What started as a fun family barbecue that a grandpa had been hosting for the family, ended with 10-year-old Airdronian Hayley Isabel recording a demo of her own song as well as a music video on Youtube.

While family and friends were gathered at the cookout, so was Barry Driedger of Nashville Licks, the husband of Isabel's music mentor, Lori Kole a Nashville recording artist based out of Calgary. Cole has opened acts for the likes of Kenny Rogers, Johnny Reid, and Sawyer Brown to name a few. When Cole's husband heard Isabel's song Camouflage, he made her a surprising offer.

"He said I can record this for you; I have a recording studio in my own home and I thought that was super cool. He said we'd just do a demo recording and he said he could also do a music video for me. I thought that sounded amazing and super cool," Isabel said. "I've never been in a recording studio or anything like that, so, it's a really cool experience."

Hayley will turn 11 on November 29, though she said that she has been singing for as long as she can remember, whether it's singing along to her all-time favourite artist, Taylor Swift or to Carrie Underwood. When she was six years old, her mom, Shayna Nackoney-Skauge, would put her in piano lessons. 

"My piano teacher taught me Mary Had a Little Lamb on the piano for my first lesson and then during the next lesson, I wanted to learn a Taylor Swift song. When I was eight or nine years old, I got into guitar lessons and my mom bought me this pretty guitar from a garage sale. I was just obsessed with it, it was a purple guitar and I thought it was beautiful. I loved it so much."

Though Hayley's grandfather would buy her another guitar and she would eventually retire her purple guitar to hang up on her wall, she continued her music lessons and then would train with a vocal coach, whom Hayley said not only brought out her confidence but also opened many doors for her. When she did record her demo, there were a bit of nerves before she got into the studio, but all was well after she got comfortable and started singing Camouflage.

"I ended up writing the song when I was really bored in math class. I don't know how or when I heard the word camouflage, but I thought it would be a really cool name for a song. Then I took my ukulele into my dad's car at the end of the school year and started singing the word camouflage over and over again until I could add another line," Isabel said. "I really couldn't stop writing the song and it was really close to me."

She explained that the song is about a girl trying to fit in, wearing clothes like everyone and trying to blend in, even though it's not who she really is. As far as the production of the music video, because the song is very much a lyrical story, she had no trouble coming up with ideas. Hayley would enlist the help of her friend's older sister who is in high school and a drama arts student. 16-year-old Emily Leary would star in the music video. 

The video was released on Youtube on October 8 and has been viewed nearly 2,000 times. And while the 10-year-old musician was on her way to a local musical gig while she was being interviewed for Discover Airdrie, she is hoping for even bigger and better things in the future.

"I think it'd be absolutely amazing to hear my own songs on the radio; that sounds crazy cool to me. I've written four songs so far and I'm working on a lot more lately. I just love writing so I'll be writing a lot more in the future," she said. "The really good ones that I that I like a lot; I will definitely hope they can be recorded too, and I would love to perform them."

Considering Isabel is a die-hard Taylor Swift fan, she was asked for her opinion on Taylor Swift's newest song.

"Of course, I have listened to her newest album. I was staying up till midnight so I can listen to the song. She [Taylor] went through so many different genres of music, which I think is really cool. I don't know any other artists who've done anything like that. She went from pop to country, to pop-folk. And now she's kind of going back into a pop-folk sort of mix, which is it's really cool to me." 

Though Hayley admitted she does still have to fight off stage fright and self-doubt, she said that for anyone else whose passion is singing and music, it's important to be gentle with oneself.

"What I would say to someone who would love to write songs is: don't be so critical. Just write it down and don't throw it out. I still am guilty of doing it sometimes, but that's the best advice that I have for those people who write; don't throw it out. Don't be critical. Just write."

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