Home ‘The Little Girl with the Big Voice’: Emily Henline balances budding music career, being a teen
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‘The Little Girl with the Big Voice’: Emily Henline balances budding music career, being a teen

Chris Graham

Emily Henline could very well be the next Taylor Swift. But first things first – she has to do her homework.

“School is first, obviously. When school starts, I have to cut back on my schedule,” said Henline, 13, an eighth-grader at Beverley Manor Middle School by day, and by weekends and as much as she can in the summer a budding young music star.

A regular on “Virginia Dreams Center Stage” on WHSV-TV3, Henline is also a favorite on the Virginia Junior Opry who had to miss some school time in November to perform at the Nashville Palace and then in December when the French-American Gospel Music Workshop Exchange trekked to France for a series of sold-out concerts.

Oh, and she has a new CD due out later this month.

Yeah, she’s a busy girl.

“It’s been full-steam-ahead for a while now,” said her mother, Jennifer, who enrolled Emily in a summer musical-theater camp at ShenanArts not long after the family moved here four years ago. The camp ended with the students performing “Chicago,” and Henline landed a lead role, and in the performance caught the attention of veteran ShenanArts director Jeff McDaniel.

“Emily is an amazing talent,” said McDaniel, who assists the Henlines with press contacts and booking.

As busy as she is, though, she’s still very much a teenager. Her Facebook page that features updates on her CD and performance schedule also details her thoughts about having to do chores and her back-and-forth over whether or not she should try out for her middle-school volleyball team.

“We try really hard to keep her grounded. If you talk to her, she’s really grounded. She just feels very blessed to be doing what she’s doing. As long as she feels blessed by it and enjoys doing what she’s doing, I’m in full support of it,” her mother said.

Emily is clearly there. “I like seeing the smiles on people’s faces when I’m performing,” she said.

But underneath the bubbly exterior is someone dedicated to her craft.

“My goal after every show is to see what I can do to improve to be better for the next performance. That’s the only way I’m going to grow and improve as a performer,” she said.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].