Performing in public isn't new to Kaeli Patchen of Plymouth, formerly of Maple Grove.
Performing in front of a crowd of about 12,000 people was different.
Kaeli, 17, was nervous until she got on stage at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest and then she was simply at home.
"It was nice that the way the lights were done you could only see the first couple rows of people and the rest were just a blob, it was good for the nerves," Kaeli said. "But once I'm on stage it's alway just fun to be there."
Kaeli was one of the finalists who performed Sept. 2 in front of a packed Grandstand audience. She won first place in the teen division for her vocal solo “The Lamest Place in the World” from the Broadway musical "13."
Kaeli said she chose a song from musical theater because it's less common then pop songs. She was also more familiar with the song and music.
"I've always loved to sing and my mom got me into piano lessons for seven years so I like to play and sing," Kaeli said. "I also love musical theater and love to act."
Kaeli has participated in several local shows in Plymouth at the Perry Par Theater as well as the Chanhassen Dinner Theater Camps and performances at her school, Blake High School in Minneapolis.
As a song writer, Kaeli has also performed her own music at open mic nights at school and has gotten some songs recorded.
Because she loves being on stage and performing her own music, she wants to find a future combining these things.
"They say write what you know and that's what I try to do," she said. "I also combine that with what I like to listen to which is nearly everything. I like songs with a catchy hook in folk or pop music."
As a singer-songwriter Kaeli describes her sound as a mix of pop and folk music, but it all depends on how the song develops. She likes to combine a varity of all parts of music, she said. She creates them playing the piano.
"I write less about life situations based on emotions and more on things that happen to me," she said. "I don't write sterotypical songs, not about love songs, but more abou friendships falling out or dealing with stress."
As a junior in high school, Kaeli knows she wants to continue showcasing her musical talent in big and small venues and is still formulating where she wants to be after high school.
"Minnesota has a great art community and so does the east coast," she said. "I'd like to continue acting on the stage and writing my own performances."
She looks up to Dan Wilson of Semisonic who is in his own band, but also writes songs for other artists like Adele. Kaeli would love being in both of those worlds, she said.
Performing is important to Kaeli, but doesn't always come easy.
"Confidence can be an issue, but I'm so passionate about music," Kaeli said. "If you choose to show your talent do something that you're really passionate about and have fun and you'll be confident in whatever you do."
Though neithe of Kaeli's brothers or her parents have been as musically inclined as her, they have enjoyed watching musical theater and going to see plays and performances locally and in New York City.
"Kaeli goes to theater camp in upstate New York every summer and each trip includes a stop in New York City," said David Patchen, Kaeli's father. "She knows the business inside and out and it's fun to see her embrace it."
David is proud to see his daughter pursue her passion and go beyond honing her vocal talent and showing great potential in song writing.