington, a member of Grantswood Baptist Church, Irondale.

Skylar has branched out considerably since her first performance at school chapel, opening for gospel groups like the Dove Brothers, singing the national anthem at baseball games and performing in talent contests such as Tuscaloosa’s Got Talent.

But Carden said none of her success has gone to her head.

“She’s just always been a humble little girl,” Carden said. “She’s just not one who thinks of herself first. She doesn’t put herself out there. She thinks that this talent that she’s got is God-given talent, and she’s just not [going to] brag on it.”

Holli Wallace believes Skylar’s faith provides such a deep humility, which was evident one day when a man asked her where she got her singing talent.

“I was about to say, ‘Well, you know, her dad is a singer,’” Holli Wallace recalled.

“And [Skylar] said, ‘I got it from Jesus Christ.’ I just thought, ‘Wow, what a remarkable thing to say out of a 10-year-old little girl’s mouth.’”

Skylar’s family also lauds her selfless spirit, saying she builds people up with her words and is kind to everyone she meets. She said God helps her to live that way.

“It’s kind of like when the devil’s telling you to do something and God is touching your heart just saying, ‘You know it’s not right,’” Skylar said. “So I just close my eyes and I pray, and He helps me make the right decision.”

Mark Enoch, associate pastor of worship at NorthPark, said she always gives her best effort, no matter what size crowd she sings for. He remembers her singing “Via Dolorosa” at NorthPark with such power and grace that the congregation rose to its feet in a standing ovation.

“You can just see it in her face and hear it in her voice ... that she is really singing for God and doing it for the right reasons,” Enoch said.  

Skylar, who has an album in the works and also plays guitar and piano, said while she hopes to be on Christian radio some day, she will do what God has in store for her. It’s an attitude Enoch believes will serve her well.

“Music can take you all over the place, obviously,” he said. “I hope she keeps her heart right and keeps singing for the right reasons, and boy, if she does that, God’s going to just continue to use her in amazing ways.”

For information about Skylar’s singing schedule, contact Carden at 205-914-1993 or jugcar@centurytel.net.

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