By Josette Keelor
Everyone who knows Britani Myers, knows she can run track, but singing is another thing.
"We joked that her first album should be 'Britani sings,' with a question mark," said her manager Ben Swartz. That's how everyone reacts when they hear she has been pursuing a career as a country singer.
"They know her first as an athlete," said Swartz, a Handley High School alternative education teacher, who also works with the school's audio visual department.
"Then they hear her and they go, 'Oh no, she can really sing.'"
They're not the only ones.
The 18-year-old freshman at Virginia Tech, recently signed a recording contract with Curb Records, the record company that produces albums for LeAnn Rimes, and next Friday, Myers will return to her alma mater to open for Rimes, who will perform for the Patsy Cline Classic.
"It's actually the first time that they allowed an opening act for this show," Myers said recently.
Because Rimes had to okay Myers' performance for the event, Swartz, a friend of the Myers family, said he's grateful to the country star.
"The first year, for the dedication, they got the kids from the chorus here at Handley to sing a couple of songs," said Swartz, who has worked with the Patsy Cline Classic for its four years so far. "But that's not a traditional opening act."
"I think that this event is a great thing," he said, explaining that it allows for very large acts that normally would not come to Winchester.
"The acts that come, the headliners, they stand on their own," he said.
"What I hope is that it won't be long before Britani's headlining it," Swartz said.
Having only recently signed with Curb Records, Myers has been on a whirlwind adventure this fall, still very much focused on her studies, which she switched from biology to history.
"I'm a busy girl," she said.
She intends to pursue music but hesitates to place it above a solid educational foundation.
"I would like to make [music] my main goal, because it has kind of turned into my dream," she said.
Discovering her talent for singing came as kind of a surprise, she said, after recorded herself singing as a gift for her mother before leaving for school. Her father then sent the recording to radio station Q-102, Myers said, who sent it to a contact they had in Nashville -- Wayne Fricks, of Curb Records.
Fricks contacted her a week later, Myers said. Since then, she had traveled to Nashville four times to sing for the company.
Speaking on her singing style, she said, "I kind of lean toward Carrie Underwood."
Over Christmas Myers plans to spend a week in Nashville recording music, "and then I'll just see where it goes from there."
For her performance on Nov. 16, she plans to sing four or five songs.
"I've always enjoyed singing," said Myers.
"People always knew me as the runner," she said. When they learned she can sing too, "People were kind of shocked."
For more information about Britani Myers, visit www.britanimyers.com or look for her on Twitter: @BritaniMyers.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org