Soteria Deciel Raymond has always enjoyed singing.
“I love the sound,” the 12-year-old Paul Knox Middle School pupil said. “I love how you can change your voice in so many different ways.”
The seventh-grader won the eighth annual North Augusta Idol Talent Show, sponsored by the North Augusta Cultural Arts Council, on March 20.
The show featured more than 20 contestants who showcased talents including, singing, playing instruments and dancing in front of about 450 people gathered in North Augusta High School’s auditorium.
“It’s a great opportunity for our students to showcase their talent,” said Peggy Burnett, who coordinated the talent show.
Soteria sung Set Fire to the Rain by Adele to win the title. Her mother, Marcella, picked the song for her, she said.
As Soteria sung, her mother and father, Mark, both were anxious and nervous.
“I had chills going up my spine,” Marcella said.
Soteria said that since she could remember, she always tried to imitate the singers she heard.
“I just listen to something, figure out its tone and I just start singing it the way I think it sounds,” she said.
When Soteria was in fifth grade at North Myrtle Beach Intermediate School and sang the national anthem, the Raymonds knew their daughter had a “gift from God.”
“We knew she had something,” said Marcella, with tears in her eyes. “She’s never taken singing lessons or anything like that. God has truly blessed her with a natural voice. This talent, this is from God.”
When Soteria heard her name called as the winner of North Augusta Idol, she was surprised.
“I met so many talented people here and everyone is so good at what they do,” she said. “So when I heard my name, I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to scream. … I was just so surprised.”
While she has been recognized for her singing before, winning the show was a big accomplishment, she said.
“This is the biggest thing to happen to me with music,” she said.
Soteria is a member of Paul Knox Middle’s chorus and the Patriot Singers, a show chorus whose membership is by audition only.
The talent show raises money for the North Augusta Cultural Arts Council Fine Arts Scholarship, which is awarded to a graduating high school senior who will major or minor in the arts in college.