What Matters Most To Lila McCann

By Charles White

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In the small town of Tacoma, near Seattle, Washington lives an amazing teen. Her name is Lila McCann. Lila has performed for England’s Queen Elizabeth II, shared the stage with several giants of country music such as Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and has appeared on countless television and radio shows. Yet, in addition to her music, she still remains grounded in the things that bring the greatest joy to her life: her family, her friends, and her faith. Lila’s commitment to helping others, her incredible talent, and her bubbly nature and warm, engaging personality have made her a favorite with fans of all ages. It is no wonder that Lila has been named by Teen People magazine as one of the “Twenty Teens Who Will Change The World.”

Born the youngest of five children, Lila McCann grew up in the small town of Tacoma, Washington. Her father Pat, encouraged his five-year-old daughter to perform with his local country band. Two weeks before her fifth birthday, Lila was going to sing “You Are My Sunshine” with her dad’s band. However, just before she was to sing, she suddenly became scared and hid in the bathroom. It would take a promise for a new Barbie doll from her mother to get to Lila to come out. However, come out she did, and she’s been singing ever since.

At the age of only 9 , Lila gave a performance that would forever change her life. Kasey Walker, an artist manager, was among those in attendance as Lila began to perform at the local Eagles Club, a fraternal organization similar to the Elks. Mesmerized by the voice of this nine year old child, Walker was convinced that Lila was destined for greatness. “There was no doubt in my mind that I could get Lila McCann a record deal.”

Determined to sign Lila to a recording contract, Walker assembled a top-notch team to help turn Lila’s dream of becoming a professional musician into reality. Signed to a record contract with Asylum Records the age of 12, Lila had to decide what was most important in her life. Guided by her parents, and her manager, Lila decided to continue to live as normal a life as stardom would allow. She continued attending public school, pursued extra-curricular activities and remained close to friends and family. It is with her friends and family that Lila has experienced some of her greatest joys.

“They have helped me keep myself . . . they haven’t let me change. Having a big support system of family and friends around all the time is a good thing to have. They have been a big help in sticking by me and guiding me to good things. If I woke up tomorrow and I said that I didn’t want to sing anymore, it wouldn’t matter to them.”

As Lila grapples with the simultaneous pressures of growing up and a career in music, she also remains grounded through her faith. She fondly recalls childhood memories of church activities and events and is currently involved in her own church youth group. “[My faith] is important to me . . . I grew up in church. It’s still an important part of my life.”

Along with her family, friends and faith, Lila finds great joy in music. The chance to become a professional musician is a dream come true for Lila. All her hard work and dedication as a professional musician is paying off. Her first album, “Lila”, released in 1997, is now a certified gold album. She has also earned a double platinum album for her work on the Hope Floats soundtrack. Two of her singles, “I Wanna Fall In Love” and “With You” have even climbed to the top ten category on the Billboard Country Singles Chart.

Her dedication doesn’t stop with music, however; Lila supports St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the Cystic Fibrosis and Multiple Sclerosis foundations, and various other charitable agencies and organizations throughout the country.

Lila was recently able to visit St. Jude’s. She described it as “an incredible experience.” Seeing what the children go through, as well as their strength and positive attitudes, had a profound impact upon Lila. “It gave me a whole new perspective on life. I don’t think we all realize how lucky we are sometimes.”

Lila’s dedication and hard work have earned her the distinction of being named one of the “Twenty Teens Who Will Change The World” by Teen People magazine. With the proceeds of this honor, Lila established the Lila McCann Scholarship at her alma mater, Steilacoom High School. Each year, this scholarship benefits a student’s education or supports that student’s activities in the arts or participation in charity work.

What’s the most important thing that Lila has learned so far? “Always to respect people and the things that they do, but also to respect yourself and not to change who you are to make other people happy.” This is how Lila tries to live her life.

Although only 20, Lila McCann has accomplished a great deal. However, when asked what is left for her to accomplish, Lila enthusiastically replied, “All kinds of stuff!” After a recent appearance with Chuck Norris on Walker, Texas Ranger, Lila says she would like to do some more acting. In addition, she wants to learn to play more musical instruments, and start a family of her own some day.

Lila wastes no time in going after her dreams. The day after graduating from high school this year, she stepped onto a bus to begin a nation-wide tour that will last through October. In addition, she will begin work on her next album in June.

Lila considers it a blessing to be able to reach so many people with what she does. While her career as a professional musician grows, Lila remembers the important foundations of her life: her family, her friends, and her faith. To her fellow teens, she offers this advice. “Never loose faith in yourself . . and never let anyone put you down. If there’s something you really want, go for it!”

True to her own words of wisdom, Lila really has “gone for it”, and it looks like the sky is the limit!

 

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