Young singer making an impact in country music


By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Linda Dillman
Groveport Madison High School freshman Michayla Jacks and just a handful of the dozens of trophies she’s been awarded for singing since she started competing at age three.

Born into a musical family, Michayla Jacks, is singing her way to Tennessee and competing in March against artists from across the country.

Jacks, a freshman at Groveport Madison High School, qualified to enter the North American Country Music Association International Female Vocalist and Female Entertainer of the Year competitions held at the Country Tonite Theatre in Pidgeon Forge before members of the Nashville recording industry.

To qualify for the competition, as in years past, Jacks participated in a preliminary vocal and entertainer contest before moving on to the state level. She sang two songs in each category in her age division and won both the preliminary and state competitions.

Earlier this year, she performed at a Country Music Association event in Nashville, along with participating in a showcase, cutting her own five-song album and doing a photo shoot.

“I sang in the youth version of the CMAs during the late summer and had an eight-song set,” said Jacks, “including ‘I’m the Only One’ by Melissa Etheredge.”

She sang in the First Night Columbus Ohio Idol contest, placing second overall, and entertained crowds locally at the Obetz Zucchini Festival in August. Jacks is also cheerleader for the football and basketball teams and is in the symphonic choir—an activity generally reserved for upperclassmen.

“Here I was a freshman trying to learn to navigate the halls and then I was picked by the choir teacher to be in a class with juniors and seniors,” recalled Jacks.

The multiple award-winning teenager said she remembers singing “My Only Sunshine” during her first public performance at age three.

“I walked out on the stage of the Country Tonite Theatre in Pidgeon Forge and sang that song,” said Jacks. “Through my mother and aunt, who also sang with the BCMOA, I learned how to sing and got used to singing in front of people.”

Her grandmother, Kathi Paugh, who is the executive director of the Ohio North American Country Music Association International organization, said Michayla can do an “amazing” rendition of Etta James and is the recipient of multiple titles.

“She was only 12 and was already competing against adults,” said Paugh. “She has earned repetitive titles every year since she began competing at age three. She actually started singing at age two. We would drive in the car with Michayla in her car seat and my oldest daughter would sing a Patsy Cline song. Michayla would always sing along one word from the song.”

Jacks, who can sing 70 songs from memory and once reconfigured a wheelchair device for an Invention Convention competition, said the largest audience she’s performed in front of was in the 2,500-seat Country Tonite Theatre in Tennessee.

“The easiest thing about singing in front of a lot of people is knowing that you know the words of the songs,” said Jacks. “But the hardest thing is when you have canned music and there’s a technical problem. Maybe you end up singing a cappella or you have to talk with the audience until the problem is fixed.”

While competitive singing is a big part the 15-year-old’s life right now, Jacks plans to pursue a different career track when she graduates from high school.

“I want to go to college and be an elementary school teacher,” said Jacks, “but if music came into my path in the future, you never know.”


  1. Congratulations! May you do well in 2017 as well. I am sure you inspire young singers everywhere. Keep it up.
    We are proud you Michayla.


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