The future’s looking bright for young Emily Ross of Whitehorse.

Emily, a petite 12 year old, has proved her musical chops by beating out over 24 contestants at the “Southeast’s Got Talent” competition at Southeast Alaska State Fair in Haines, Alaska.

Emily is humble about her singing, composition and piano skills: “It was a great experience, and I didn’t even think I was going to win — I just wanted to have fun,” she says.

Winning competitions means work, and, for young Emily, lots of practice time.

Multi-talented, she divides her time between singing practices — solo once a week and duets every two weeks — plus piano lessons once a week, and composition work.

When Emily describes her schedule, she does so with a smile: “It is hard work, but I really enjoy it. My Mom says I was singing before I could even talk!”

She started working on her singing at the tender age of 8, after being told by others that she was quite talented. Emily wanted to find out if this was true — and it was.

She doggedly pursued her singing career and has sung for years with her school choir.

Ross is no stranger to performing, although she mentions that stepping onto the stage in Alaska was certainly a first: “I’ve never done a competition, but I wasn’t that nervous really. The audience was very encouraging, clapping and really happy,” she says.

Taking the leap from school choir to state fair came naturally to the gifted performer, despite the fact Emily’s family didn’t even plan to enter the competition until the day of.

“We were on a hunting and fishing trip and found out there was a fair on. We saw the talent competition and just decided to enter — why not?” says Emily of her surprise time to shine.

She says she certainly didn’t expect to win, not with so many others with such great performances.

“There were lots of others who were really good, I just thought I’d enjoy the experience. I was so surprised to find out I won,” she says. Her winning piece, an original composition called Life, had Emily singing and playing the piano as an accompaniment.

With years of singing, piano playing and just this past year, composition, Emily is a talent to be reckoned with. Her influences vary, and she says she loves, “all types of music”, picking singer Jennifer Hudson as a favourite voice.

She is down to earth, and appreciative of her successes, even shyly mentioning that she, “might like to be a professional musician,” when asked.

So, what’s next in store for the Yukon’s rising star?

Emily was invited to compete in the larger “Alaska’s Got Talent” competition in Palmer, Alaska on Sept. 6. And, from the competition in Haines, Emily won a prize of $500 and a railway round-trip from Anchorage to Denali.