One of the better things in life is when a person proves you completely wrong about something.
When Dianne Ruffel called the North Port Sun in March 2016 to brag about her granddaughter’s voice, it’s entirely plausible I rolled my eyes.
So I listened to Dianne as she explained about Emanne “EB” Beasha and her talents. She’s sung for a clubs like Daughters of the American Revolution. Didn’t sell me as newsworthy.
Grandparents have every right to hold their grandkids up in the spotlight. Journalists have a responsibility not to fill the paper with every kid that grandparents adore.
Dianne added EB was also set to sing the national anthem at a few spring training games.
OK, well, now it’s got a news hook. I assumed the Rays and Red Sox didn’t let every child sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
So I decided it was worth a short story and photo for the Sun. But I was still a bit of a curmudgeon about it. Dianne was insistent that I should meet her.
The next morning, Emanne Beasha walked in with her mother, Megan along with Dianne.
The interview lasted 15 minutes. EB was polite and her family nice. There were a few good quotes and something I could build into a short feature story for the paper.
As I was walking them out, EB looked up at me.
“Would you like me to sing?” she asked.
Nobody is reading this, right? No, I thought. Nobody wants to hear a kid sing solo. It’s usually barely tolerable, bad or worse.
“Sure,” I said. I can be a curmudgeon, but I’m a polite curmudgeon.
So, without music nor stage, she began belting out the opera in the newsroom. Nobody had a clue what was going on, but everyone stopped what they were doing. Her voice was extraordinary. Co-workers were crying softly. Others started recording her on their cellphones. People stood up and walked closer to her.
I snapped a few photos and decided: Take this story more seriously.
This little girl had proven me completely wrong about the talent that can exist at a young age.
Earlier in the interview, Dianne had spoken about EB’s singing.
“When she was 2 days old I said she’s got the loudest voice I’ve ever heard a baby have before,” Dianne said at the time. “I said she was going to be a singer.”
Before she was 3, she was singing in public and taking part in talent shows by the time she was 5.
Of course, that was half-a-lifetime ago for EB. We’ve been able to watch her take her talents literally around the world in the last three years. And I can say sincerely nothing that’s happened in her young career has surprised me since that first moment I heard her sing.
On Tuesday night, North Port will watch her compete again on “America’s Got Talent” in the quarterfinals.
A watch party at CoolToday Park at 18800 S. West Villages Parkway looks to be a large gathering for the local talent. It opens at 6:30 p.m. and will feature a variety of entertainment before we watch her compete live from Los Angeles.
This level of “AGT” brings out audience votes as a big role into who moves on. It starts as soon as the show ends at 10 p.m. Tuesday and ends at 7 a.m. Wednesday. On Wednesday night, everyone will find out if EB moves onto the semifinals.
Voting takes place either via the AGT official app or by going online to www.nbc.com/agtvote or, if you have an Xfinity X1 remote, by saying “vote for AGT.”
Certainly, a lot of voting will be taking place as people walk out of CoolToday Park on Tuesday night.
The final shows are Sept. 17 and Sept. 18 when the winner will be crowned and showered with confetti.
I recent reread the original story I wrote in March 2016 as I shook off the shock of hearing her sing. In the story, I found a few quotes from Emanne’s mother Megan and Emanne herself.
“I don’t get stage fright,” EB said.
“She’ll literally sing anywhere,” Megan said.
“When I’m on stage, I feel at home,” EB said.
Megan said she’s in awe of EB’s fearlessness of the stage, especially since Megan said she is “terrified” of stages.
“She’s so confident about something and yet she’s so little. For me, it’s inspiring,” Megan added. She said she loved watching her daughter sing in public because Emanne “becomes incredibly happy.”
“She gets in this zone of blissful happiness,” Megan said.
Emanne’s reasoning for singing was simple.
“It makes me happy,” she said.
And, occasionally, being proven wrong makes me happy.