By Amanda Duncombe-Lee
Aspiring singer Ella Gooley reached for the stars at the CNE Rising Star Competition on August 20th in Toronto, performing the 2015 hit Fight Song by Rachel Platten onstage for a chance to move on to the semifinals.
The 12-year-old Haliburton resident was originally chosen out of 200 applicants to attend the quarter finals for the competition and was among the final 48 contestants of the preliminary round.
Ella and her family felt she put in a strong performance.
“My experience at the CNE was amazing. I got to sing in front of so many people and share a stage with other amazing performers,” said Ella. “The Rising Stars competition taught me a lesson that winning isn’t everything; the experience made me stronger. I understand areas I can improve. I’ve learned a lot from this opportunity.”
Ella’s father Grant Gooley said that there were 24 contestants on her night, with the top six moving onto the semifinals. “We were told she missed the cut by one point,” he said.
“The crowd was very into it, it kind of filled up over that time, and she felt very strong,” said her father. “It was amazing to see our daughter fulfil a dream to be on stage and have the opportunity to share her hard work and dedication to music with so many people in Toronto. I was inspired as a father, and Jill, her mother, was inspired by our daughter to achieve something so great.”
Ella has been performing since the age of three. She currently plays conservatory piano, sings, and is starting to play some guitar and delve into song writing. She is currently coached by two vocal coaches and a piano teacher, and works closely with her father, who formerly toured in a rock band for ten years.
Ella said she is driven by the thought of being able to travel the world and sing in front of many people. “I love the opportunity to spread the word about taking care of the environment through my music. I want to succeed in life, and there is no better way than singing and playing piano,” she said.
Her father Grant emphasized the passion and hard work required to succeed in the music industry. “First of all, have fun. If it’s not fun, you’re not going to pursue it. It’s very competitive. She’s got to be in the top ten percent if she wants to make a career out of it. You have to stand out and work hard. You don’t have to be gifted – anybody can be successful if you work hard – but Ella puts in between 2-4 hours a day. If you put in the work, a lot of people can be successful at it,” he said.
Ella sings the national anthem at almost every Haliburton Huskies game. Last spring, she won the Keynote Award for Musicianship at the North Hastings Music Festival.
Ella is looking for more opportunities to perform publicly and is currently open to performing folk and pop songs at local venues, including restaurants. She brings her full set with her including piano and mic.
If you are interested in booking Ella, you can email Grant Gooley at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at 905-442-2801. Samples of Ella’s performances are available on TikTok @grantgooley.