Song By Local Musician Turned Into Broadway-Rendered Song

Feb 18, 2020

Missouri State University student Emalee Flatness (front, left) and her mentor Daniel Lincoln (front, right) with the Broadway musicians who played on the final version of her song, "Carolina."
Credit Natalie Powers, National Endowment for the Arts and The American Theatre Wing

At age 10, Emalee Flatness became interested in music. It soon grew into a passion for the native of Willard, Missouri, who’s now a freshman history major at Missouri State University.

Last summer, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and its partner, the American Theatre Wing, announced that Flatness was one of only six winners—out of almost 200 applicants nationwide—of the 2019 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for her original song “Carolina.”

As the culmination of the songwriting challenge, “Carolina” was recorded at Reservoir Studios in New York City by an ensemble of professional musicians and vocalists. Broadway performers AJ Shivley and Kalyn West are the lead singers. The NEA recently released the final version of the song. 

Flatness talks about her song and the experience of recording it.

Read the full transcript

You can listen to “Carolina” on Spotify, YouTube or the NEA’s website.