Olivia Kay: Oklahoma’s singing sensation

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Olivia Singing

Olivia Kay: Oklahoma’s singing sensation

by Tim Farley

Olivia Kay took ballet, dance and gymnastics lessons but got bored. So, she started singing and she hasn’t quit.

Kay, a 12-year-old Edmond girl, has put her youthful mark on the entertainment world the last four years with powerful renditions of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, Tina Turner’s arrangement of “Proud Mary” and her feature appearance on MattyBRaps video of “True Colors.”

Her YouTube video of “Rolling in the Deep” has collected more than 1.8 million viewers and the video with MattyBRaps has more than 37 million views. She’s also known for heart-stirring performances of the national anthem at a host of athletic events, including Oklahoma City Thunder games, Gov. Mary Fallin’s 2015 inauguration.

Kay also has been interviewed by almost every Oklahoma City media outlet, plus Sports Illustrated, “The View” host Barbara Walters, NBA.com, PerezHilton.com and Ellen DeGeneres’ “Good News” blog.

“It was crazy,” Kay said of her rise to fame. “We were in LA for an event and we get this call to be on The View. It all happened in 24 hours. The fact that we were on one coast and had to fly to the other coast was crazy. I think they were surprised I could sing like an adult when I’m the shortest seventh grader I know.”

Although she’s enjoyed a lot of quick success, Kay said she’s reluctant to accept all of the attention because she doesn’t want to be considered famous.

“I just want to be a normal kid,” she said during a recent interview with http://ionok.com.

The normalcy is facilitated by parents Charlie and Heather, 18-year-old sister Madison and twin brother Owen.

Life at the Kay house is relatively calm as Heather decides which events, interviews or shows her young singing star daughter will attend.

“A lot of it depends on the calendar, her school and my work. We listen to what they say and then we talk about it,” Heather explained.

Although Olivia is considered a professional entertainer who is paid for her performances, she and her mom are quick to accept invitations to some charitable events. One of nonprofit groups dear to Olivia’s heart is Marley’s Mission in Pennsylvania. Marley’s Mission is a nonprofit that provides equine-based therapy free of charge to children and their families who have experienced trauma. The nonprofit was established in 2009 after a 5-year-old was attacked in her home by a stranger. The young victim had trouble recovering from the trauma until her parents kept a promise to buy her a horse, and that’s how Marley’s Mission was born.

Olivia and her mother accepted an invitation to perform at a gala for Marley’s Mission, a decision they’ve never regretted. Always talkative, Olivia immediately made friends with a young boy who suffers from autism.

“I talked him into coming to the gala and then I talked him into dancing with me,” she said, with a smile. “If he wouldn’t have come we wouldn’t have danced. It was so much fun.”

So what life experiences make Olivia an extrovert with so much talent? Even her parents don’t know.

“I can’t explain it,” Heather said of Olivia’s success and singing ability. “She’s always been that way.”

Vocal lessons have certainly helped, which is something that still occurs weekly. But the bundle of energy and the vivacious attitude isn’t taught. It’s not even learned. She’s simply being Olivia.

Getting started
Olivia’s first public appearance occurred at Oklahoma City’s Penn Square Mall where she was trying out to sing the national anthem for the Triple-A Redhawks baseball team. She was invited to sing the anthem, a day she’ll never forget.

“I was pretty nervous that first time,” she said.

That first national anthem was sung in 2011, but since then the stages have become bigger, the lights are brighter and nerves are no longer an issue. Olivia sang the anthem at the 2014 Gary Sinise Foundation Benefit and performed “Rolling in the Deep” during an appearance on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” with Shaquille O’Neal. A year later, Olivia sang a five-song set at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City and belted out another rendition of the national anthem for the GOP gala.

Perhaps one of her biggest moments came when the Edmond girl sang the anthem in front of country music superstars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert during the 2014 Oklahoma Hall of Fame induction ceremony where Shelton was honored.

Even today, mom Heather said she’s still surprised when Olivia is noticed on the street by strangers.

“You’ll hear someone say, ‘heard you on the radio’ and we’ll be in another city where we don’t know anyone,” she said, with some amazement.

Still, Olivia has big goals and aspirations for herself.

“I want to perform on a huge stage like Katy Perry would do. I want all my fans in one area,” she said.

The youngster smiled from ear to ear when told Perry recently performed at the Super Bowl.

“That’s it,” she said. “That’s what I want to do.

After a moment of reflection, Olivia said one of her top goals is to “inspire and make people feel good about themselves.”

So far, her plan is working.

For more information about Olivia’s upcoming events or videos, visit www.facebook.com/OliviaKayMusc or go to Twitter @OliviaKayMusic.

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