Aug. 07--Los Osos resident Lyndsey Homan has loved singing ever since her parents discovered her warbling along to "Barney and Friends" at age 2.
"I was standing in front of the TV swaying back and forth singing the song," Homan, 19, recalled. "Since then, my parents pushed me to try out for things and sing as much as I wanted."
Next month, Homan will compete against 11 other hopefuls in the Rising Star solo singing competition, produced by Another Lambert Productions and presented by Chumash Casino Resort. The event, which takes place Sept. 7 at the Santa Ynez casino, is designed to showcase the best vocalists in the area.
Jim Lambert created Rising Star as a companion event to Teen Star Santa Barbara, an annual competition featuring young singers from Santa Barbara County.
"Four years ago, when I started Teen Star, there were a lot of people asking me, 'Why don't you do 18 and up?' " Lambert explained, so he created a competition for singers ages 18 to 81.
Close to 110 singers from San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties tried out for the competition in late July, Lambert said. They performed everything from Broadway ballads to country songs to pop standards.
Lambert's judges selected 12 finalists based on their vocal ability, presentation and overall style. Homan is the youngest finalist and the only San Luis Obispo County resident.
"She's dynamite," Lambert said of Homan. "I love her energy, her personality. The crowd's going to love her."
A powerful singer with a colorful stage presence, Homan said her love of music has helped her get through some tough times.
Her father passed away when she was 8. With her mother ill and incapable of caring for her, Homan moved from Tucson, Ariz., to Los Osos in seventh grade to live with her aunt, who became her permanent guardian.
Homan pursued her musical ambitions through middle and high school.
After graduating from Morro Bay High School, she enrolled at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, where she's currently performing with Voce, the school's vocal jazz ensemble. Until recently, she was the lead singer of San Luis Obispo rock band The Bold Rock.
Although she admires jazz chanteuse Ella Fitzgerald and Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant, Homan considers pop star Christina Aguilera her biggest influence.
"Almost every single song of hers has brought tears to my eyes," said the singer, who plans to perform songs by Aguilera and Heart in the competition.
Also competing are Evan Bell of Goleta, Katie Gucik of Santa Maria, Ben Kindschy of Santa Ynez and Lizette Rubio of Ventura. Buellton residents Chelsea Chaput and Kirsten Rasmussen will also sing, as will Santa Barbara residents Morshid Arpa, Deborah Bertling, Henry Garrett, Lashon Hailey and Shannon Saleh.
Pismo Beach resident Krystal Goodwin will serve as an alternate.
Contestants will perform, backed by the George Shelby Band, for three judges: PCPA Theaterfest Casting Director Erik Stein, Santa Barbara radio host Lin Aubuchon and singer-songwriter Jim Messina of Buffalo Springfield and Loggins & Messina fame.
Audience members can also vote for their favorites via text message, accounting for about 75 percent of the artists' overall score.
In addition to $5,000 in cash and the title of "Rising Star," the winner will receive a studio recording session, the opportunity to open for an upcoming act at Chumash Casino Resort, and musical mentoring by J.R. Richards, former lead singer of alternative rock band Dishwalla.
If she wins, Homan plans to put that money in a savings account.
"One of the biggest things to me in my life other than my music is a family," she said. "Since I didn't have the best childhood memories, I want to create them for my family."
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