DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — If you haven’t heard of Skye Turner — you will. The 11-year-old Oak Cliff native is now appearing on Broadway, and is looking to redefine the word ‘diva.’
“I used to say — I still say — that I want to be a diva when I grow up,” Turner said while visiting UNT Dallas for a Black History program Monday. “But, I don’t want to wait until I grow up.”
And she didn’t have to. Her journey from Dallas to Broadway has been nothing short of amazing.
It was just over a year ago that her cover of Patti LaBelle’s “If Only You Knew” went viral when she sang it at a wedding. And before one could say “best wishes,” the 11-year-old was auditioning to play the young Tina Turner in the biographic Broadway show.
“And then we went to the Hard Rock Cafe and 20 minutes later they called me and said I had the part,” she recalled. “I had a rush of excitement, tingling, goose bumps. It was crazy. I’m dreaming. No, I’m dreaming.”
Adding to the whirlwind journey, Turner hadn’t seen a Broadway show before seeing the one in which she would appear.
She said “opening night was fantastic,” full of gifts, excitement and star appearances. “After the show, there was a cast photo and Tina Turner and Oprah came out, and I was so happy. Everybody was there and we took pictures together and we danced. It was so much fun.”
The still soft-spoken girl said the experience also affirms that she is doing what she was meant to do — and her dad told CBS 11 that he knew long ago.
“We were on our way to school,” the former DISD assistant principal said. “I went up to Skye’s note and she dropped down to alto so she could harmonize… She’s always had that ear.”
And he says she still has a heart for others, which is why he’s OK with her wanting to be a diva — they define it as using one’s talent “to go out there and help people and empower kids.”
That’s exactly what Turner did as she reunited with the choir she led at Charles Rice Learning Center in DISD. The Billie Kerl Robert Youth Chorale performed for students at the UNT Dallas campus as part of Black History Month. The young star shared her talent and some encouraging words.
“Work hard. You can do whatever you want to do if you don’t give up on yourself because everyone here believes in you,” she said. God believes in you. You are amazing.”
When she’s not wowing audiences, Turner says she’s still the same girl who likes playing with dolls, Minecraft and reading Harry Potter books.
And for her next adventure, she will star as the young Aretha Franklin in a movie due later this year.