Singing phenom hoping to use stage to further passion to save planet
By Darren Lum
Haliburton’s Ella Gooley is aiming to be the best at this year’s CNE’s annual Rising Star Competition.
Ella submitted a video clip of her performing the Fight Song recently, which was originally performed by Rachel Platten, who co-wrote with Dave Bassett. Her entry was judged on ability, audience appeal, stage presence and the quality of her performance.
When she learned about how she was able advance from more than 200 junior contestants, aged six to 21 to reach the final 48 of performers for preliminary round she said, “I’m very excited and honoured to play.”
She will perform the Fight Song while playing piano for a panel of judges at the CNE on Aug. 20 for the chance to earn a spot in the semi-finals, which is from Aug. 29 to 30. If successful, she will perform in the finals for a chance to a win $1,000 at the Enercare Centre on Saturday, Sept. 3.
The 12-year-old aspiring singer has a dream to be a professional singer. She has studied music since she was three-year-old. You may recognize her as Louisa von Trapp from the local staging of the Sound of Music, as part of the Highlands Summer Festival.
She said her interest in music started when at three she saw her Nanna play the piano, who she asked to give her lesson. Another connection with music came from her dad, Grant Gooley who was in a rock band, the Prefect.
She selected the Fight Song because of how it resonated to her for its theme of battling through challenges.
“It reminded me of fighting and how everybody fights and I want to fight for the Earth,” she said.
The greatest threat facing the Earth, the Toronto-born singer said, is global warming.
Her efforts to gain recognition with her voice and musicality isn’t just to showcase her talents, but to be part of a solution for the Earth her father said. She’s covering a song now, but the passion is at the core of her development, which includes songwriting.
“It’s about helping the Earth, but the songwriting will come after because she hasn’t got there yet. But she’s got a lineup of like, six or seven songs now that they’re all covered. And now the next step is to start getting her ideas and thoughts down on paper so she can start writing,” he said.
Her father said his daughter takes it to heart when it comes to passion to save the planet.
“If she ever sees anybody pollute or litter, it’s like she’s depressed for the afternoon,” he said.
“I want to show people that the world needs help,” she said.
In a short time she has racked up several achievements. At five, she wrote a song that earned her a second place in all of Eastern Ontario in the Music for Young Children writing contest (and her song published). The aspiring singer is working towards her Grade 3 in conservatory vocals and Grade 5 conservatory for piano. Since October of last year, Ella has been the anthem singer for the Haliburton County Huskies. In May 2022, Ella won the Keynote Award for Musicianship at the North Hastings Music Festival. She’d love to add the title of the top star at the Rising Star Competition to further her goal of saving the planet. The more attention she gets the greater the opportunity to raise awareness, she added. After this competition she has her sights set on America’s Got Talent.
Gooley said his daughter’s worth ethic and dedication to music has left him in awe.
“She’s definitely inspiring me every day and she crafts her message. As somebody who is 12-years-old and so dedicated to something that means so much to so many people. It’s inspiring me. She has to work very hard. And, you know, I have to be in the top 10 per cent to make it in this industry and I was there and it was really difficult. And Emma understands what she has to go through to get there. And so it’s been inspiring to see her do all the things that I didn’t do.”
Winning the Rising Star Competition would be right up there among her other achievements she said.
“It would mean a lot. I think it would probably be up there on my record,” she said.