Hannah Montana

Real-life 'Hannah Montana' juggles pop fame with normal life

May 13, 2011 at 10:13 AM ET

She may not have a go-to blonde wig to conceal her secret identity, but 16-year-old Kylee Saunders knows a thing or two about the “Hannah Montana” lifestyle. On weekdays, Saunders is just another high school student in Phoenix, but when four-day weekends and vacations come around, the she transforms into a pop star in Japan.

“I can relate to the whole ‘Hannah Montana’ thing because she has her regular school life and she has her pop star, rock star life,” Saunders explained during a Friday morning interview with on TODAY. “And then for me, it’s kind of the same thing, but it’s in two different countries.”

The American born teen landed her first musical break in the U.S., when she sang the national anthem before a packed house at a Portland Trailblazers game at the age of 11. That was all it took to convince Saunders singing was future. With her mother’s help, she took her act eastward and is now a one-name wonder simply known as Kylee, with several successful singles already released.

“People recognize me (in Japan),” Saunders said. “I might just be walking down the street in Tokyo, and they’ll have the big skyscrapers with my song playing or my music video being projected. It’s crazy, like, walking and just seeing myself on the screen.”

Saunders hopes to bring a little bit of that “crazy” experience back home to the states. The teen’s new dream is to give up the dual-life by launching her career in American so she can be “Hannah,” or Kylee in her case, full time.

“(Having the same success in the U.S.) would be a dream come true, and I would love to be able to not have to go to Japan all of the time,” she confessed. “I’d be able to go to Japan and the states. That’d be awesome.”

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