Sunday, July 13, 2014

Local singer ‘dreaming big’

May 28. 2013 6:10PM

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Dani-elle Kleha started singing when she was three years old and has not stopped since. Her talents have led her to Nashville, Tenn. to sing the National Anthem before a minor league baseball game between the Nashville Sounds and New Orleans Zephyrs June 17.

“I started singing at the Tompkinsville United Methodist Church when no one else would volunteer for the church programs,” she said. “I told them if they gave my mom the words, I’d be more than happy to sing and I think ever since then, I’ve loved the whole fact of being on stage and singing.”

Dani-elle’s favorite genre of music to sing is country because of the message behind the songs.

“There’s always a story,” she said.

She hopes to follow in the footsteps of several country music stars.

“Patsy Cline is definitely a big inspiration to me,” she said. “She paved the road for female singers in the country music industry and Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride are carrying that through amazingly. They know both sides of the industry.”

Dani-elle believes her vocal instructor, Renee Grant Williams, has helped her tremendously.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “If you listened to me before and after I started with Renee, you can tell the difference almost instantly. It’s amazing the little tricks that she teaches that can improve you so immensely.”

Dani-elle has been traveling to Nashville since age 12 to hone her singing voice.

“My mom, Debbie, found Renee online and my parents said it would be a really good thing to go and meet her,” she said. “I had my first lesson with her when I was 12. I became a CMA (Country Music Association) member when I was 13 and we started going to the CMA Awards. Renee hooked me up with Amanda Williams, a Grammy -nominated songwriter and I started making contacts with writers and producers down there.”

The rising senior at Summit Christian Academy is honored to sing on a big stage before a baseball game.

“They were holding auditions and naturally I couldn’t be there, so I sent in a tape and before I knew it, they asked me to sing,” she said. “It’s a really cool opportunity.

“I love Nashville. It’s like our second home.”

She is hoping that her performance that night might lead to bigger things down the road.

“It’s going to be Music Industry Night,” she said. “You never know what opportunities will come up.”

She is also scheduled to sing at PNC Field July 4, the Methodist Church of Chinchilla at 7 p.m. July 17.

Dani-elle added that she strives to become a country music star and hopes to someday be a household name.

“My career goals as a musician are to eventually get picked up on a world tour and share my music with the world,” she said. “This is my plan for life, there is no plan B, because there is nothing that I want more in life than to sing.”

The Jermyn resident has previously performed in front of crowds approaching 10,000 during at both LaFesta Italiana in Scranton and with the NEPA Philharmonic in Moosic.

Dani-elle has also served as a correspondent on Great Country 93.7.

“It’s been awesome,” she said. “I gotten to co-host multiple times with Chris Fox and Brian Hughes. They’ve just been so welcoming to me and have kind of taken me under their wing. They played my song multiple times and we made a deal that when I go to Nashville, if anything interesting happens, I’ll let them all know what’s going on. It’s been pretty neat to have that relationship with them.”

She believes it’s important to give back to the area and has helped organize fundraising events for animal rescue groups and open mic nights for local songwriters.

“It’s important to give back to the community, because I have been blessed with such an amazing gift and so many great opportunities, that I feel it is my own personal duty to share the gift of music with as many people as possible,” she said.

Dani-elle will be competing in the Texaco Country Showdown in Liberty, N.Y., June 7 through Thunder Country 102.

“It’s a really big opportunity,” she said. “Brad Paisley and LeAnn Rimes have performed there, so I’m really excited.”

Dani-elle release her first album, “Dream Big,” last year that featured three original songs. Her next album “Eleven,” featuring all original works will be written and produced in Nashville over the summer with the help of Chip Martin and Amanda Williams and will be released Nov. 24 at Genetti’s in Dickson City.

She recently formed a band, “Music City,” with Jim Hitchcock, Madison Twp., on drums; Jon Nova, Plains Twp., on guitar; Ryan Doherty, Kingston, on bass; Freeman White, Nanticoke, on keyboard and Bret Alexander. The band is scheduled to play at the Wayne County Fair Aug. 2 from 7 to 10 p.m.

For more information on Dani-elle and upcoming performances, visit

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