An 11-year-old yodeler who used the acoustics of a horse barn to hone her vocal style is appearing in this week’s finals of the “America’s Got Talent” TV show.
Taylor Ware will join acts that include a 73-year-old rapper and a rock band with a 12-year-old harmonica player for the finals Wednesday on NBC. Audience voting will determine who wins the $1 million top prize.
(MSNBC is a joint venture between NBC and Microsoft.)
Taylor began performing at age 4, singing and playing her fiddle at a country fair. She was 7 when she got a book and tape about yodeling and learned the vocal technique that quickly and repeatedly changes the pitch of a note from normal voice to falsetto.
Yodeling is found in folk music around the world, and singers as diverse as Jimmie Rodgers, Slim Whitman and Bette Midler have used it. Taylor said her yodeling mentor is Ranger Doug of the Grand Ole Opry’s Riders in the Sky.
“I feel like God gave me the talent, and I’m supposed to do something with it. So I am,” Taylor said.
Taylor usually prefers to practice her yodeling in a large metal barn in her neighborhood.
“I was out there one day, petting the horses, and I started yodeling,” she said. Although the barn cats scattered at the sound, she liked the acoustics.
Taylor said she’d like to spend any prize money on a tree house for her younger brother, a garbage disposal for her grandmother and to help “spread my love of yodeling.”
“I want to create songs with yodeling in different genres so it doesn’t sound like the traditional country or western yodeling. I want to make it more 21st century,” Taylor said.