Sep-21-2016 ~ St. Albert teen amazes with a spontaneous performance at Keith Urban's concert

http://www.stalbertgazette.com/article/St-Albert-teen-amazes-with-a-spontaneous-performance-at-Keith-Urbans-concert-20160921

 

St. Albert teen amazes with a spontaneous performance at Keith Urban's concert

 

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2016 06:00 am

By: Anna Borowiecki

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  • Country superstar Keith Urban invited St. Albert country singer Hailey Benedict and younger sister Makenna onstage during his Ripcord World Tour last Friday night at Rogers Place.
    Country superstar Keith Urban invited St. Albert country singer Hailey Benedict and younger sister Makenna onstage during his Ripcord World Tour last Friday night at Rogers Place.
    Courtesy of Nathan Lennie
 

Ever since she was a little kid, Hailey Benedict, 14, dreamt about singing at Rexall Place to big crowds. That dream took an unexpected twist last Friday night.

The St. Albert country singer became the first Albertan to perform at Rogers Place after country superstar Keith Urban invited her on stage during his Ripcord World Tour.

“When you’re a little kid and you have a dream and that dream comes true in front of your eyes, it’s spectacular,” said Hailey recounting the once-in-a-lifetime experience she shared with Makenna, her 12-year-old sister.

The house was packed with nearly 20,000 fans and for Hailey, it turned into a “surreal” experience.

As huge Urban fans, Hailey and Makenna heard that the Australian singer likes to call fans on stage. The sisters bought shining poster board and traced out Hailey’s guitars writing “Keith Urban 2016” on one and “Ripcord,” the name of Urban’s latest album, on the other.

Seated on the floor, row eight, they held up their signs and fans in surrounding seats turned on their cellphone lights.

“They started to glimmer and when Keith invited us up, we were so shocked and overwhelmed. We were just freaking out.”

“But he was so nice. He was so incredible and he gave us the biggest hugs,” said Hailey.

Urban asked a few basic questions, but the action started when he inquired what the girls “dream” job would be.

Without hesitation, Hailey replied singer-songwriter.

Immediately Urban responded by pumping his fist in the air and turning to the Benedict family still sitting in the audience and yelled, “Mom, I support that.”

After discovering Hailey plays guitar, he invited her to sing a song. Acting as a guitar techie, Urban gave his new protégé a Fender Stratocaster adjusting the cables and joking, “This is work experience, right here, right now.”

As Hailey belted out Clean Slate with her robust vocals, the audience erupted into non-stop roar. Urban graciously stepped back allowing Hailey to enjoy this special moment in the spotlight.

Turning to Makenna, he inquired whether singing was in her future. Makenna wrinkled her nose and stated she preferred gymnastics. A longtime gymnast at Dynamics, Makenna placed third at the 2016 provincials.

“You guys are so much like my daughters,” he chuckled.

As Urban escorted the sisters off the stage, “Makenna and I wondered what just happened,” Hailey said.

Prior to the concert, Hailey posted her version of Urban’s Somebody Like You on YouTube. It received 300 views. After the concert it reached 22,000 views.

“It’s crazy. But it’s also cool to have this awesome opportunity and a big thanks to Keith Urban for all this.”

Hailey is recording her original s Clean Slate with Mark Troyer at Calgary’s Evergreen Studio this week.

“I’m so excited. It’s going to be awesome.”

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