Angel Vannasdale

Angel Vannasdale

One thing has led to another for Angel Vannasdale.

That one thing will take place on Thursday as the Lafayette resident will be in Knoxville, trying out for "America's Got Talent."

"I am very, very nervous," Vannasdale said. "I think once the music starts, I think I will be fine. I will probably be shaking to be honest."

Vannasdale wasn't familiar with the show … until recently.

"I had never watched any of those on television," Vannasdale said. "I have been watching some on YouTube lately, trying to get a feel for it."

The opportunity arose as a result of the efforts of Vannasdale's daughter, Heather Reid.

"I know it's always been a dream for her," Reid said. "She really wanted to go to 'American Idol.' Once she found she wasn't the right age, me and my husband watched 'America's Got Talent.' We looked to see if there was an age limit. It didn't have one, so, we signed her up for it. I really hope she goes far."

In the online process of obtaining an audition, Vannasdale was accepted within a few hours, on Oct. 10. Five adults and five children can accompany her to the Knoxville tryout.

"I sing all the time, cleaning house and whatever," Vannasdale said. "When I go do karaoke, I don't like to go by myself. My children will go and support me.

"I had looked at 'American Idol' about four or five years ago. Of course, they have a set age, and I was too old. Just out of the blue, (Reid) texted me and called one day and said, 'I've been looking at the rules and requirements … how about I sign you up for America's Got Talent?' I said ok, and she did. They have faith in me. That means the world to me."

Reid is one of her biggest supporters.

"Her voice honestly … she's true country," Reid said. "The country (music) we have out, it's not how it used to be. It's not country. She's country. She's the real deal. I just love hearing her voice honestly.

"I'm really excited for her. I'm her No. 1 fan I guess you could say."

Vannasdale has a musical heritage, and she actually sang at a young age.

"I wanted to sing (as a child)," Vannasdale said. "When I was 6 years old, Opryland was still open. They were having open auditions for the stages that were in the park. I qualified for an audition, but my dad was a contractor. Before it was time for my audition, we moved to Ohio."

She has a love for gospel music as well.

"I love gospel," Vannasdale said. "My mom wrote gospel songs. That's what I would sing when I would go to church, along with Elvis gospel. After my grandmother died, I was 11 years old when she passed away … my mom and two of her sisters (Wanda Phillips and Faye Brinkley) were in a singing group at the church. I would actually sing with them on Sundays and Wednesdays and at the homecomings and stuff.

"Myself, my grandfather (Steve Martin), my little brother (Chuck Amons) and one of my cousins (Trusie Phillips) used to travel with Bill Monroe and sing at churches. We knew him as Uncle Bill. He and my grandfather hunted together. He was at church all the time. We'd go to revivals and go to people's homecomings. We were a small little choir that consisted of about five of us."

However, Monroe wasn't the only star that Vannasdale crossed paths with.

"My mom played and sang, and our neighbors were people like Jean Shepherd and Ronnie Dunn," Vannasdale said. "Lorrie Morgan lived about seven miles away, and Trisha Yearwood lived about three miles away. We used to hang out with Jean Shepherd's children. We all went with her on Friday and Saturday night to the (Grand Ole) Opry, backstage. It was just something I was used to, but I look back on it and realize I was very blessed. She was a very nice lady.

"I went to see her son, Hawkshaw Hawkins (Jean Shepherd's son), at Dicky's (Hickory Pit and Sports Bar in Hendersonville) to see if he could put some music to my lyrics. They asked me to sing my song acapella. When I did, there were people standing at the stage wanting to talk to me. They said … 'You're country. You're the real deal. Don't change. A few songs you've done are No. 1 hits.' I'm just going with the flow."

The 52-year-old Vannasdale didn't expect that type of reaction.

"I was surprised," Vannasdale said. "I had grown up with most of the songwriters that were there. They were neighbors. The ones I grew up with were like, 'Wow … I never knew you could sing. Why have you never said anything?'

"I had my life and my children. My priorities were somewhere else. I do have grandchildren. I'm a widow, so I have plenty of time."

That attention has led to other opportunities as well.

"I myself write music," Vannasdale said. "My mother (Brenda Amons) wrote, and she played. Once I was accepted for the audition for 'America's Got Talent,' I started going to Hendersonville to songwriter's night. I was trying to get somebody to put music to my lyrics."

The songwriter's nights are held on Wednesdays at Dicky's.

"If they still want to write and sing at closing time, they go to somebody's house and keep going until everybody is tired and ready to go home," Vannasdale said.

That has led to what looks to be the upcoming fulfillment of her dreams.

"Even if I'm not what they're looking for, I still have a chance with my dream," Vannasdale said. "In going to songwriter's night, I have had several come up to me. They're going to put me in the studios."

Some of Vannasdale's songs include - "An Email to Heaven," "Sometimes a Woman Does Too" and "Writing Letters and Looking Through Glass." "An e-mail to heaven" was written after her husband died 11 years ago.

"That was the three I did the first night I went (to songwriter's night) to see about putting music to my songs," Vannasdale said.

Donnie Hawkins is putting music to her songs, and she expects to start her first album - a 10-song project - either later this month or in early December.

"It's almost as if it's not real," Vannasdale said. "But yet, 'Ok, I'm going to wake up, and it's all going to be a dream.'

"At least if it's not a dream, I'm going to have a chance to make my childhood dreams come true."

Vannasdale is excited about the audition, which will take place at approximately 3 p.m. at the Knoxville Convention Center.

"This will be a first," Vannasdale said. "All of it is truly going to be a first for me. Watching the YouTube (version of) 'America's Got Talent,' it's like two levels of an auditorium, and it's packed. I'm like, 'Oh my God.'

"Momma always said, 'Picture everybody in their underwear, and it makes it easier.' It really does work."