Size doesn’t figure when it comes to musical talent — or feeling. In a recent video, 12-year-old Ansley Burns stands all alone at the front of a church and performs a powerful rendition of the classic hymn “How Great Thou Art.” She may be tiny, but her voice is enormous.
Ansley isn’t even as tall as the pulpit, but her voice is full of emotion as she sings.
It echoes through the empty pews.
“How Great Thou Art” is a classic hymn that’s been beloved since its conception in 1891. It came from a Swedish pastor, Carl Gustaf Boberg, who found himself caught in a violent storm one day while walking. When the storm calmed, he found himself flooded with emotion
“Mr. Boberg was enjoying a nice walk when a thunderstorm suddenly appeared out of nowhere,” explains the website All About God. “A severe wind began to blow. After the storm was over, Mr. Boberg looked out over the clear bay. He then heard a church bell in the distance. And the words to ‘How Great Thou Art’ begin to form in his heart — O Lord, my God, When I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands hath made… There was such calmness after the fierce storm he could only utter those words of peace.”
The video isn’t the first one that’s drawn attention to Ansley.
The 12-year-old from Easley, South Carolina, has garnered some pretty famous attention for her larger-than-life vocals. Back in August, her mother recorded her singing Carrie Underwood’s “Cry Pretty.”
People were amazed by her pitch-perfect performance and her powerful voice at such a young age. The video even drew the attention of Underwood herself. The country star took to her own social media account to praise Ansley’s performance. She shared the video and expressed amazement at the talented preteen.
“Ansley, this is amazing!” Underwood wrote. “Everybody keep your eyes out for this girl!”
Underwood herself is known for her huge vocal range and versatility. Her songs are no easy thing to take on — especially for a little girl. But Ansley hits every note, including a hugely difficult run at the end of the song.
Ansley pretty clearly has some big aspirations.
Last year, at age 11, she took part in the youth division of the Best Singer in the State competition. She blew the judges away with her performance of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”
Dressed in a black dress with a poufy skirt, Ansley belted out Houston’s notoriously difficult classic. The crowd began to cheer and whoop when it became clear that they were watching an incredibly talented little girl.
Ansley has an enormous amount of stage presence for her age.
She’s poised and confident on the stage, singing with emotion and grace.
Eventually, she even took the microphone from the stand and moved around the stage, belting out the song with confidence, poise, and total clarity. She didn’t tremble for a moment.
She was unfazed by the flashing lights, judges, media, and cameras.
When her song ended, Ansley broke into a huge, bashful smile as the audience surged to its feet. Clearly, the precocious musician belongs on a stage.
The 2017 performance won her Best Singer in the State in the youth division.
“YOU GO GIRL,” reads a YouTube comment from user Magen Hamby. “Don’t ever give up on your dreams..you are going to be a big hit one day…you are so beautiful…”
Ansley already has her own Facebook page for her music.
She has a solid fan base, too, with more than 1,600 followers. Her YouTube channel, Ansley Burns Music, has videos of her performing everywhere from local competitions to church to home. She’s pulled in 272 subscribers and thousands of views. Her most popular videos are “How Great Thou Art” and “Cry Pretty.”
Her parents clearly recognized her talent from a young age. The earliest videos on her YouTube channel are from 2013 when Ansley was only 7 years old. But she was already destined for remarkable things.
Her Facebook page has a simple description: “Just a small-town girl with big dreams.”
But people are recognizing that Ansley has a huge amount of talent. She clearly loves to perform. Her poise and confidence, as well as her powerful vocals, have her set up for fame one day.
She has the backing of country superstar Carrie Underwood. But even better is the support of the thousands of people who have heard her sing and are cheering her on to follow her dreams.
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