Next stop: American Idol?
Ryan Summerlin May 14, 2010
When Austin Wolfe was four years old, she bolted onstage at a music festival in Aspen and started belting out tunes.
Now she’s 13 and not much has changed. Wolfe has found her way onto stages at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheater, Newpark Town Center, Quarry Village and the Park Silly Sunday Market.
Earlier this week, she was featured as an up-and-coming artist on Fox13’s morning news. The segment focused on how to transform a young singer into an American Idol-worthy contestant, but as the show hosts learned, Wolfe already has what it takes.
"I’ve been singing pretty much since I could talk," says the seventh-grader at Ecker Hill International Middle School. "I’ve always wanted to be a pop star."
She was writing songs and performing them at family functions by age 6. She took voice lessons at the Utah Conservatory and by the time she entered middle school, had penned songs about everything from stress to relationships.
She started training with local singer-songwriter Mary Beth Maziarz, whom she joined on stage for a duet at last year’s Deer Valley Summer Concert Series. "I look up to her so much," Wolfe says. "She’s great."
Last summer, Toby Martin of Park City Concerts asked Wolfe if she’d like to help out with an opportunity drawing at a Newpark outdoor concert. He soon found out that Wolfe was destined to be in the spotlight herself.
"All I can say is that I think Austin has all the potential in the world," Martin says. "She has a personality as big as the outdoors and she feels she has something to say all that teenage angst I guess."
Martin helped Wolfe set up a meeting with Derek Keith, the owner of DK Studios in Ogden, who has worked with local stars including Rich Wyman and David Archuleta.
It only took one listen for Keith to decide he wanted to produce Wolfe’s music. "I was like, ‘Wow,’" he says. "She has amazing, raw talent. She just needs a little structure."
Wolfe is currently in the beginning stages of creating her first album, a compilation of original songs and covers of songs by some of her favorite artists, including Paramore, Jack Jackson and The Script.
Martin has also arranged for Wolfe to play at various upcoming events including the Park City Education Foundation relay race on May 22, a Homestead outdoor concert on July 3 and the Fourth of July concert with Motherlode Canyon Band and the Codi Jordan Band.
"Toby’s amazing. Everything that’s been happening is because of him," Wolfe says.
She says her role models range from the Beatles to modern pop sensations like Avril Lavigne. She plays piano and is learning to play guitar.
Whenever she needs material for songwriting, she turns to her friends, who gladly provide stories, issues and frustrations that anyone who has endured adolescence can relate to.
Wolfe’s current goals include more recording and building her performance resume. She’d like to start singing with a band and hopes to release a demo album by the end of the summer.
Her parents, Scott and Anita Wolfe, couldn’t be more thrilled that their daughter’s dreams are coming true. "She’s always been inclined toward music," Anita says. "I’ve always known this is the path she was going to take, it’s just starting to happen really fast."
Wolfe has already had requests for autographs from some of her peers. "That was crazy weird, but awesome," she says. She also Googled herself for the first time recently and was ecstatic to see her picture pop up on screen.
In a few years Wolfe will be eligible to audition for American Idol, although by then she may have already broken into the spotlight.
For the time being, Parkites can get a sneak peek at the rising star at local performances and sign up for her mailing list at www.austinwolfe.com .
Running With Ed PCEF Fundraiser, Newpark Town Center
Homestead Saturday Concert Series with Mary Beth Maziarz
City Park with Motherlode Canyon Band and The Codi Jordan Band