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Chippewa teen advances in talent competition

BELCOURT, N.D. – It’s no coincidence that Taylor Dayne Falcon, 15, was named after the actual Taylor Dayne, a Top 40 songstress of the late 80s and early 90s.

You may recall her debut hit song, “Tell It to My Heart.”

Taylor, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, made it into the top 39 line-up of singers, models and assorted performers thanks to her soul-filled singing and guitar strumming performance during the U.S.A. World Showcase Talent Competition at the Las Vegas Hilton Jan. 2 – 3.

Taylor’s mom, Yvette Falcon, said the grand prize winner of the competition will take home $100,000. In order for Taylor to advance to the top 20, fans, friends and family need to vote as much as possible. The voting commenced March 14 and will run through March 28, or until further notice.

Yvette also said that the usual process of the annual event has been slowed by the untimely death of the event’s founder, and she is uncertain of the exact timeline and process in the race to the grand prize.

While Taylor waits for the results, the show of life must go on. This high school sophomore works hard to maintain good grades and balance her singing practice with the social life of an ordinary teenager. She practices nearly every day, and writes her own songs – about 15 so far, with three more in the works.

Her song writing blossomed out of poetry; one of her first poems was about her older brother.

Today, her songs reflect the life experiences of most teenagers, from being grounded to going steady with a boy that her mother warned her about. At the competition she performed “Only You Can Make Your Dreams Come True.” It was her originality that paid off at the competition, as she snagged the best original artist award.

She favors singing the blues and upbeat country, and said she is influenced by all genres of music, which reflects on her hip and modern style.

Regardless of the outcome of this competition, she plans to travel to the nearest city for the next American Idol auditions later this year.

In retrospect, her dad, a gifted musician himself, gave her the name that now seems like kismet. She started singing as a child, harmonizing with her mom and grandmother. Her older brother taught her a few chords on the guitar, but told her she had to learn how to strum on her own.

The strumming and singing also lifts Taylor’s spirits when she gets the blues. “Whenever I am sad or feeling down I can turn to my guitar.”

Yvette said that by giving her children a guitar “it has helped them out in life.”

Taylor made the decision to sing in front of an audience at age 12. She entered a few local competitions, and even won the Miss Turtle Mountain pageant two years ago. Last year, she went to the Miss North Dakota beauty pageant and won the Miss Hospitality and American National Teenage Scholarship Organization Ambassador awards.

As a quiet child, commanding an audience’s attention seemed a bit intimidating at first, and she advises young singers to work through the jitters. “It’s scary, and I used to shake and everything. The more you get used to it. … you get this high from the audience,” she said “Do your best and never give up.”

ANTSO awarded her a $10,000 scholarship toward her college education, something she plans to use in her long term goal to become a trauma surgeon. But who knows what the future holds, maybe this Taylor Dayne will reach or exceed her fellow namesake’s success.