MS native represents state at NBC’s ‘American Song Contest’


PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) – Musical artists from all 50 states, five U.S. territories and Washington, DC compete in a live televised event to win the nation’s best original song.

Representing Mississippi is Keyoné Starr. In March, Starr performed at the first of NBC’s “American Song Contest” live qualifiers.

“I had a huge sense of gratitude for sure,” Starr said. “I think the best part for me was watching Kelly Clarkson sing my song, hearing Kelly Clarkson sing my song, and watching Snoop Dog dance to my song and vibe to my song.”

The Grammy-nominated singer hails from Jackson, Miss.

“My whole family, actually my immediate family, is still in Jackson and Clinton, Mississippi,” Starr said. “So I’m definitely rooted deep in Mississippi, that’s for sure.”

The songwriter and producer represented Magnolia State with his song titled “Fire.” She’s a preacher’s daughter, so she says the song has a church flavor, which includes a bit of soul and Mississippi blues.

“I’m not always motivated and sometimes circumstances may not be skewed to me, but I’ve quoted before, ‘The fire within me is greater than the fire around me,'” Starr said. “So it’s really kind of a paraphrase of what the song is about.”

Now, this isn’t the first time she’s represented her hometown state.

“I’m the reason Jackson, Mississippi is highlighted and shouted out in Bruno Mars’ song ‘Uptown Funk,’ because I’m actually on that album, hence my Grammy nomination,” Starr said. .

Starr didn’t make it to the semifinals, but she says there’s always a possibility of returning to the music competition.

“There are two jokers that will be cast on the show,” Starr said. “So two people will be able to come back. So, you know, fingers crossed, pray that I get that cashback card.

In the meantime, Starr says she will continue to write music, sing and perform. For anyone looking for inspiration, she has this to say:

“Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done, because you know we’re still, just us as human beings, our human nature can often feel defeated or just tired, but you know , just endure to the end,” Starr said. “Do whatever it takes.”

“American Song Contest” airs at 7 p.m. Mondays on NBC.

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