Baton Rouge student heads to Hollywood

Baton Rouge student headed to Hollywood

(WAFB) - The Grammy’s might have happened hundreds of miles away from Baton Rouge, but a local high school teen was in the mix.

The teen's voice is taking her places and she hopes the next stop is Hollywood.

“I started singing in church when I was really little. Beyond little,” Sarena Smith, a McKinley High School senior, said. Her parents help nurture her love of music, and talent competitions served as the perfect practice stage.

Sarena started competing in these competitions when she was in elementary school. Private sessions are where Sarena perfected singing classical and RnB music, and she began to blossom.

“I used to be a very shy singer,” Sarena said. “So, I used to sing like a little bird, real quiet, but now I'm more open.”

Sometimes her parents catch her during a late-night session when she should be sleeping.

“I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water about 2:30. I’ll hear music playing, open the door the light is on. Somebody is singing,” her father Larry Smith said.

There was not a doubt that she was probably preparing another video to post for her friends to sing along, too.

Sarena used social media to her advantage and entered a talent competition. All she had to do was share videos of singing and get likes.

She lost but walked away with a medal. “He wanted her to be a part of this exclusive opportunity during Grammy week to showcase her instrument, her talent,” her mother Tirzah Smith said.

“I was like, ‘This must be a scam’ because you talk about the Grammy’s like that,” Sarena said. But it wasn’t a scam. An executive in the music industry spotted her. So, Sarena put her soul into three songs.

She then packed her bags and landed in Hollywood. In front of major music executives and producers during Grammy week, hoping for a shot to live the dream.

“God gives you gifts, and he gives you things for a reason. I believe this is his reason. I have a reason to be there so just taking it all in,” Sarena said.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.