At the tender age of 10, local crooner Hannah Grace Osteen already is marking her time in the spotlight. Most recently, she was one of three finalists who performed at the second annual My Kid Can Sing contest held last Sunday at a summer camp expo hosted by the Savannah Morning News.
Osteen didn’t take the top prize in last week’s contest, but she walked away with a new iPod and an eagerness to live life on the big stage.
"It doesn’t make me feel bad or feel horrible," the young singer/songwriter said about last week’s performance. "It just says, ‘OK, I’ll do better next time, and I’m OK.’"
It wasn’t her first time competing. Just seven weeks ago, Hannah took the first-place ribbon in the performing-arts category at the 4-H competition hosted by Lewis Frasier Middle School.
"It was surprising," she said about earning the top prize. "It was fun and I turned my nervousness into energy, and I was like, ‘OK, let’s do this.’"
Her father, local attorney Jay Osteen, said she’s been singing since the time she could talk. But this young bundle of talent also can shred a mean guitar. It’s something that was passed down to her by her dad, who has played guitar for roughly 30 years.
The young singer said she credits her singing talent to her mother, Katie Osteen, and her older sister, Alyson Hamilton.
With thick, flowing blond hair, a contagious smile and an air of confidence akin to that of a seasoned performer, Hannah said she enjoys playing the acoustic guitar and prefers Christian music. However, she does have a favorite guitarist who is known for dishing out some rock and roll.
"I love Joe Perry," she said during a recent interview.
When her father approached her about the My Kid Can Sing contest, she decided she would give it a go and opted to sing "Revelations."
"It’s really a good song, and I knew it the best out of all my songs," she said. "I really liked it above the other ones. It’s one of those songs that makes everyone happy and makes me happy."
"She decided on the song, and then we filmed the video of her singing the song and uploaded it to the website," her dad said.
Competing against several kids from around the Coastal Empire, Hannah caught the attention of the contest judges as well as the viewer’s votes. That earned her a spot among the final three who performed last week. Hannah was the only finalist who played an instrument and the only contestant representing Hinesville.
Kyle Sellers, 11, was crowned the winner, but Osteen said she already is looking forward to upcoming opportunities.
"It’s nerve-racking in the beginning, but once I warm up to the song, it’s cool," she said of stepping out in front of an audience. "Sometimes I look over the audience, but I don’t really do anything else. I love everything about it. It just makes me happy all the time; it’s so fun to do it."
Her dad said she often writes her own songs and occasionally they will play the guitar together at home.
"But she is the performer," he said. "She is a solo act."
The young FPCA student says she does 30 minutes of guitar practice daily before concentrating on her homework.
"I would like to perform at different places," Osteen said, adding that her dream would be to sing at Madison Square Garden. "But I would like to try another contest because it was fun."
Asked whether she would like to try out for a child version of "American Idol," the enthusiastic young lady quickly flashed a big smile and said, "I’m there."