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Make room for the kid (4-year old Native country singer Jared McAllister).

Windspeaker Staff Writer

EDMONTON

The newest, up-and-coming artist on the Edmonton area country music scene makes Leann Rimes, Nashville's teenaged songstress, look like a senior citizen.

Jared McAllister is four-years-old and is already making a name for himself as a rising star in the country music biz.

"He's been singing since before he could talk," said the pint-sized performer's dad, Rod McAllister.

From his first performance at the ripe old age of two, in front of 70 people at his day-care class, Jared had country, and country music, in his blood.

He recently won first place at an Edmonton watering hole's talent show and walked away with a plaque and $500. His follow-up performance at the grand finals of the same contest resulted in a sixth place finish out of 16 competitors.

At a rough count, Rod, from Alberta's Horse Lake First Nation and mom Carrie, from the Alexander First Nation, figure their son has been to about a dozen singing engagements in the last couple of years, making it a singing career which has already spanned half of his life.

In Country Kids Talent Competition during last year's Canadian Finals Rodeo, the little singer, who has a fancy for George Strait tunes, received the People's Choice Award.

He has also performed at the Family Day festivities at Edmonton's Eaton's Centre, and appeared onstage with many Edmonton country bands in various bars and dance halls.

To perform with the bands, Jared has a special licence issued by the Alberta Liquor Control Board.

"He has a licence from the ALCB so he can sing in the bars. It is good until he's 18," said his proud dad.

The youngster also has some creative licence. He picks his own wardrobe and his musical selections.

"He dresses cowboy all the time. When he gets up in the morning he's got his black Wranglers on . . . and his cowboy hat. He's got to have it everywhere he goes," said Rod.

When it comes to his music, Jared has his favorites. George Strait, Paul Brandt and Tracy Bird are three, but he'll listen and learn anything.

"He'll go up to his room and listen to his tapes for hours and he'll practice them," said Rod.

Sometimes he seems to be too old for his age, especially when he prefers to watch CMT rather than the variety of children's cartoons available on the television, but Rod said despite his special talents, he's still just a regular four-year-old at heart.

He likes swimming and playing outside and he especially likes to bug his older brother, Corey, 8, every chance he gets.

The part that isn't ordinary, is the attention he is receiving for his talent. Already voice trainers and entertainment managers are starting to call, said Rod.

Most of the experts are waiting until the young guy hits the age of six before they get too serious, but for now, Jared is happy to be singing for the fun of it.

Although the $500 prize in the latest talent contest was nice, and went toward a new performance wardrobe, a new guitar and the beginnings of a savings account, "the money he wins doesn't matter right now. He just wants to grab that microphone," said Rod.

Most Saturday afternoons, Jared can be found jamming with the band at the C-Weeds nightclub. Jared admits to liking the sounds of the house band Freebird. He also likes listening to his dad's cousin, Steve Kay, who is said to be another big Edmonton talent just waiting to be discovered.

Preparing for a recent interview with CFWE Radio, The Native Perspective, the tyke walked around the radio station wearing his white cowboy hat which helped to add few inches to his frame. In his hands he clutched a George Strait audio tape and his plaque from the talent show win.

When asked the age-old question of, "What would you like to be when you grow up," Jared answered more along the lines of who he'd like to be.

"I'd like to be George Strait," said the youngster.

Watch for this little guy in the years to come.

Does he have a chance of making it big?

In the youngster's own words, "Yessiree Bob!"

Jared's next performance will be at a showcase of the 16 finalists of the February talent show held at C-Weeds nightclub. The showcase is slated for the end of April.

Jared is expected to sing five songs at that show.

It seems he has already selected three of his favorites:

Strait's "Blue Clear Sky," Paul Brandt's "My Heart Has A History," and Tracy Bird's "Don't Take Her, She's All I've Got."

Rod said it seems funny hearing a four-year-old sing about heartbreak and the usual sad tidings of country lyrics.

"It seems funny when he sings about having his fair share of heartaches," said his dad.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:McKinley, Rob
Publication:Wind Speaker
Date:Apr 1, 1998
Words:807
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