Ebro native Karen Hornsby makes Top 20 on 'Rising Star'

Karen Hornsby performs in the studio.  Photo by Michelle Arnold

Karen Hornsby performs in the studio. Photo by Michelle Arnold

Published: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 03:31 PM.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Ebro native and 1996 Vernon High School graduate Karen Hornsby is more than 2,000 miles away from Washington County this week but says she's never felt closer to her hometown.

Hornsby, daughter of Charles and Edell Gilly of local Gilly's Family Opry fame, has just made it to the next round of "Rising Star," the country's first singing competition in which viewers watch and judge performances in real time via a mobile phone app. One of only 30 chosen from a pool of about 2,500 invited to audition in six cities, she recently made the top 20 cut.

"The support I'm receiving from Washington County is unbelievable," said Hornsby. "I'm getting a lot of messages, and it's the coolest feeling ever. A lot of people ask me how it feels to be on the show, and as hard as it is to put that into words, it's even harder to articulate how much it means that my hometown has my back."

Hornsby began her musical career in the Washington County School system, singing at nearly ever graduation event for her class from elementary school to senior year, as well as performing the national anthem at Vernon High School sporting events.

"I even remember coming home from school, and everyone in our family band would be waiting for me on our bus," laughs Hornsby. "We would go perform all over the southeast United States, and I'd be back in school Monday morning."

While Hornsby says her time performing as a child helped prepare her for a career in music, it's her setbacks  that helped prepare her the most.

"One of my favorite sayings is that God allows you to go through trials because he's letting your character catch up with your calling," said Hornsby. "And everything that's happened over the last nine years was just preparing me for the future."

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