I’m not even sure how today’s young artist caught my attention but there was no doubt I felt he was a show stopper. I didn’t waste any time writing his parents through his website and Facebook page to find out more about him. I’m so happy that his parents agreed to share his story with me and I’m excited to now introduce you to the amazing young showman, Colin Trace Chandler. While this youngster is not yet a teenager he is entertaining large audiences and sharing the stage with some of our Nations best Country Artists.
“There is not really a “defining” or “aha” moment when we realized Colin had a knack for musical performance”,
his parents explained. He has always shown an inclination for the arts. Colin never really wanted to play with toy trucks or hot wheels. Instead he wanted to sing with a karaoke machine or do a skit on the fireplace hearth for the family. Even today he and his sisters are constantly working up make-shift stages at home to put on their concerts or plays. Looking back, Colin now says,
“I have known I wanted to be a performer for as long as I can remember.”
His folks joked about Colin being destined to be a performer and a lover of music from the time he was in the womb. His mother told me,
“I was 8 months pregnant with Colin and teaching choreography for Todd’s high school musical production of The Mikado.
Colin Performs “Camouflage”
After Colin was born, he was always around music…either at Todd’s orchestral rehearsals for church cantatas, Todd’s high school choir’s vocal, staging, and dance rehearsals, or simply at home listening to his dad practice. He would dance and sing around the house and join in while listening to the radio or his dad singing.
He sang and rang hand bells in our children’s choirs, participated in drama skits, and attended annual music camp at Commerce First Baptist Church from the time he was four years old.”
At age 6 Colin began performing with local children’s theatre group YAS (Young Actors Studio). He made his stage debut with a dual role as a Lollipop Guild munchkin and witch’s guard in their 2007 production of the Wizard of Oz. That was all it took…one time on stage in front of an audience to be completely infected with the theatre bug! He continued performing with YAS and with the Athens Town & Gown Players, snagging lead roles and vocal solos, until 2010. (All of his roles are listed in his resume). That October he auditioned with Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN and won the leading child role of Jaybeth in their multi-million dollar production of Sha-Kon-O-Hey!
In November, 2011 Colin got word of the opening for youth male performer at Country Tonite in Pigeon Forge. His December audition in front of the show’s producers included Rocky Top, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, and It is well with my soul. He sang, played his fiddle, and followed some stage direction from producer Kevin Wilson, who has appeared on the Grand ‘Ol Opry numerous times. He received news of his hire with the theatre in January and was thrilled. This gig has really given him a chance to stretch his musical wings. He performs with professionals that have played with some of country music’s greatest artist like Loretta Lynn, Box Car Willey, Ernest Tub, Conway Twitty and Travis Tritt. The musicians have helped Colin to grow into an excellent musician. At Country Tonite Colin is featured singing and/or fiddlin’ Hello Darlin’, Tiger by the Tail, Rocky Top, Roll in my Sweet Baby’s Arms, Flint Hill Special, Ol’ Time Religion, Camouflage, and Jambalaya. The show’s Christmas special began November 1st. He is featured performing Frosty the Snowman, Run Run Rudolph, Christmas Time’s a Comin’, Angels Among Us, and Happy Birthday Jesus. He also sings in the show’s bluegrass section, opener and closing. He loves getting the opportunity to speak to the audience face to face after the show during the cast’s meet and greet session and has had a ball joking around backstage with the other cast members. The cast performs one to two shows every day of the week. The last show of the season will be on New Year’s Eve. At the end of the season Colin will have performed 345 times out of 346 shows.
Colin began learning to play the fiddle just prior to his Country Tonite audition. He started learning to play the fiddle initially because his dad said it would be good for training his ear, but he soon fell in love with it. Now earnest about his playing, he takes lessons from a talented musician and former Florida fiddling champion, David Pierce (Fiddle Man Dave) and practices every day. In fact, he enjoys being an instrumentalist so much that he is also learning to play mandolin and guitar. His musical influences include his dad, his fiddle teacher, Bill Monroe, Michael Cleveland, Charlie Daniels, and Benny Martin.
Already an avid reader and writer in short stories and poetry (having received numerous accolades in Georgia’s Young Author’s writing competitions), Colin branched out into another writing genre last year when he began writing music with his dad for fun. Before long, he and his dad had co-written three different songs about Colin’s life at home, his faith, and his family. At about the same time Colin had the opportunity to sit in on a friend’s recording session, where he first met Nashville recording artist/singer/songwriter Chuck Day, who decided to produce Colin’s debut cd. Four months later, Colin was in Nashville at Gene Breeden’s recording studio laying tracks for his first cd “On Top of the World”. This debut album is a compilation of 10 country gospel, inspirational country, and all-time favorite hymns, three of which are the original works he and his dad had co-written during the fun writing sessions.
His album can be purchased on the Shop page of Colin’s website: or at the Country Tonite Theatre in Pigeon Forge, TN.
One of the things Colin has always enjoyed most is making people smile. At school he is always making his friends and teachers laugh with his impromptu bouts of singing and comedic impressions. He has also said that his favorite thing about being on stage is looking out at the audience to “watch them smile and get into the music.”
Offstage and outside of the theatre, Colin enjoys clogging, hiking, soccer, reading (especially mythology), writing, throwing knives (he has quite the collection), blowing his dart gun, and whittling sticks into swords and staffs for role play. Prior to homeschooling he was an active member of his school’s Student Council, Drama Club, and Gifted Program. He loves the Hobbit, Harry Potter series, Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, and the Hunger Games series (both books and movies for all 4 series). He enjoys watching NFL and college football with his dad. He is a junk-food junkie and a huge fan of hibachi food. His favorite restaurant is Olive Garden and he doesn’t mind a frequent trip to a steak house! His favorite tv shows include: Duck Dynasty, Chopped, and Legend of the Seeker. He loves to travel abroad (he has toured with performing groups to New York, Austria and Germany). He also has a big heart for philanthropic work. In school, Colin volunteered through his student council organization to assist students in the special needs class. He has participated in fundraising efforts for the March of Dimes and has marched in venues to raise awareness and support for Alzheimer’s TN and Project Sevier (facebook/projectsevierinc). During the month of December, he is giving all of his cd proceeds to Project Sevier.
Colin’s goal is to continue music professionally and to create an instrumental album sometime in the near future. He will be entering his first fiddle competitions in January and February. He hopes his music will uplift and inspire his listeners. To stay connected with Colin, visit his websites performance photos and videos page, and learn about upcoming events:
For more about Colin visit: