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Shelby Ann-Marie to Kick Off Common Ground 2018 in Lansing, MI

Shelby Ann-Marie will be kicking off Common Ground 2018 along side Kip Moore, Hunter Hayes, and more. Shelby will be performing on the Main Stage on July 5th with some Nashville friends. Doors will open at 4pm on the day of the show. Click here for tickets and enter promo code "shelby" for $5 off! This promo code is good for any day of the festival as well as weekend passes!

From Portland to Nashville

The Portland Beacon

February 1, 2018

Jim Townsend

Growing up right here in Portland, and singing since the first grade, 19-year-old Shelby Ann-Marie Miller has already packed more into her short music career than many musicians do in a lifetime.


From singing in the choir at St. Patrick church, to American Idol season 13 at the age of 15, to writing/co-writing and performing today, Shelby continues her drive to make her own mark in the music industry.


American Idol Season 13 premiered January 15, 2014, and according to her Facebook page, “she made it to the final judgement day of Hollywood Week just short of the Top 30.” 


Since then she has opened for Chase Rice, Craig Morgan, The Band Perry, Trace Adkins, Parmalee, Kane Brown, Clint Black, Collin Raye, Steve Azar and others.


Shelby said, “The most memorable experience that I have had since American Idol was probably my first concert after the show. I opened for Craig Morgan and Chase Rice at Fifth Third Ball Park on the first day of my senior year of high school and I really felt at home on the stage. There was around 5,000 people there and you could just feel the energy in the air and up on the stage. I had my class there to support me and family back stage as well. Even after coming off the show, I knew that this is something that I wanted to pursue with my whole heart.”


Today she says, “I am currently working at a booking agency in Nashville, TN, finishing up my college degree online, writing/co-writing around Middle Tennessee, recording new material, and performing writers rounds around the area. I have always been someone who needs to stay busy in order to feel productive so I am definitely do just that!”


She keeps herself very busy.  She says, “My schedule is planned out somewhat strategically these days since I try to fit so much in. I work at the booking agency from 9:30 am - 5:30 pm Monday through Friday and do my school work on my downtime at work. Mondays I have a writing group that meets for tea and to practice new writing techniques, specializing in imagery. Tuesdays after work my boyfriend and I volunteer at the Bridge Ministry downtown which is a program set up for the homeless in the area, giving them a hot meal, church service, and groceries to take home. Wednesdays we attend a church group at Crosspoint in Nashville and meet with other young people that share in our walk of faith. Thursdays and Fridays are my days for writing and co-writing. Weekends are my free time to do my cleaning and errands as well as play rounds around town every now and then. I really need to stay on top my schedule in order to fit everything in that I need to. Working full time, going to school, and trying to make a mark on the music industry can all be very time consuming.”


When asked if there was any one thing from Portland that makes her a bit home sick, Shelby said, “I will say the small-town feel is something that I miss from time to time. Back in Portland you can't run to the store without running into at least three people that you know and their mother haha. Everyone knows your name and believes in what you're doing. They support you and build you up because you are one of their own. They have your back and will always be there when you need them. The town really looks out for one another. Out on the road, you are kind of on your own. No one cares about your story or how you are doing, they care about what you can do for them and how marketable you can be. It's a tough industry to be in so I am glad that I still have roots in Portland and can come back home to regain my focus every now and then.”


The singer has a show coming up in Nashville on February 24th.  She said, “This is a winery and is a small venue that I use to try out a lot of my new material.”  As for any plans on performing in Michigan any time soon, she added, “I have a few things in the works back home in Michigan but that's all top secret until the details are released.... shhhh haha.”


When I asked her is he had any advice for a young person looking to make a career in the music world, she said, “As cliché as it sounds, I would say that it is important to find yourself before putting yourself in the spotlight. Once you are in the music world everyone will have an opinion on what you should wear, how you should change your hair and makeup, what you should sing, how you should sing it, and everything in between. You really need to have a strong sense of self in order to have a backbone in these situations. Faith is also something that has been the center of my life through all of this. Knowing that God has a purpose for you and that you are his tool in bring love to others is something so humbling. Every time I get stressed or worried about what my next move is, I have to remind myself that I am only a part in God's plan. Having a deep relationship with Him allows you to become your true self and be strong in your self-awareness.”


As for anything she would like to share with readers her in Portland, she said, “I would just like to say thank you for the support and love. Since starting this journey at a young age, I have always had Portland behind me to cheer me on. Even after moving away, their love has never wavered. I hope I can make them all proud!”


You can find more information about Shelby and what she is up to at her website,

Shelby Ann-Marie nominated for Rising Star of the Year in the Modern Country Category at 2017 Josie Awards 

The Josie Music Awards is the largest independent music award show worldwide, celebrating talent from around the globe. Shelby was honored to receive a nomination for Rising Star of the Year in the Modern Country category. The full weekend of events will include the first live taping of The Josie Show for its 400th Episode Celebration, Afternoon Music Showcase at Music City Bar & Grill and Official Pre-Party Gathering at The Hard Rock Cafe Nashville.

The Josie Music Award Ceremony will be on Sunday, September 17th at the incredible Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.  This extraordinary ceremony will start off with a red carpet ceremony, award presentations, performances, and many surprises throughout the event.  

New Show! Shelby Ann-Marie Opens For Russell Dickerson Dec 9 @ The Loft
October 5, 2016 -- Shelby Ann-Marie will make her return to Michigan to open for National Country Recording Artist Russell Dickerson Friday, December 9 @ The Loft in Lansing, Michigan! Tickets are $12 in advance and can be purchased online here
New Shows! Catch Shelby Ann-Marie Live October 20 & 22/Arkansas State Fair
Shelby Ann-Marie is will be playing two shows at the Arkansas State Fair this October! Check out the Shows page for more details!
Thursday, October 20 Line-Up: Shelby Ann-Marie, Bear Creek Brothers, Clint Black
Saturday, October 22 Line-up: Big Chuk, Shelby Ann-Marie, Bear Creek Brothers, Collin Raye
Shelby Ann-Marie & Kevan Browne Kick Off Summer Tour In Charleston, WV
July 29, 2016 -- Shelby Ann-Marie, along with singer/songwriter and guitar player Kevan Browne, are set to kick off a two-week acoustic tour on August 10 in Charleston, WV. The  pair will make stops along the East Coast and South before ending in Nashville, TN on August 26. More dates are expected to be added but the tour stops include the following: 
August 10 -  The Empty Glass/Charleston, WV (10pm - 1am)
August 12 - The Maylon House/Milton, WV (6-9pm)
August 14 - Pro Re Nata Brewery/Crozet, VA (3-5pm)
August 17 - The Eagles Nest/Chesapeake, VA (9pm - 1am)
August 26 - The Country/Nashville, TN (Shelby Ann-Marie Only, Time TBD)
Shelby Ann-Marie Covers Justin Timberlake's "Can't Fight The Feeling" for Pateron Covers. Click here to view.
New Shows Announced! 
June 3 - Mackinac Island Lilac Festival  -- Acoustic Show, 12pm-2pm
June 4 - Olivera's/Ionia, MI  -- Acoustic Show, 9pm-midnight
June 24 - Caledonia Western Week/Caledonia, MI - Full Band w/The Royal Ramblers
June 25 - Milan Country Music Festival/Milan, MI - line up includes headliner Diamond Rio
July 4  - National Cherry Festival/Traverse City, MI - with headliner Kane Brown
For full details including ticket prices, show times and full line ups check out the Shows page or click here.
Show Announcement: Shelby Ann-Marie Set To Open For Parmalee March 17
Feb. 9, 2016 -- Section Live  announced today that Shelby Ann-Marie will open for Country Group Parmalee at The Intersection in Grand Rapids on Thursday March 17th. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the show and can be purchased online here. This is an all ages show with doors opening at 6:30pm. 
Show Announcement: Shelby Ann-Marie Headlines The Loft January 30th
Nov. 16, 2015 -- Fusion Shows announced today that Shelby Ann-Marie will headline The Loft in Lansing, Mich. on Saturday, January 30th. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 the day of the show and can be purchased online here. Doors open at 7pm with Union Guns kicking off the show followed by Bear Creek Brothers. 
Shelby Ann-Marie Joins ASCAP Nashville
Shelby Ann-Marie joins ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) Nashville. ASCAP, a performance rights organization, is home to some of the most successful songwriters in the music industry.  
"ASCAP felt like home from the moment I walked through the doors and that's how I want people to feel when they listen to my music." Shelby Ann-Marie continues, "I'm so grateful to be working with such a great company to not only protect my artistry as a songwriter but to further develop my writing so I can reach others in the way that only music can."
Nov 9, 2015: Shelby Ann-Marie Promotes Banding Against Hunger Benefit Appearance Live on eightWest (click here to view video)
Shelby Ann-Marie on WIN 98.5's Homegrown

Sept. 29, 2015 -- Shelby stopped by the WIN 98.5 studios on September 29th to talk to station DJ and Homegrown host, Wild Bill! 

Shelby talks about her journey from American Idol to opening for National Country Artists The Band Perry, Craig Morgan, Chase Rice, Trace Adkins and more! 


Click here for Part 1 of the interview. 

Click here for Part 2 of the interview. 

Portland Strong Benefit Concert Raises $7,600 for Tornado Aide
Shelby Ann-Marie's Portland Strong Benefit Concert that took place on August 9th raised $7,600 for her hometown of Portland, Mich. to help with relief efforts following the tornado that hit the city on June 22nd. The funds went directly to the Portland Community Relief Fund where they were disprearsed from there. 
"This is an amazing community and it was an honor to be able to do something like this for my hometown. They have supported me throughout my career and I was so glad I was able to give back in this way." Shelby continues, "The tornado disrutped a lot of lives that day and I am just grateful to be able to use the gift God gave me to help make a differene in my community."
Aug 9, 2015: Shelby Ann-Marie Headlines Portland Strong Benefit - Fox 17 Story (click here to view video)

Shelby Ann-Marie On Local Spins: Opening For Trace Adkins & More


Shelby Ann-Marie: Small-town Michigan girl with a big voice, big heart and a rising profile in country music. 


by John Sinkevics

August 7, 2015


The one-time "American Idol" contestant headlined a benefit in her hometown of Portland to aid tornado victims this summer. The teen also plays the Ionia Country Jam on Aug. 29


THE ARTIST: Shelby Ann-Marie

THE MUSIC: Country

WHERE YOU CAN SEE HER: 3:05pm Saturday at the Ionia Country Jam at Ionia Free Fair Grounds (complete schedule below)


Shelby Ann-Marie may be a small-town girl from Portland, Mich., with a sweet disposition and a kind heart, but the petite country singer already has a big resume as a performer - making the top 75 on "American Idol" two years ago and opening shows for stars Craig Morgan, Chase Rice and The Band Perry.


Buoyed by her striking voice, the 17-year-old boasts a confident stage presence that belies her years, something Shelby aptly demonstrated last summer when she took the stage in front of 7,000 exuberant fans at Morgan's Fifth Third Ballpark concert.


"That was the first really big show. It was really the moment where I felt at home. I felt good," Shelby recalls. "I'm always at home on stage. That's really where I can just be who I am and share what I want with everyone. That was a really big moment for me to be able to share with so many people."


Of course, Shelby, who just graduated earlier this year from Portland St. Patrick Catholic School, already is a star in her hometown of 3,900, but the attention she's received as a teenager clearly portends much bigger things for the singer who's taking a year off to pursue her musical interests before attending college. 


But this is not some stardom-blinded teen seeking fame and adulation. "I really just want to reach out to as many people as I can. I'm really open to the future and whatever that brings," she says forthrightly. "I'm blessed with a lot of opportunities right now, so hopefully that continues and I can reach out to more people and help them through music. Music has always been there for me and been something that's gotten me through a lot of things."


Earlier this summer Shelby headlined the Portland Strong Benefit Concert in her hometown to raise money for the Portland Disaster Relief Fund, established to assist those devastated by a June tornado that swept through Portland. 


The concert at the Portland High School football field also featured Bear Creek Brothers, Three Men and a Tenor, Max Boyle, Jamie Miller and Patrick Dawdy. Shelby was backed by The Royal Ramblers, a popular Portland band with whom she frequently perform.


"The destruction was just unbelievable," Shelby says of the EF-1 tornado that damaged buildings, churches and dozens of home. "You never thing it's going to happen to your hometown. The first thing we wanted to do was put on this benefit."


"We were blessed to have so many sponsors that made it possible and so many people behind us wanting to contribute to the cause, so hopefully, we get a good crowd out there to support the community."


On Sat. Aug. 29, she'll perform during the Ionia Country Jam at the Ionia Free Fair Grounds, a star-studded benefit headlined by Trace Adkins, with Steve Azar, Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys, Kari Lynch, Steve Rivers and Jesse Galchick also on the bill. Get tickets, $25, and more information online at Proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and the Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.


Here's the Ionia Country Jam performance schedule: 3:05 p.m. Shelby Ann-Marie, 3:55 p.m. Steve Rivers, 5 p.m. Kari Lynch, 6:10 p.m. Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys, 7:30 p.m. Steve Azar, 9 p.m. Trace Adkins.


Shelby's passion to help others is matched only by her passion for music, especially the country genre, where Carrie Underwood has been a major inspiration.


"Country music really spoke to me just because of the lyrics. You can feel the heart in the country songs," says Shelby, who's been writing her own tunes and has "notebooks full at home" with ideas for new material.


"I think music can reach people in different ways and so it kind of just depends on what you want to put forth. But I think country music is where I feel most at home because you can just get really into the lyrics and the meaning behind it."


The singer delivered some country lyrics of her own during this week's Local Spins Live on News Talk 1340 AM (WJRW), performing an original song, "You and Me," accompanied by guitarist Doug Fritch. Listen to the podcast of the show here, with a video of her performance below.


Shelby's musical journey really got a kick-start at age 15 during Season 13 of TV's "American Idol," when she ascended the ranks and made it to "Hollywood Week," one of the coveted spots sought by contestants.


"It's crazy from the very start," says Shelby, who conceded that until then, she was "really just singing in church and doing the National Anthem" at various events around Portland. "I was the youngest in the competition for the season. Being able to experience all of the new things and work with a band and with different vocalists harmonizing, that was all new to me... That was just an eye-opening experience."


Since then, she's been writing songs - tinkering a bit on guitar and piano and gotten a chance to play some high-profile country shows for major country starts. She plans to continue performing locally this fall, with hopes for eventually recording a studio album.


"I take every show as an opportunity and a blessing it itself," she says. "To be able to open for such amazing people that I've looked up to, it's still just so surreal to be able to do it. I'm happy to be part of it."


For the full article including video and photos please visit:

Aug 5, 2015: Shelby Ann-Marie Performing Her Original Song "You and Me" Live On WJRW (story above)

Aug 3, 2015: Shelby Ann-Marie on eightWest (click here to view)



July 9, 2015: Shelby Ann-Marie on WLNS @ Common Ground (click here to view)



June 26, 2015: Shelby Ann-Marie performs live on Fox 17 (click here to view)



Shelby Ann-Marie Talks with Fox 47 About Opening For The Band Perry At Common Ground 7.9.15


By Ciara Garchow. CREATED Jun 10, 2015


You may have heard of the headliners coming to Common Ground Music Festival this summer, but have you given thought to the other performers taking the stage?


Whether you have or not, here's one singer you won't want to miss.


Meet Shelby Ann-Marie, a Michigan native who is taking the state (and pretty soon the country) by storm.


Recognize her from a certain FOX singing competition we all know and love?


Shelby Ann-Marie competed in season 13 of American Idol's Hollywood Week, at the young age of 15. Now, at 17 years-old, she is touring across Michigan and the country (as far south as Florida).


We chatted with Shelby Ann-Marie to learn a little more about her as a performer.


How has your experience of competing in American Idol's Hollywood Week shaped you as a performer?


I always had stage fright, especially at that age, so being on the show really helped me conquer it. I realized that if I could do that [perform for judges], that I could do other shows and I could do other things with my music and make it my own.


What has been your favorite performance so far?


I opened for Craig Morgan and Chase Rice this past summer at Fifth Third Ball Park. That was probably the largest crowd I had ever sang for and that was something I always dreamed of doing, just being on stage in front of so many people and being able to share my own music. That was the first time I performed some of my originals. 


What are your short term goals as a singer and songwriter?


To get myself out there a little bit more, to get exposure to different crowds and audiences. I'm just starting out in the music industry so I really want to get my name out there and work on my new originals.


What about long term goals?


I'd like to go to Nashville, continue to grow, and you know, I just want to make a difference with my music. I think that's the main goal of mine, to be able to reach out to as many people as I can to make a positive impact in the music industry. 


Who is your music icon or role model?


Carrie Underwood. Just based on her faith and how much she has grown into the artist she is today, but always stayed the same person throughout her journey. I think she demonstrates what a true artist should be and works hard to make her music the main focal point of her success. 


What is your favorite cover song to perform?


We recently started doing "Cups" by Anna Kendrick with the band. Our drummer has done something kind of different with that, so that ones really fun to do. I like to keep a variety of songs in my set. 


As a fellow Michigander, I wanted to ask some questions that only people from Michigan would be able to truly answer.


Cherries or Apples?




Michigan or Michigan State?


Michigan State, all the way. 


What is your favorite lake?


Lake Michigan. 


What's your favorite thing about being from Michigan?


Being able to not be far away from the water. We always take trips up to Holland and Grand Haven as a family during the summer. 


What does Michigan mean to you?


Michigan means home. I've traveled with my music here and there, but really coming back to Michigan is where I feel at home and comfortable with everything. Especially just coming back to my hometown of Portland, the support here in the community and across Michigan has been so much for me and my family. 


Catch Shelby Ann-Marie's performance on Thursday, July 9th at the Sparrow Stage during Common Ground Music Festival.

Shelby Ann-Marie was presented with the award for "Putting Ionia County On The Map" on January 31, 2015 for her national and statewide contributions in the vocal music industry in 2014. Photo credit: Ionia Area Chamber of Commerce

Oct 31, 2014: Shelby Ann-Marie Named NSAI "One To Watch" (click to view list)

Shelby Ann-Marie has been recognized as One To Watch by NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) for the month of October 2014!


"These writers are being recognized by our evaluators as writers on the rise! These members have gotten the attention of our evaluators for their unique and promising writing skills. Keep an eye on these folks...they just keep getting better!"


To view please click on the link above. 

Shelby Ann-Marie Performs At Right To Life Benefit


(photo: Shelby Ann-Marie with 

Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley)


By Press Release

September 26, 2014

Ionia Sentinel-Standard



The event will feature music by Shelby Ann-Marie Miller, Portland's own American Idol contestant who won a golden ticket to Hollywood while on the show. Shelby was the opening act for country music star Craig Morgan at Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids last month. Doors open at 6p.m. The dinner/program starts at 6:30 p.m.


Full Release: 


Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and wife, Julie, will emcee the Ionia Area Focus on Life annual dinner to be held Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Portland Nazarene Church, 9466 Cutler Road, Portland.

Julie Calley is the Chairman of the Ionia County Board of Commissioners and mother to the couples' three young children. Portland Right to Life President, Pam Brown, stated that Brian and Julie have supported and attended the dinners regularly for over 20 years, and were excited when asked if they could co-emcee the event.

The event will feature music by Shelby Ann Marie Miller, Portland's own American Idol contestant who won a golden ticket to Hollywood while on the show. Shelby was the opening act for country music star Craig Morgan at Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids last month. Doors open at 6 p.m. The dinner/program starts at 6:30 p.m.

The guest speaker is Dennis Hrcka, who served as president of Shiawassee County Right to Life for more than 25 years. He taught in the Owosso public schools for 30 years and served three years as principal of St. Joseph Elementary School. He is a graduate of Hillsdale College where he excelled at basketball. A 7th round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakes in 1968, he played basketball for a year in Europe.

The dinner is being catered by popular Portland chef, Sue Kreiner, of Taste of Heaven Catering, who has donated her time and talents for this event every year since 2002. Another popular feature of the dinner is the vast array of door prizes garnered by members of the Portland and Ionia affiliates to hand out to lucky dinner attendees.

The yearly event raises funds to support agencies that help women facing a crisis pregnancy, raise awareness of profile issues such as abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and assisted-suicide; fund information booths at fairs and expos; and purchase advertising to promote Life issues.

Aug 24, 2014: Shelby Ann-Marie performs her original song "Wanna Go Back" live on Fox 17 (click here to view video)



Shelby Ann-Marie Opens For Craig Morgan Aug 26 @ Fifth Third Ballpark


By Press release 
Posted Jul. 16, 2014 @ 8:58 pm 


Blue Cap Entertainment has announced that local country artist Shelby Ann-Marie Miller will open and perform as the first of three acts on Aug. 26 at Fifth Third Ballpark. Previously announced headliner, Craig Morgan will close out the night with one additional hot national country support artist being announced in the coming weeks.


From a very young age, it was clear that Miller had the raw natural ability to sing. Growing up in Portland, she was known as the "little girl with a big voice." At only 15 years old she took a step closer to pursuing her passion and auditioned for this past season of American Idol. She made it past the first few rounds and on to Hollywood with ease while connecting with judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. along the way. Urban was quoted as saying he, "could listen to her all day long."

Miller made it all the way to the end of Hollywood week and fell just short of the top 15 girls and the live rounds, but that has only fueled her desire to make her way as a country artist. Now 16, she continues to perform locally and is making strides toward putting her mark on the music industry.


Tickets start at just $9.37 and can be purchased in person at the Fifth Third Ballpark Box Office, by calling 616-784-4131 or online at and


Previously announced artists for the summer concert series Aug. 26-28 at Fifth Third Ballpark include Craig Morgan with special guests on Aug. 26, Goo Goo Dolls & Daughtry with special guest Plain White T's on Aug. 27 and Theory of a Deadman & Halestorm on Aug. 28. For full details on the summer concert series Aug. 26-28 at Fifth Third Ballpark visit

Portland Teen Is Living 'American Idol' Dream



Detroit Free Press

By Mike Hughes

February 22, 2014



For almost two-thirds of her life, Shelby Miller has been an “American Idol” fan, watching small-town kids get the big-time spotlight. That first year, she was a kindergarten kid in Portland, watching a Dallas waitress (Kelly Clarkson) find fame. 


And this year … well, there she was, singing to the judges and getting reactions. She was doing a Spanish-language song; “Jennifer Lopez started singing along,” she recalled. And she was getting approval from Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban. “I remembered all those times, singing Keith Urban songs in the car with my mother and my sister.”


Some of those drives were marathons — 12-hour journeys from Portland to Atlanta for phases of the “Idol” auditions. But it all worked out; Shelby, 16, advanced to the next round in Hollywood.


Now she can tell what she’s been up to. It was a secret until the Atlanta episode aired Thursday. “It’s a small school,” said Shelby, a junior at Portland St. Patrick, “so people noticed. They’d say, ‘You went on ANOTHER family vacation?’ ”


Her passion for singing has never been a secret. “When she was in kindergarten or first grade, her music teacher said, ‘You know, Shelby has a really good voice,’ ” recalled her mother, Tina Miller.


Shelby’s maternal great-grandfather Al Smith “was known as the Western Michigan singing cowboy,” Tina Miller said. Shelby sang country music and sang in the St. Patrick church and school choirs … or just for fun. “Her friends and her sister would say, ‘Sing, Shelby.’ 


There were “Idol” auditions in Detroit this summer, but she missed them because she was with her grandparents in Florida. When she heard of the Atlanta ones, that seemed like an easy trip. “I didn’t realize how difficult it would



There were three phases — two with producers, one with judges — each weeks apart. That required two marathon car trips between Portland and Atlanta, endless hours of singing, listening, preparing.


Her song choices wobbled — two songs from “Idol” champion Carrie Underwood (“Wasted,” “Jesus Take the Wheel”) … others from Etta James (“At Last”), Taylor Swift (“Mean”) and Sugarland (“Baby Girl”). Producers nixed the Swift song and discouraged the James one and a Spanish-language one. But in front of the judges, life was different. 


“After the first song,” Shelby said, “they said, ‘Wonderful. Now we want to hear something you didn’t prepare.’ ” So Shelby, who doesn’t have any Hispanic roots, sang that Spanish-language song. Lopez, who does, sang along.


A Hollywood ticket was coming.

Feb 6, 2014: B93's Conrad Interviews Shelby Ann-Marie (click to view)

Jan 24, 2014: 97.5 WIOG's Josh Strickland Interviews Shelby-Ann Marie - (click to view)

Portland Student Travels To Hollywood For American Idol



Posted Jan. 27, 2014 @ 4:33 pm 

By Mattie Cook - Ionia Sentinel-Standard
Portland, Mich.

As a first-grader, Shelby Miller's voice and singing style were noticed for the first time. Nearly a decade later, these same skills have helped pave her road to Hollywood through American Idol auditions. "Shelby started school at SS. Peter and Paul in Ionia, and Mary Cusack said to us that she sang well. We had noticed it too, so we asked if Mary thought maybe we should get her some voice lessons, but she said to let it develop naturally and that's what we did," Tina Miller, Shelby's mother, said.


Over the years, Shelby has been asked to sing at family get-togethers and community events, and she is also involved in the St. Patrick choir. Now in her junior year at St. Patrick Catholic School in Portland, Shelby has had the opportunity to showcase her talents to the entire nation through the American Idol competition.

"Shelby gets asked to sing at all of our family events. She's a little shy, but she always gets up and does it," Tina Miller said.

In sixth grade, Shelby began singing publicly and debuted her skills with the national anthem.

With a change in the regulations on age limits for the American Idol auditions, Shelby became eligible to participate in the first round of auditions for the national singing competition.

"When I first started out, I was thinking that I would never make it, but I was just happy to have had the experience. But as I kept getting further in the auditions process, I really started to realize how blessed I am for this experience," Shelby Miller said.

Although there were auditions taking place in Detroit, Shelby auditioned in Atlanta, Ga., since her family spent the summer in Florida with her grandparents. "I said that if she got all of the information together, I would drive her to Atlanta for the audition. We got there at one in the morning to stand in line," said Tina Miller.


With more than 10,000 individuals auditioning, Shelby's talent for singing shone through and she advanced to the second round of judging. "It was such a neat experience. There are two auditions with executive producers before you get to the celebrity round. Shelby kept saying, 'Even if it stops here, I'll be fine, because it was such a neat experience,'" Tina Miller said.


After advancing to the second round of competition, the family traveled back to Atlanta to complete the second round, and again for all rounds of audition before Shelby received her ticket to Hollywood. "Every four weeks we were heading back down to Atlanta. She got good responses from each round," said Tina Miller.


Before auditioning for American Idol, Shelby participated in Foreign Language Day at Central Michigan University. At the event, Shelby sang a Spanish tune. "When she sings in Spanish, she sounds like a completely different person. I suggested to her that she try the Spanish song first in the audition so she could set herself apart. I felt that it was a little risky, so I told her that if they stop her on that song, to start singing something else right away," Tina Miller said. During the audition, Shelby began singing the song and was then stopped by a judge, who asked her to sing something more contemporary. Shelby began to sing "Jesus Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood.

"Our family always asks Shelby to sing Carrie Underwood. Like Shelby, Carrie Underwood is very faith-based, and Shelby wants to stay true to her faith and be a good role model," Tina Miller said.

After Shelby sang, the judges said that she reminded them of Carrie Underwood's journey on American Idol and suggested that she calm her nerves in the future, according to Tina Miller.

During this round, there were four people and only one would advance.

"When they called the other three forward, Shelby said she thought that she was the one who didn't make it because they were all so good, but when they said her name, she was so excited," Tina Miller said.

Just 10 minutes before her next audition, Shelby was asked by members of the American Idol crew to change her song due to copyright issues. Contestants are asked to select and prepare three songs for the American Idol judges, so Shelby had planned to sing Carrie Underwood pieces for the first and third songs, and a Taylor Swift song second.

"She started freaking out because she didn't want to sing two Carrie Underwood songs for the judges. So when they came around and asked which two songs she was going to sing, she decided to put down the Carrie Underwood ones and then went in to the judges," said Tina Miller.

During the celebrity audition, Shelby began with "Wasted" by Carrie Underwood. After she had finished singing the song, Keith Urban, a celebrity judge, said he could listen to her sing all day, according to Tina Miller. Urban asked Shelby to sing a song that she had not practiced, so after some deliberation, Shelby decided to sing a Spanish song. "The judges were shocked because they had a song list and that wasn't on there. By the end of the song, Jennifer Lopez was singing right along with her. All three judges said 'yes' and Jennifer Lopez even asked if they could give her a Hollywood ticket on the spot," Tina Miller said.

During the trip, Shelby had the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what happens to American Idol contestants. "Overall, it was such a great experience to be able to see what happens and perform on stage. It was a blessing just to be able to go, so I feel like everything after the first audition has just been a bonus," said Shelby Miller. Working with vocal coaches, meeting the celebrity judges and learning from others in the auditions process helped Shelby throughout the process.


"One of the things I didn't expect was how much work goes into it. We were up all night. The first night we got three hours of sleep and the second night I think we only got about four hours of sleep. There were times when we'd sit for 10 hours listening to other people prepare and try to prepare ourselves. I think the only way to really prepare is when you get up there and actually start singing," Shelby Miller said.

Now that Shelby is home from her trip to meet the American Idol celebrity judges in Hollywood, she is waiting for the "Road to Hollywood" portion of the series to come on air. American Idol auditions will be featured Wednesday and Thursday, and the "Hollywood or Home" episode will air at 5 p.m. Feb. 5. Week one of the Hollywood Round will be on FOX stations at 8 p.m. Feb. 6.

Shelby's younger sister, Chelsea, was able to attend each round of the audition process, and has provided support and inspiration to Shelby throughout the journey. At school, Shelby's photos and notice of her achievement have been posted throughout the building. "Younger kids will come up to Shelby and ask if they can get their picture taken with her. It's such a new thing for her, and for me, to see," Tina Miller said.

For Shelby, the American Idol experience has been a "blessing" and has offered her more experience and insights into the industry than she expected. "It's such a great experience to start out watching American Idol and then auditioning. Being from a small town, I didn't know how to prepare, but as I got farther and farther into the auditions, I realized that it was a blessing to be in the company of people on the show and be able to learn from them," said Shelby Miller.

Although Shelby feels blessed to have been able to showcase her talents through American Idol, she also wants to have other career options just in case. "I want to go to law school, so I'm in the process of looking into that. My faith is something I can really depend on. I want to get a good education and have a back-up plan, but for now, I'm happy with this experience and am excited to see where it goes," Shelby Miller said.

Jan 3, 2014: WLNS Reporter Shelby Miller sits down with Shelby Ann-Marie (click here to view



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