Last Month WGNA hosted the Country Idol Karaoke finals at Vapor in the Saratoga Casino and Raceway. During that show, Host Kevin Richards told the contestants that they all made it to the finals for a reason. They were all full of talent and even if they don't make the  Top 5 or win to not let it stop their dream. He mentioned how artists like Miranda Lambert and Kellie Pickler didn't win Nashville Star and American Idol and still went on to have successful careers.

One of the contestants has taken that advice to heart. Nassau native Rachael Martin didn't make the top 5, but that's not stopping  her dream of going to Music City, Nashville, Tennessee. I had the chance to chat with her as she prepared for her musical journey first giving me a little background about herself:

I feel extremely blessed, and am completely humbled at the opportunity to be able to pursue my dreams. My family tells me that I was a fighter from the beginning. I’m a “stork baby,” so to speak, and was officially adopted when I was 3 years old. The name given to me when I adopted was “Rachael Howarth.” For my music, I have decided to use the last name “Martin.” I have never met my biological mother, and met my biological father, Martin, the first time at his funeral. I have the “everything happens for a reason mentality” and my name is a testament to that.

1) When did start singing and how long have you been performing?

I had to ask my mom this question. According to my mom I was already singing when I was 2. (I am now 22) I learned to sing as I learned to talk. The first time I remember actually performing was when I was in first or second grade with the National Anthem. From that point on I gained lot of experience performing in front of large crowds singing the national anthem. When I was younger I got to open up for arena football and hockey at the Times Union Center, as well as the Thunder Nationals Monster truck shows, motocross shows, and the races. I also sang in church my whole life, which I feel influenced my voice in such a positive way.

2) What artists influence you the most?

Growing up artists such as Leann Rimes, Shania Twain, Faith Hill and Kelly Clarkson were my biggest influences. I am a huge Jason Aldean fan now, and almost fell over when I found out I might be cutting a song written by one of his songwriters!

3) When did you decide to make this trek to Nashville?

I have to admit that when the thought first entered my head to someday move to Nashville, I didn’t even know where Nashville was. All I knew about Nashville was that it was where country singers and Christian singers went to pursue their careers. I didn’t know anyone that had ever visited Nashville, or worked in the music industry for that matter. Unfortunately, there came a time when I thought I had to give up on my dream because I had no feasible means to make it happen. So, I started college, because college was the “right path.” It really broke my heart.

My sophomore year of college ( 2 years ago) I heard an advertisement for a local country singing competition on the radio and felt such a drive to enter it. After sending in my audition tape I got a call that I was a finalist. I went into the competition a bit nervous because I had put my dream aside for so long. Despite my nerves, I poured my soul into my performance and after two rounds and a deliberation, my heart dropped when I heard the announcer: “Our First Place Winner is… “ And then I think I all almost fainted when I heard him say my name.

In an article written about the competition in the Altamont Enterprise, the reporter quoted me saying: “I’m hoping that when school’s over with, I might move down to Nashville and try to pursue this.” After the competition I went to a craft store, bought a keepsake box and pasted the letters “N A S H V I L L E” on the front. A year later, almost exactly to the day of that competition, through perseverance and much support, I was on a plane to down Nashville to meet with the man who is now my producer, to start the process of recording my album. Now that I have graduated, I’m moving down there to finish it.

4) What advice would you give to fellow singers with the same dream?

Advice I would give to singers with the same dream is the same advice I would give anyone with big dreams…Persevere. Ignore those little monsters in your gut that tell you you’re just not good enough. They are deceiving and you deserve your dream.

I wish Rachael the best of luck in Nashville and hope she makes it big! I certainly hope to be playing her songs on WGNA. If you would like to see this very talented performer sing she will be having a farewell party at the Barrel Saloon, 942 Broadway in Albany tomorrow (7/26) at 10p. You can also follow her adventures in Nashville by checking out her Facebook or Twitter page. You can also check a few videos right here: