Feb 01, 2012 03:13AM, Published by Style, Categories: In Print
Photos by Dante Fontana
Life’s path is not always clear.
Artists and performers often find their true calling after years of searching for what nourishes their soul. Then again, on rare occasion, some people are born with gifts that transcend their years and lead them to their calling at an early age, as is the case with the immensely talented Olivia Kaufmann.
At first glance she is your typical 16-year-old girl. Born and raised in El Dorado Hills, Kaufmann lives a normal life attending high school and hanging out with friends. Yet, when she steps onto the stage, her strong and soulful voice grabs you by the chest and overwhelms you with emotion that belies her youthful appearance.
Kaufmann doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t performing. Home videos of her singing Shania Twain songs into a turkey baster with all the gusto of a miniature diva showcase her drive to perform from a young age. Her first performance for an audience – that didn’t just consist of her parents in the living room at home – was her first grade talent show where she performed “Imagine” by the Beatles. Soon after, at the tender age of seven, she wowed an audience by belting out “The Prayer” at her first voice recital.
Olivia Kaufmann (lower right) & family
Although Kaufmann is a dynamic “triple threat,” singing, dancing and acting, she says nothing compares to the feeling she gets when she lets the music escape from her heart and fill the air. “I am able to express so many different emotions while I sing,” Kaufmann says. “I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without singing.” She constantly strives to sharpen her skills, taking weekly vocal lessons and performing with the El Dorado Musical Theatre group High Voltage. Kaufmann also lead the stage at The Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom in a series of performances entitled Olivia and Friends.
It hasn’t been all fun and games for Kaufmann, though. The ladder of success is fraught with sacrifice that often proves difficult for a young person. Many times she has passed on slumber party invites, been absent from family events, and missed out on adventurous class trips to pursue her passion. In fact, she almost wasn’t able to attend last year’s homecoming dance because of her commitment to an upcoming stage performance; luckily, she had a sympathetic director who rearranged the schedule so she could take part in the important teenage rite of passage.
The most endearing aspect of Kaufmann is her humility, which can be a rarity in the world of child performers. “I don’t really think of myself as an artist,” she says. When asked if she aspires to have a career as a vocalist she responds humbly. “It would be absolutely incredible to be able to do this as a profession, but no matter what, it will always be a part of my life.”
Watch for Kaufmann performing with High Voltage in their “Cabaret Night” as part of the El Dorado Musical Theatre group on March 24.