“Connor Blackley Born to Perform”

What can I say? Some kids were born to perform and Connor Blackley is one of those kids or should I say teens. Connor who will turn 13 at the end of this month has been dazzling crowds of upwards to 4,000 people in his home state of Florida!

When I was a youngster, the adults of my life would ask me “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I don’t remember having a specific answer for that question, as many things looked appealing at different ages.

Connor Blackley
Connor Blackley

Connor Blackley however, is quite a different story!  If his first cries upon birth could have been interpreted it would most likely have been “I Want To Sing” . Connor, who will become a teenager at the end of this month has been a busy young man lately! Performing and competing in his home state of Florida thrilling record crowds to upwards of 4,000 people.  The biggest stage I ever stood on was only about 1,500 but this kid doesn’t seem to be phased by the experience.  He just keeps belting out the songs to the pleasure of the large audience.   I asked Conner if he ever get’s nervous and he replied I don’t really get nervous, but if I start to get a little nervous before hand, it goes away once I’m up on stage.”

gateradConnor most recently was asked by Gator Country WGNE to open their Jacksonville Landing 99.9’s Spring Concert Series by singing the National Anthem.  This years concert series opened with a David Nail concert. Connor performed at Jacksonville Landing last year as well and has become a real favorite of the crowd of country fans.

In addition to this performance Connor recently competed on April 6th in the Clay County Fair Talent competition.  While he did not capture the win for that contest he was a definite favorite of many who attended.

On a much larger note Conner will be performing at the Suwannee River Music Jam on April 24th, as part of the opening entertainment for the Zac Brown Band, John Michael Montgomery and Colt Ford.  Other performers to perform at the jam will also include Travis Tritt, Kansas, LoCash Cowboys, Jason Michael Carroll, Justin Mooore, Mountain Heart, David Cooler and Josh Thompson!  Connor will be gracing the stage with some of the finest country performers that this country has to offer which is quite an honor for a 13 year old boy!  Way to go Connor!

I also need to report that Connor auditioned for and was accepted into the Chamber Chorus (LaVilla School of the Arts advanced chorus) and will be traveling to Greece with them next year.

This Summer Connor will also be singing at the Jacksonville Summer jazz festival in August in front of over 4000 people.

What can I say? Some kids were just born to perform and Connor Blackley is one of those kids!  Or should I say Teens!

Congratulations on the fine performances Connor and we hope that your 13th birthday on the 28th is the best ever!

Connor Blackley headed for the Stars, “Country Stars”

Connor GuitarIn 1997 NASA’s Path-finder successfully landed on Mars! But something else happened that year that has star written all over it!
A boy by the name of Connor Blackley came into this world and the joy and excitement he would soon bring was not even imagined!
Connor who is now twelve years old, showed his first sign of tremendous talent at only 13 months of age, while his mother was tending to his bathing needs. His Mother Shanna tells me, “Connor suddenly began to sing (ABC…NO..NO..P) in perfect tune to the Alphabet song. “I was floored”, she says,”but by two years old he was singing lines from songs on the radio, and while I couldn’t tell if he had a good voice or not, I realized he could really carry a tune.”

By Five years-old, he was singing around the house non-stop,Connor Performs

whether he was playing with his trucks or doing his homework. Conner’s Mom signed him up for their church’s children’s choir where he really enjoyed singing group numbers. At age 6, he was given a solo for the Church Easter program,  for which he received a huge applause. That was all it took for Connor, from then on was hooked.

Connor progressed with his talent, so his parents enrolled him in theater camp for two summers in a row.

When Connor was eight years old Connor began voice training and was entered into his first talent show on a big stage.

While he did not win, he told his Mom “This is what I want to do!”

Soon he was performing at fairs and festivals around Florida, including the Clay County Fair, Florida State Fair and the Strawberry Festival in Plant City. He has won several talent competitions and captured vocalist and entertainer of the year 2 years in a row (2007 – 2008) for the Orange Blossom Country Music Association (in the male 7-12 age group). He also went on to win the titles at the North American Country Music Association. In March of 2007, Connor was one of 6 children chosen out of 38 who auditioned, to sing backup vocals on a children’s motivational cd entitled “Motivate with Mrs. Kate” with Kate Carpenter.
Connor loves to sing in front of huge crowds, and one of his favorite places to perform is the Jacksonville Summer Jazz Festival. Connor has performed there for the past 3 years, in front of thousands of people….and is scheduled to perform there again this summer. This past summer they held a jazz talent competition for children ages 7 to 19, and even though he was the 2nd youngest of the entire group, he was 2nd runner up and was the highest placing vocalist. Connor loves Tennessee and has appeared on Nashville Spotlight (a television show broadcast in the Nashville Area.)
Connor VegasConnor has had a music MySpace since November of 2007, which his Mother set up for family and friends to watch Connor’s performances and listen to his recordings. In April of this past year, he was contacted by Cirque du Soleil’s senior talent scout and was asked to audition for a role in their new show “Viva Elvis” in Las Vegas. Connor got the part (along with another boy) so he signed with the company, and in August his family moved to Las Vegas. Rehearsals began in September, and though it meant long hours and sometimes a lot of waiting, Connor LOVED it. He and the other boy, were tutored in the mornings by a Cirque provided instructor and in the afternoon or evenings, they would have rehearsal at the theater. “It was amazing”, Mrs. Blackley says,” working with the directors and the entire cast. Connor learned so much. Unfortunately, the show was in the creative process and it ended up going in a different direction, so Connor’s roles and the role of 3 other’s were written out of the show. We were so disappointed, but the director and creative director made sure that Connor understood that it had nothing to do with the job he did for them. They told him they were very impressed with his talent and professionalism, and hoped to work with him again. Connor misses Vegas, but he is thrilled that he got to have the experience that he did.”

One of Connor’s biggest achievements and memories was in October, 2008. A local radio station held a contest asking people to call in and sing the National Anthem. The winner got to sing the National Anthem at the Jacksonville Landing before season six American Idol “Phil Stacey.” Over 300 people called in for the contest but Connor proved the winner.!

Connor Blackley

On a personal note. Connor’s birthday is April 28th, 1997. He loves all kinds of music, including Jazz, Christian, Classic Rock, but his favorite genre is Country. He attends LaVilla School of the Arts (in the vocal arts area) and is in honor courses. He loves to play his Xbox 360, and hang out with his friends. Connor is currently learning to play the guitar, and is attempting song writing. He has a black belt in Taekwondo and played soccer for 6 years. He played Tiny Tim in the Orange Park Community Theater 2 years in a row, 2005 and 2006. And played the lead role of Thomas O’Malley in Ridgeview High School’s Summer Theater production of Aristocats in August 2007.

I don’t believe that NASA has another Mars landing scheduled in the near future but Connor Blackley is definitely headed for the Stars!
“Keep shining Connor, we will all stand with our mouth open looking up at the big stages that you soon will be treading on watching your smoke trail as you blow by all the Country artists on your way to the Grammy Awards!”