By Ron VandenBoom
In almost three years of writing this column I have never once used the column to sing the praises of any one entertainer or performer.
Excluding perhaps the Beatles, who haven't been a group for years, and John Denver, who died in a plane crash.
I do that mostly because I my taste in music and yours are probably not the same and to me it is more important to inform you about sites that offer a variety of choices than to use the column to promote just what appeals to me.
Today I am going to break that rule because of a 13-year-old singer who has blown my socks off.
Her name, if you haven't already figured it out, is Charlotte Church.
For years I have heard teen singers hit the pop, or other charts, and receive praise for their vocal talent. And I'll be the first to admit that many of them deserve it. But until you've heard Charlotte Church, you don't know what your missing.
This 13-year-old Wales operatic prodigy recorded her first album at 12 and now, only one year later, has earned herself an international reputation and is well on her way toward achieving unbridled fame.
Several websites have already been launched promoting her music, commenting on her talent, or offering her material for sale. Not the least of these is www.sonyclassical.com/music/64356/home.html.
The site, which of course is owned by Sony, the company that holds her recording contract, offers information on Charlotte's latest self titled album, "Charlotte Church" -- the follow-up album to her platinum selling "Voice of an Angel."
Hear her latest hit single, "Just Wave Hello," and watch the video that goes with it or click on the Ford Millennium TV Commercial and listen to that version. A third and perhaps preferable method is to click on Music at the top of the page and then choose the song from the menu. All options will allow you to hear the song, in its entirety. The Music choice will also allow you to hear clips from a few other Charlotte Church songs.
From the home page you can also click on Multimedia where once again you will be offered the option of listening to the song or choosing instead the video of Charlotte singing, playing, and recording, in the studio.
At the bottom of this page surfers can also choose to download a Charlotte Church screen saver and wallpaper.
I can't tell you much about these because to tell you the truth, I haven't downloaded either of them.
Just as a side note, the reason I haven't downloaded them is that experience has shown me that while free screen savers can be entertaining for a day or two, most are pretty cheap and they get really old really quick. I end up deleting them shortly after I download them. Mostly it's a waste of time.
Charlotte also has a biography on the site that can effectively fill in all of the gaps the surfer might still need to know before becoming a fan. Personally, I don't think it's all that necessary because once you've heard this young lady's voice, it isn't going to matter, you'll be a fan.
Another site that features Charlotte and samples of her music is http://previews.net/Billboard/7706.htm.
Listen to samples of The Lord's Prayer, Danny Boy, Jerusalem.
If you're like me, you may want to listen to the same song over and over, still unable to believe your ears.
Well, start believing. She's for real, and I'm sure you will be hearing a lot more from her before it's over. And I, for one, think that's just fine.