Ciara Rae will take another step in her march toward Nashville on Friday, when she'll release a music video and perform in Davie.
Rae, 21, will sing at Round Up Country Western Club, where in 2012 she won the South Florida Texaco Country Showdown state qualifier.
A 2010 graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rae grew up in Weston, where her dad fed her "a very odd mix of Motown, Garth Brooks and Elvis," she says.
"Especially because we're from South Florida, it was never cool for me to admit that I liked country music," she says. "So I kept it on a down-low from my friends. But I love singing, and love writing county music. I enjoy all types of music, but as an artist, I know I want to be a country singer, and I need to pursue it. When it's something you truly, truly enjoy, it's so much easier to let it flow out of you."
Rae attended the University of Miami's Frost School of Music, but left after she met a local band that needed a singer, "and I started really, really writing," she says.
"Although, actually, I've been writing since I was 5, writing poems and stuff," Rae adds.
She has about 20 fully produced songs, and "hundreds" half-finished and tucked away in notebooks. Rae, who also plays piano and guitar, has opened for Charlie Worsham and Love and Theft at the Round Up, often performs at Seminole Paradise following country acts at Hard Rock Live and played the Great American Beach Party this past Saturday in Fort Lauderdale.
Earlier this month, she debuted her latest song, "Just Let the Band Play," at the Driven Music Conference at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale. Soon after, a dance instructor at Round Up created a line dance to go with it. The song can be heard at CiaraRae.com.
As for Nashville, Rae learned two weeks ago that she's going to Music City: Belmont University sent her an acceptance letter into its Mike Curb (of Curb Records) College of Entertainment and Music Business. She'll start in the fall.
Ciara Rae will perform 7 p.m. Friday, May 30, at Round Up Country Western Club, 90200 W. State Road 84, in Davie. Tickets cost $5 at RoundUpCountry.com.