Jeneve Rose Mitchell has been performing music most of her life. Her dad introduced her to music at age 3. The first song she learned was The Star-Spangled Banner.
Talk about tackling the hard stuff first.
So it's no surprise that the ambitious Crawford teen with big blue eyes and a long braid of blonde hair is a big fan of American Idol. The show premiered when she was just 1 year old, and her family has watched every season.
"I always knew I wanted to try out for American Idol," said Jeneve Rose. But she needed to hone her talents a little first.
The long-running show, which gave us superstars like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, begins its 15th and final season tonight. "Since this is the last season, I just went for it," said Jeneve Rose.
She did pretty well. Her talent and ability to charm the judges earned her a place among the top 24 finalists (according to American Idol) and an appearance on tonight's season opener.
The show was pre-recorded, and while she's not allowed to talk about it, word is slowly getting out to her friends and the community. "I have to be careful when I answer the phone," she said.
She can say a few things. In order to make the list of finalists, Jeneve Rose went through what's called the "cattle call," which she said began with about 10,000 other performers in a big stadium. She went through a series of auditions over a two-day period, and ultimately landed an audition in front of the "big judges," Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr., and Jennifer Lopez, last fall.
For her final audition she plays "Boondocks" by Little Big Town, and "Chainsaw" by The Band Perry.
Jeneve Rose writes her own music, but said the judges prefer that contestants perform cover songs. "They want to see how you change them up," she said.
Her parents, Tim and Jenny Mitchell, were there supporting her the whole way.
Jeneve Rose, 15, was born in the big city of Las Vegas, but always knew she would one day live on the Colorado farm her parents owned. At age 7, the country girl left the big city for Crawford where she's a little more comfortable in blue jeans and a cowboy hat.
"It was a huge change," she said.
Jenny is a nurse practitioner and owns the non-profit Needlerock Family Health Clinic in Crawford. Her dad built the clinic on money Jeneve Rose raised by giving concerts at local venues.
Jeneve Rose is a vocalist (she sings a mean rendition of "Ring of Fire"), competitive yodeler and songwriter all rolled into one. She started on the fiddle at age 2, and gave her first live performance at age 4. She also plays banjo, bass fiddle and guitar and a list of other stringed instruments. With each new addition to her instrumental repertoire, she learns the basics from an instructor, then figures out the rest on her own, which gives her songs a unique sound.
Her instrument of choice is the cello. She first saw it as a classical instrument until she heard bluegrass musing coming out of it. When she was little, her dad, who is a singer, made a custom shoulder strap so she could wear it like a guitar.
In addition to country music she performs gospel, blues, soul, old-time, cowboy, folk, bluegrass and swing music, according to her website.
American Idol isn't her first time in front of a judge. In 2013 she and her dad won the Western Music Association award for Best Harmony Duo, and in 2014, she was nominated for the WMA "Crescendo Award." She's recorded, mixed and produced an album, "Rocky Mountain Hillbilly Girl," and also released the title song as a single track. Both are available through cdbaby.com.
As for how the big audition with the celebrity judges went, Jeneve Rose is forbidden to talk about it until after tonight's show. "You'll just have to watch," she said.
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