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Sophia Rhane Dobbs recorded 3 tunes in LA last summer

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FARMINGTON — An Aztec girl who is trying to make a splash in the music business will celebrate the recent release of her first single with an event this weekend at C.V. Koogler Middle School.

Sophia Rhane Dobbs, 11, recorded three songs in Los Angeles in July with producer Christopher "C-Ray" Roberts of OnKey Entertainment. The first of those tunes, "Crown," was released on most major streaming platforms — including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, iTunesand Google Play — on Jan. 16.

This weekend, she'll essentially be introduced to the public at an event that showcases her music. The celebration takes place at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 in the cafeteria at Koogler, 455 N. Light Plant Road in Aztec. The public is invited to the family-friendly event, and admission is free.

Recordings of Dobbs' music will be played, with games and food also being offered. Dobbs has been recovering from a cold in recent days, so it's not clear if she'll be feeling well enough to perform. But her brother Azariah, 13, will serve as the host and DJ for the event.

Her daughter's entry into the music business at such a young age is not surprise to Aztec resident Jody Dobbs.

"She's always hummed and had a song on her lips and in her heart," Jody said. "We've always known she was a singer."

The Dobbs siblings have always been natural performers, Jody said, noting their involvement in children's theater groups. But it wasn't until they got an enthusiastic response after auditioning at an International Presentation of Performers event in Farmington in the summer of 2018 that they began to explore the idea of taking things to the next level.

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The Dobbs children were invited to perform at the iPoP! Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, a semiannual gathering of industry professionals and talent scouts, in December 2018. But the cost of participating was substantial, and Jody said her gut reaction was to rule it out for that reason. She called a family meeting to explain her decision, but her daughter's straightforward argument for taking part — "Well, no risk, no reward," Sophia said — changed Jody's mind.

The gambit paid off. Both of Dobbs kids got another positive response in Las Vegas, with Sophia's voice drawing the interest of a handful of music producers. The family felt most comfortable with Roberts, and Sophia agreed to work with him at OnKey Entertainment.

That led to her traveling to Los Angeles last summer, where Roberts ushered her into the studio to record "Crown" — a pop song he had commissioned from a professional songwriter named Tatiana "Tatu" Matthews — as well as two other tunes. "Crown" was released to the public last week, and the song will be featured at the event this weekend.

"It's exciting and a little bit overwhelming," Jody said about the experience of her daughter's music potentially reaching a mass audience. "But we're letting Sophia celebrate the joy of it all. She kind of has a hard time with the spotlight, but she's excited about the party."

Sophia said she is enjoying her first brush with fame, although she also finds it a bit awkward, especially answering questions for the last several weeks about when her single would be released.

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She said her first experience in a studio was anything but tedious, as Roberts made her comfortable with his easygoing and efficient manner. Despite her inexperience, Sophia apparently proved herself a pro, quickly laying down her vocal tracks for the three songs and leaving time for trips to the beach each day.

"My producer actually said I got done a lot faster than a lot of his clients," Sophia said.

She is eager to see what kind of reception "Crown" gets from the listening public, but Sophia also is looking forward to April, when she will celebrate her 12th birthday with the release of her second single, "Happy." That tune is her favorite, she said, as it reflects her personality.

"It goes along with my life," she said.

Sophia attended Koogler until recently, when she transitioned to home schooling. She said the release of her single has led her to consider the long-term implications of this adventure and where it might lead her.

"I've been thinking about that recently," she said. "I think I want to keep going with it. It would probably be a waste of time to throw it away. When you get a chance like this, you've got to take it."

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or via email at measterling@daily-times.com.

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