In earlier generations, stage parents would often look for ways to get their precocious child performers up to pick and sing with the established acts of the day. Most of us have seen video of a tow-headed Ricky Skaggs singing on TV with Flatt & Scruggs when he was six years old. Alison Krauss presented Sierra Hull on the Opry before she was even a teen.
Others found work in the biz before they were old enough to drive, like J.D. Crowe with Mac Wiseman and Sonny Osborne with Bill Monroe.
But nowadays, young artists can reach an essentially unlimited audience through videos and social media before they ever hit the stage.
Though young Mikaya Taylor from Lawrenceburg, KY has some stage experience to her credit, she has made her biggest hit on YouTube and Facebook. Only 10 years old, Mikaya has a love for traditional bluegrass music and an ability to control the pitch and tone of her voice that is quite rare in someone her age.
Her brief bio reads a bit like a storybook. At her first public performance at the Woodland Arts Festival, someone from the prestigious Festival of the Bluegrass heard her sing, and booked her on the spot. In the past year Mikaya has sung at a number of Kentucky festivals, got to do a song with The Grascals, and been featured on the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour on their special Woodsongs Kids episode.
The 5th grader takes it all in stride, and is enjoying her opportunity to sing the music she loves at such a tender age.
Here’s a recent video of Mikaya tackling one of the more soulful songs in the bluegrass catalog, All I Ever Loved Was You, popularized by Ralph Stanley in the 1970s, with accompaniment from Frank Kemper and Kevin Chilton.
Keep the name Mikaya Taylor in the front of your mind. Let’s hope she sticks with bluegrass as she develops as an artist.