PALMER — Chickaloon homesteader Rhoda Grace recently won Rixon Entertainment Group’s national Sing Your Song contest.
“I just threw it up there and I was shocked I made it to the finals,” Grace said. “It feels exciting. It feels very surprising.”
Grace won by 670 votes with her original song “Love Me Back to You” and will fly to Nashville, Tennessee, to record her song with a Dove Award and Grammy Award winning producer. Her song will release on all major platforms after that.
“This is bizarre… I was hidden in the woods,” Grace said.
Grace has been playing and writing music since she was 11 years old. The self-taught mother of five primarily plays Christian music with a country twang. She said that her relationship with God and music has always been closely intertwined.
“It has been the balm of my soul,” Grace said. “I’ve held true.”
Grace said that she found out about the contest on her friend’s Facebook page and thought it would be worth a shot. She said that now that she’s done raising her family, she’s ready to go full force into her musical career.
“I don’t want to waste this gift,” Grace said.
The contest called for video submissions with a focus on Christian and country music. Grace said that entrants could record cover songs but were encouraged to submit their original works. She strummed on the same guitar she’s lugged around Alaska and Lower 48 since she was 11.
“This has opened up a bunch of doors,” Grace said.
This is Grace’s first big break. She said that in light of winning the Sing Your Song contest, numerous musicians and producers around the Alaska and the Lower 48 have expressed interest in working with her in the future.
“All of this is humbling,” Grace said.
Grace has performed at various venues across the Mat-Su Valley and Anchorage. She said that her only time entering a formal contest was at the Alaska State Fair talent show, so this this recent national recognition is a huge leap into a whole other stratosphere.
“I’m happy to represent Alaska and my community,” Grace said.
Grace has spent many years a social worker. She said that when she returns from Nashville, she wants to “marry” her music with her social work to support the community.
“I love the word ‘hope,’” Grace said.
Grace plans to hold a variety of musical events to raise funds for those in need and raise awareness for important causes. She said at this point, it’s “not an option” anymore.
“That’s my goal, to have a bigger platform [to help the community],” Grace said. “Music, you can use it for good…”
Grace leave to Nashville Jan. 28, 2020. To see her video submission, visit facebook.com/watch/?v=392847568079366
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org