By Zack Peterson
Some would-be stars packed their guitars and headed for Nashville this summer along with PrinWall Entertainment, a development and management company run by Susan Craig and her business partner, Marianne Prinkey.
“I wanted to be on the other side. I had done my performing, and been there, done that,” Craig said, explaining her decision to go into talent management. “It also helped me tremendously to have been a performer to understand the talent I was handling because I could be a little more caring and understanding when they come to me with a problem.
“We’re a little more attuned to that, because I know that I have heard the same responses as a singer.”
Together, Craig and Prinkey have a combined 60-plus years of experience in entertainment, music, theater, print, television, fashion and production fields.
According to Craig, “when you put all that together, it makes some qualities that are good for a manager.”
At PrinWall, Craig and Prinkey provide development and artist development alongside vocal training from Prinkey, who has been a vocal coach for more than 20 years.
More so, the contacts the two have built up from years in the business have allowed them to promote their clients in a successful manner to connections in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles and throughout Florida.
“We help them open doors,” Craig said.
This summer, a group of PrinWall’s talent had the opportunity to travel to Nashville and work with some country music professionals on singing, recording, writing and performing. Here is a look at some of Prinwall’s talent from the area.
Kathleen Blanco, Gaither High
When Kathleen Blanco first started singing with PrinWall five years ago, she was a silent muse.
“I was really shy and I hated performing in front of people,” Kathleen admitted.
Now Kathleen says that singing just comes “naturally” and has since worked to develop further proficiency in music.
“This year I started playing guitar and just a little bit of piano,” Kathleen said.
Kathleen also claims she has no specific artist influences, because the passion in music itself was enough to inspire her.
“I just really enjoyed singing and I love music,” Kathleen said. “It’s just fun.”
Kathleen was one of the Nashville travelers who experienced everything from performing in a bar with a backing band, to classes on writing.
“It was such a great experience seeing everything,” Kathleen said.
For now, Kathleen plans to work with an afterschool program known as Showcase at Gaither where participants work on live performances.
“In the future I just want to keep performing and doing what I love to do,” Kathleen said.
Samantha Blanco, Villa Madonna
Samantha Blanco, Kathleen’s 11-year-old sister, first started working with PrinWall when she was 7 years old, because she was inspired by her sister’s involvement.
Samantha is involved in many facets of show business, and has started singing, tried dancing and worked on acting.
When she had the opportunity to travel to Nashville she found the most fascinating portion of the trip to be performing at the Nashville Palace with all of the talent there.
But for Samantha, one of the advantages of singing and participating in the performing arts is working with her sister.
The two have sung duets with one another in the past. One moment Samantha recounts was the duet the two worked on together at Kathleen’s middle school graduation.
Currently, the two are collaborating again on a duet to a song entitled “Me, Myself, and Time” by Demi Lovato.
In the future, Samantha hopes to continue to grow as an artist and learn guitar. But for now, she is content to experiment with dancing, practice her singing and pursue further involvement in acting.
Hannah Knight, Centennial Middle
Although Hannah Knight only began working with PrinWall two years ago, she has been playing guitar for the past three. She first got started because she “listens to music a lot and really loves singing too.”
While at a talent show auditioning for Prinwall’s management, she first captivated her audience and became a part of its local talent.
“After that they came up to me and said, ‘We’d like to work with you,’” Knight recalls.
She has continued to work on improving as a musician as well as acting and dancing.
For the most part, Knight draws her inspiration from pop stars such as Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez and believes the best way to draw an audience’s ear is to get it involved.
“You’ve got to smile and get them to tap their leg and sing along,” she said.
So far, Knight has performed with fellow PrinWall talent, Makenzie Raye, at the Osceola County Fair and at various other venues like the Orange County Festival and at The Shops at Wiregrass for a festival.
In the future, Knight wants to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter. Thus far, she’s written five songs and likes to write the most about her “friends, family and everyday life.”
Makenzie Raye, King High
The first thing to know about Makenzie Raye is that she finds fairytales to be misleading.
A performer and a country singer at heart, Raye says she enjoys singing Rascal Flatts’ songs, and has written her own song, “Dang Fairytales,” which she had the opportunity to sing and record in Nashville when she traveled there this summer.
The inspiration for the song actually came while Raye was in a layover at the airport and coming from Nashville on a separate occasion. She happened to spot a little girl with her mother reading The Little Mermaid.
“Seeing that just reminded me that that stuff never happens!” she exclaimed. “So I just wrote ‘Dang Fairytales.’”
Never one to be a shy person, Raye has been singing since the age of 3 or 4 she says but decided to be managed by PrinWall four years ago.
“When I’m singing I can really just be myself,” Raye said. “When I’m out on stage I enjoy it so much.
“It’s all so exciting,” Raye said. “It’s so different actually being there.”
Even if professional singing doesn’t work out, Raye wants to be involved in music for the rest of her life.
Contact PrinWall Entertainment at (813) 385-0634.
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