Johns Creek's Angelica Hale on 'AGT': 'When I felt the energy from the crowd, it made me confident'

This was posted Wednesday, June 7, 2017 by Rodney Ho/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

It's been several months since adorable nine-year-old Johns Creek resident Angelica Hale taped her initial audition for NBC's huge summer hit show "America's Got Talent" that generated a standing ovation from the Los Angeles audience and the judges. But when it finally aired Tuesday night, her parents' cell phones lit up with well wishes and congratulations.

"I got 24 texts!" she said by phone the day after the show aired.

Her dad James Hale, who is a financial accounting consultant, said he and his wife Eva have zero singing talent so they are not trying to live some dream through their daughter. They have no idea where her gift came from.

"We definitely did not have to push her," James said. "This is her passion. If she didn't enjoy doing this, then she wouldn't be where she is today."

She began singing at age two. He recalls her singing along to Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" but had to change some of the lyrics to suit her. (Clearly disconcerting to have a two year old crooning: "It's a quarter after one, I'm a little drunk, and I need you now."

In between, she almost died. At age four, she got double pneumonia and her kidneys shut down. She had to be on dialysis for 18 months before her mom was matched and donated her kidney to save her daughter.

Now five years later, Angelica wants to be the next Whitney Houston. She said her voice was developed by a multitude of vocal coaches. She loves pop and R&B music.

Amusingly, she felt this was the right time to do "AGT."

"I want to pursue my dream of singing," she told me. "I thought 'America's Got Talent' was a fantastic place to start. I have a lot of potential. I wanted to do the show. It was now or never."

Now or never? She's nine! But she is also six years too young for "The Voice." "AGT" is by are the best venue for any artist given its audience size: typically 12 million plus any given week, more than any TV show in the summer time. And last year's winner Grace VanderWaal was 12 years old at the time she won. Plus, one of the most successful AGT alums is operatic singer Jackie Evancho, who finished second when she was 10 years old in 2010.

Before her first audition, Angelica said she was nervous until she began singing Audra Day's "Rise Up" and the response was so positive. "When I felt the energy from the crowd, it lightened me. It made me confident."

"The more she performs, the more confident she gets," her dad added.

She said this is not the biggest live crowd she has performed in front of. She sang the National Anthem during the third home game at SunTrust Park before 30,000 people. In fact, she has been performing all over Atlanta for the past several years. You can find them on her YouTube page. Yes, she has a YouTube page filled with covers of songs by Alicia Keys, Josh Groban, Mariah Carey and her hero Houston.

Her family is also going to get bigger. Her mom is pregnant with her baby sister, due September 9. That is about the time  when the "AGT" will be airing. She could very well win on the same day her sister is born.