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RI Child Prodigy Alexis Clare McKinnon to Perform Benefit Concert

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

 

Alexis Clare McKinnon and Motown legend Smokey Robinson.

Thirteen-year-old singing sensation Alexis Clare McKinnon is set to perform at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket on Sunday, May 25 at 6pm. McKinnon, who comes from Lincoln, will be performing opera, pop, and R&B music to raise money for the St. Mary’s Home for Children in North Providence.

Tickets for the show, which is entitled “An Amazing Child Prodigy,” start at $21, and are available for purchase at the Stadium Theatre website while supplies last. A portion of the proceeds will support the St. Mary’s Home for Children, which is a non-profit agency offering comprehensive treatment programs for boys and girls traumatized by abuse or experiencing the challenges of psychiatric disorders.

Singing for a good cause

GoLocal spoke to McKinnon to see what it means to her to be able to raise money for a good cause. “St. Mary’s Home for Children is a magical place that cares for neglected children,” said McKinnon. “My goal is to raise as much money as I can by headlining a concert where my friends, family, and community can attend and share in the support for this truly worthy charity.”

Starting at a young age

McKinnon began singing at age 2 and by the age of 5 began training with a professional vocal coach. Despite her young age, McKinnon, who possesses a 5 octave soprano voice, has already amassed quite the résumé. At age 7, she was invited by The Juilliard School of NYC to the Pre-College Division Saturday Morning Program. McKinnon also made national history performing the lead role in Amahl, a classic opera by Gian-Carlo Menotti. In Oct. 2009, Alexis was a VIP guest of Mariah Carey to appear on the NBC Today Show.

Eclectic influences

While many young singers may tout pop stars like Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus as influences, McKinnon told GoLocal that she draws her inspiration from an eclectic mix of artists—both classic and contemporary.

“Today's radio cannot compare to the radio classics—R&B legends, Motown, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Minnie Ripperton, Leon Ware, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Whitney Houston, Jeffrey Osborne, Smokey Robinson, etc. I want to bring all that back in an innovative and modern way.”

McKinnon also addressed the tendency of modern artists to use auto-tuning stating, “I feel strongly that the true ‘gift’(natural, God-given talent) cannot be faked, no matter what. It is unfair to the people who have the ‘gift’ and never get their chance.”

Attracting major attention

It has been McKinnon’s natural “gift” that has attracted attention from some major names in the music industry, including Rhode Island native Jeffrey Osborne and Motown legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Smokey Robinson.

"Alexis is one of the most incredible young singers that I have heard in quite some time,” Osborne told GoLocal. “Her 5 octave range is incredible. The scary thing is that she will only get better because of her passion, her drive, and her absolute love for what she does. She has been blessed with a very rare gift. Get ready for her, because she's going to make us Rhode Islanders real proud.”

Robinson added, "Alexis is surely one of the best singers I have heard in a long, long time. She was born to sing."

What lies in store?

Despite already have accomplished so much at such a young age, McKinnon is not content to slow down. “My goals for the future are to sell out Madison Square Garden and to get a few Grammy Awards,” said McKinnon. “I look forward to having my own original songs (maybe co writing with Jeffrey Osborne, Smokey Robinson and Taylor Swift) to share and one day to hear them on the radio. I would also like to have my own brand—Alexis Clare—for clothing, jewelry, accessories and perfume.”

 

For more information about McKinnon’s upcoming show at the Stadium Theatre and to purchase tickets, click here. For more information about McKinnon, go here.

 

Related Slideshow: 13 Biggest Music Stories in RI in 2013

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Here is music critic Rob Duguay's review of the show:

This past Saturday at the upstairs stage of The Columbus Theatre on Broadway in the heart of the West End of Providence, a magnificent display of music took place to benefit The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. Deer Tick's John McCauley & Ian O'Neil, Vanessa Carlton, Smoota and Caroline Hecht were on a star-studded bill for an experience that was guaranteed to be a memorable one. It's always great when talented people come together for a worthy cause, and in this day and age this was needed more than ever. Read More

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Read more about the event here

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One of the most inspiring things I've encountered in Providence is the 24 Hour Music Project. Started by Kim "Giggles" Madden last year, a star-studded compilation album of the Creative Capital's finest musicians benefits victims of domestic violence. This time around, another album was made to benefit music education in public schools, another noble cause with an ensemble cast of local musical talents. On Sunday at The Spot, the release of the second 24 Hour Music Project album was celebrated with an amazing show that had Dan Dodd, Dylan Sevey & The Gentlemen, Wake and Baker, P. Lowe, Galactic Alliance and Resin ED jammin' on two stages. There's no better way to spend your Sunday than supporting a great cause, and the Spot was the prime destination to do just that. Read More

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Read Ken Abrams' Review Here

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7. The Temptaions

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5. B.B. King

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1. Newport Festivals

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