“Lookout, Taylor Swift,” said a judge of the winner of the OMS Idol contest, then 7th grader Meagan Kennedy. Now a freshman, Meagan, daughter of Ole Miss men’s head basketball coach Andy Kennedy, continues to develop her vocal career.
She has sung the national anthem for six official sporting events, including the SEC home opener at the Tad Smith Coliseum in January, 2012. For Kennedy, with experience, and middle school theatre classes, came confidence.
“A long time ago, I would think of all the worst case scenarios, like if I forgot words,” she said. “But now, when I’m down on the floor of the Coliseum, even though I can’t see anyone’s faces, I know that they’re all waiting for me; once I start singing, the butterflies go away.”
Kennedy bills country singer and songwriter Carrie Underwood as her favorite artist, and also enjoys Christian and inspirational music.
Though she does not “talk country,” she says that she inherited Underwood’s inflections by singing along to her music as a child.
“My mom says that I’ve been singing since I was born,” Kennedy said.
In 2011, Kennedy won in the solo category of Oxford’s Got Talent, a citywide competition, performing Underwood’s single “So Small.”
This year, she placed first in the general youth Group category, singing Adele’s “Someone Like You” with sophomore Abby Wilson.
Kennedy had her first performance at age seven, and has had a voice coach, Allen Harris, since age 12. Kennedy compares the range-building vocal drills with Harris and even the actual performances to physical exercise.
“It’s like running – you have to build up endurance,” she said. “When I’m singing musicals, for example, God’s trying to make sure I get through it and after the end, I can crash.”
Once in college, Kennedy plans to study music “somehow,” as a major or minor.
“I’ve been watching American Idol for years now,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to do something like that, or Broadway.”
“I can get tired from singing, but I never get tired of singing,” Kennedy said. “My life is music.”