Young performer chosen for showcase
It’s no surprise that 8-year-old Dalton Earley loves an audience.
“Before he could talk, he would squawk at people to get their attention and once he had it, would just crack up,” said his mother, Achele. “He would do it just to get attention.”
A frequent presence at regional pageants, Earley, of Vincent, has had even more eyes on him recently as he’s started booking modeling and acting jobs following a talent showcase he entered in Florida in 2017.
“We heard about it and decided to go. We prepared nothing and just showed up,” said Achele. “He went up on stage and told ‘yo mama’ jokes and got accepted into the showcase. There was a lot of interest so we signed with an agency to represent him in the Midwest, for jobs in places like Pittsburgh and Nashville.”
He recently wrapped up a two-month stint playing Randy in “A Christmas Story, The Musical” at the Rising Star Casino in Indiana, a play that ran four nights a week.
Up next for Dalton is participation in the PBS “Celebration of Music” concert April 28 at the Lincoln Theater in Columbus. PBS took submissions from around the country and selected bands, singers and dancers ages 4 to 25 for the regional concerts. Winners will go on to perform at the national concert in Los Angeles, which will be televised.
The family is hoping for community support for Dalton as he takes part in the PBS talent search, said Achele. Ahead of and during the Columbus performance, online votes can be submitted for Dalton. The public can also attend the concert and vote there, meaning their vote will count as 10 online votes.
His participation is a proud moment for his family, whether he progresses to the national competition or not, said his mother.
“On a whim, we took him to that showcase and now we’re looking at big things,” she said. “He’s that kid now who can stand up in a room full of people and perform. In a one-on-one conversation, he can be kind of awkward, but when he gets on stage, he’s in his element.”
Dalton said he looks forward to every performance.
Question: How did you first become interested in singing?
Answer: I went to an arts and talent showcase and saw all the people there singing. I decided I wanted to sing, too.
Q: Do you have some favorite songs that you like to sing?
A: “We’re Off to See the Wizard” and “A Million Dreams” (from “The Greatest Showman).”
Q: Do you ever get nervous getting in front of a bunch of people and singing?
A: Heck, no.
Q: What’s it feel like to be up there and have a big audience?
A: I actually like having a whole lot of people. I would rather have a lot of people rather than a little bit.
Q: You do some acting, too, right? What kind of acting have you done?
A: I’ve done professional theater. I did “A Christmas Story” in Indiana.
Q: I know for this PBS concert, you had to send in an audition tape to be selected for the concert. What did you submit?
A: I did “We’re Off to See the Wizard.” For the concert, I’m going to sing “A Million Dreams.” It will be a duet with my friend Emma.
Q: Have you thought about what you want to do when you’re older? Do you want to be a professional singer?
A: I want to be a professional wrestler. It’s still acting. It will get me more acting jobs, too. That would make me double the money.
Q: Aside from the time you spend singing and acting, what are your hobbies? What do you like to do?
A: Playing soccer and playing Fortnite. Also playing games and getting exercise.
Q: What grade are you in?
A: I’m in second grade online with the Ohio Connections Academy. I switched in January (after attending Warren Elementary School). I started doing plays and acting and now I can do all my classes in the car.
Q: What are your favorite subjects?
A: Math, gym, recess and lunch.
Q: You still get recess when you’re doing online school?
A: My mom gives me a break and I play with my WWE action figures.
Q: How much do you know about what this concert is going to be like?
A: I don’t know how many people will be there but I know that it’s in Columbus. To win, I have to get the most votes or the judges can pick somebody, too. If I win, I get to fly to Los Angeles and sing and they’ll put it on iTunes. I really want to go to L.A. I have a friend that went there and I want to see him.
Q: How often do you practice?
A: All the time. It’s really in my head now so I can sing it so good.When I was auditioning for a play, mom said she could hear me and that I sounded really good.
Q: Are you still competing in pageants? What do you like about those?
A: I’ve been competing in pageants since I was 6 months old. I’m Little Mr. Belpre and I was Little Mr. Sternwheel.
I like that a lot of people come and there’s a big crowd.
Kate York conducted this interview.
¯ Age: 8.
¯ Residence: Vincent.
¯ Family: Parents Achele and Donald; Older brother Tave, younger brother Deklan; Cousin Caleb, who lives with the family.
¯ Education: Second-grader at Ohio Connections Academy.
For more about the competition and to vote: