When Meredith Davis walks out onto the stage Saturday at the Nash County Arts Council, it will be the first time as the headliner, a big step in any musician’s career.
It is a career that began when Davis was a kindergartner, learning to play the piano for the first time.
“It was not my favorite thing then, but it paid off,” Davis said. “When I was 11, I taught myself to play guitar, and I have been singing for as long as I can remember.”
Davis has been on the path to musical stardom for some time now, but it really began when she entered the Nash County’s Got Talent competition with her sister.
“I have done Nash County’s Got Talent for three years,” she said. “The first year my sister and I actually did it, and we did not place. Then she went off to college, and it was not convenient for her to do it again. So, I said, ‘OK. I can do it on my own.’ I did it, and I got third place. You can do it many times, until you get first place. I did it the next year, and I got first.”
After winning, Davis decided to move to a higher level of competition, Cary Idol, a version of the popular singing competition.
“There were about 500 contestants, and I made top 20 for that,” she said. “So I said ‘OK, I can do the big thing.’ I went to ‘American Idol’ in Charleston, S.C. I sang for two sets of producers. I did not make it far.”
Davis, a sophomore at East Carolina University, was 16 when she auditioned, and her priorities have changes since then.
“It would be nice to be famous, but I love the support I am getting from hometown stuff,” she said. “Being home, there is just something special about it. I love my school. I am doing classical (music) there, and here is where I get to do my country.”
Davis is majoring in musical therapy, a relatively new subject that allows musicians to work with those who have special needs.
“I can work in any facility, from neonatal care to hospice,” Davis said. “It is from any age. I can work in a hospital or a school or a detention center for alcohol abuse or drug abuse. Any form of disability, whatever you want to label disability as, musical therapy can help that.”
Part of the reason Davis said she chose that field is because it allows her to continue playing music.
“It will always be something that on the weekends if I say ‘Hey, I miss doing this,’ I can pull it out of my pocket,” she said. “There is always somewhere to play. With my music therapy I will get to sing and play the music I get to play at a regular show, so it is not like I have to sing classical to them. I can do anything I want to. Whatever suits the patient. It definitely is compatible.”
During her stage performances, Davis prefers playing covers of music by artists such as Shania Twain and Martina McBride.
“Those are people I am striving, not to be like, but to reach up to that,” she said. “I’m trying to bring the real country back to country, you could say.”
The show begins at 7 p.m. Saturday. The center is at 100 E. Washington St., Nashville.
Tickets are $11.