Singing her heart out

Craig's Jori Hollenbeck chasing her dreams this summer

Jori Hollenbeck has recorded her first music CD and now she is marketing it.

She hopes proceeds from the CD sales will pay for a trip to Nashville, Tenn., where she hopes to make inroads into the music business.

Hollenbeck said she's not the type to soak in the limelight. But the 19-year-old singing sensation and 2004 Moffat County High School graduate is seeking a little excitement this summer.

Hollenbeck, who is known for singing at functions all over Craig, is taking her voice on the road.

She has been asked again this year to travel and sing with the Great Race -- a caravan of vintage vehicles that takes a two-week trek across the country. The trip starts in Washington, D.C. where she'll sing the national anthem. The journey will take her across the country singing at least three times a day before the procession winds its way to the finish point in Tacoma, Wash.

"I didn't think that they would ask me back, but they did," she said. "It's going to be so fun."

But almost immediately after returning to Craig, Hollenbeck will be on the road -- or hopefully in flight -- to spend time with music producers in Nashville, Tenn. Hollenbeck said the experience could help get her established in the music scene. The first year student at Rangely's Colorado Northwestern Community College said if she's offered a contract or is asked to stay in Nashville, she wouldn't think twice about accepting the opportunity.

It's her goal, she said, "to make it in the music industry."

Since summer break has started, Hollenbeck has been busy learning music to sing on the road with the Great Race.

She also recorded her compact disc of original songs set to music created by a band in California.

Hollenbeck said the pressure of learning songs and singing has been so demanding that she constantly turns down offers from her friends to get together. Keeping so busy and having a full summer schedule doesn't allow Hollenback to work a regular job.

"It's busy," she said. "It has been hectic. My friends just say 'you better not forget about us if you make it.'"

Hollenbeck is hoping to fly to Nashville. To raise money for the trip, she is selling her CDs for $12 each. Some songs on the disc may never be available again.

"Now it's all about trying to get to Nashville," she said.

Hollenbeck has been performing since she was 4, when she sang "Daddy's Hands" by Holly Dunn at an FFA convention. The aspiring singer has performed in front of 18,000 people at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Hollenbeck was asked by Great Race officials last year to finish their tour with them after the group's coordinator heard Hollenbeck sing the national anthem in Craig.

Being asked back to do the tour this year is a confirmation of her talent, Hollenbeck said. But the trip to Nashville will be a critical one.

"I'm hoping that they want me to stay down there," she said. "I don't necessarily have to come back here."

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