BLUEFIELD — Local musician Lily Comer was chosen as a finalist for the Pigeon Forge Virtual Path To Fame competition.
Comer, originally from Welch, has a love for music that makes it a focal point in her life as a freshman at Bluefield College majoring in Music Education, in addition to her work as a student teacher at Stages Music School in Princeton. Comer is partial to classic country and finds inspiration from iconic musicians like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Johnny Cash.
In previous years, Path To Fame traveled with a team of talent scouts to various markets in the Southeast. To accommodate restrictions and venue closings due to COVID-19, the talent competition has been reengineered to accommodate video auditions.
“We know that performers were affected by the economic shutdown and operating restrictions necessary to combat the spread of Covid-19,” said Pigeon Forge Executive Director of Tourism Leon Downey. “Pigeon Forge’s theater community would like to help those performers, along with other talented folks, so we brought the Path To Fame Virtual Talent Competition online for 2020. We look forward to welcoming the 2020 Path To Fame grand champion to Pigeon Forge for a performance at one of our local theaters.”
The Pigeon Forge Virtual Path To Fame Talent Competition grand champion will win a year of monthly consultations with the Nashville-based talent executive who discovered Grammy nominated artist Kelsea Ballerini. Also, the winner will receive a virtual consultation with country artist and Grand Ole Opry member Craig Morgan. Professional photography and videography sessions, media training and introductions to other entertainment industry executives complete the grand prize package which includes tools to help the winner advance their career.
“Last week we did the first round of auditions, we had more than 100 people turn in auditions for the competition and she was selected. We are selecting 10 from each market to go to the next round,” said Sue Carr, Marketing Manager for the Pigeon Forge Tourism Department. “She was chosen for that next round for the Asheville, N.C. market.”
The competition’s markets include Atlanta, Ga., Nashville, Tenn., Cincinnati, Ohio in 2018 and Indianapolis, Ind., Lexington, Ky. and Birmingham, Ala. in 2019.
The competition’s online availability spurred Comer to submit a video cover of her singing LeAnn Rimes’ “Blue,” and accompanying herself on guitar.
“I was on Facebook and my voice and piano teacher at Stages Music School, Melissa McKinney also found it on Facebook and sent it to me and encouraged me to try. I was a little hesitant at first,” Comer said. “I sang ‘Blue’ by LeAnn Rimes and I played guitar. I really like singing that song because it kind of has a little bit of a yodel in it, I can yodel a little and I thought, that shows off my voice a little bit.”
“We have had some great opportunities for our winners. It has turned out to not just be a competition with a local flare,” Carr said. “It has actually been able to help someone get to that next level, whether that be not the grand level, but at least take that next step. We are excited for that, even if it is just coming back and performing in Pigeon Forge and getting that little bit of experience on stage.”
When Comer found out that she had advanced to the Path of Fame finals, she was shocked.
“I was honestly shocked. When I submitted my video I did not know a lot about the competition yet, but I started researching it and the Grand Prize is incredible,” Comer said. “When I found out that I was in the finals, I was like, ‘oh my gosh, I didn’t even know I could do this.”
“Lily is a very talented young lady,” Carr said.
For the next round of competition, Comer is submitting a video of herself singing the Morgan and Chris Stapleton version of, “You are my sunshine,” and accompanying herself on guitar.
“Honestly I am excited to meet new people, other musicians that are out there, what all is out there in the talent industry,” Comer said. “I feel like even if I don’t win, I can still make connections. If I win, I don’t even know what I would do. The prize is awesome, I would be over the moon to win. I would be very happy.”
The Grand Champion of Pigeon Forge Virtual Path To Fame competition will be announced by the end of the day Oct. 23. The Grand Champion will be featured on the My Pigeon Forge Facebook page the following week.
— Contact Emily Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org