Who doesn't love youngsters? Their skin is so pure, their hair so shiny! They have yet to be ground down into apathetic cogs of society. Or to experience lower back pain. Or unrelenting arthritis. They still believe they can make a difference!
People in the music business love their "can do" attitude and excitedly book them on tours of several hundred shows a year! Do the little ones complain? No, they grin and bear it because they can't wait to become rich and famous, so they can one day complain about how difficult their life has become.
Us Y! Music bloggers understand. I can't buy organic strawberries or a free range chicken without being stopped by a faithful reader who wants to know why Styx weren't number 7 on my list, or what Lyndsey Parker is really like. (For the record, I forgot Styx and Ms. Parker is a woman of infinite patience and wisdom.)
Here are 15 notable pre-adult acts. Note: most of them have now grown up and know of the back pain and arthritis to which I speak.
Britney Spears: Are those Mouseketeer ears or are you just glad to see us? Who didn't love watching Britney parade around in those catholic schoolgirl uniforms and sing songs about innocence denied or innocence implied or... who pays attention? Turn the sound off, I want to watch the music!
14) *NSYNC: Their financier ended up in trouble, but the leader of the band, Justin Timberlake, one of Framed's most beloved performers, showed the world that he could outlast his bandmates with a solo career, movies and a Vanity Fair article where he wonders if this whole showbiz thing is right for him! Now he decides!
Leann Rimes: The great thing about young singers is you can plan on them having long careers as long as they don't do anything stupid and die. Ms. Rimes is all grown up! You did it, Lee Ann! You survived!
12) Taylor Swift: Here's another one for you. Regardless of how mean Kanye West is to her, Swift is beloved by the music industry. She was the youngest artist to ever win the Grammy for Album of the Year. In addition, the American Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, the Country Music Association Awards, the CMT Music Awards, the Nashville Songwriters Association International Awards, the CMT Online Awards, the Nashville Music Awards and even the Canadian Country Music Association have all awarded awards to this award-winning country star. However, the American Country Awards only nominated her and didn't let her win, because they're jerks!
Tanya Tucker: Thirteen years old when she sang "Delta Dawn," Tanya Tucker became a star in the 1970s. She also sang "Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)?" You think culture's gotten worse? Nah, it's staying consistent!
10) Charlotte Church: She released a "Best of" when she was 16! What did you accomplish at 16? Probably the same as me. A lot of TV watching. I remember complaining about having to get up early for school and thinking it wasn't fair that I had all that homework to do. Now? I don't do nothing!
Kris Kross: How Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly and Chris "Daddy Mac" Smith ever convinced anyone that the word "daddy" should be in their names when they were going through the pains of puberty just shows the brazen self-confidence of people in the business and of kids who think they got the world figured out before they even have to shave.
8) Tiffany: It was a very wise person who decided Tiffany should play shopping malls. Because just like people who rob banks because that's where the money is, Tiffany played in malls because that's where her records were to be sold!
Jonny Lang: Released his first album at 15. Usually the blues requires its people to have drinking problems, women problems, work-related issues and stolen shoes, but for Jonny Lang being from the blues hotbed of Fargo, North Dakota allowed him to skip those steps. Has anyone seen junior's grades?
6) Steve Winwood / Justin Bieber: It's a tie. They're practically the exact same person. Except Stevie recorded with Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton and was in the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic and has a solo career where he's been mostly in charge. Bieber has better hair and more teenagers like him today. Like I said, it's a tie!
Billy Preston: At the age of 10, he was performing in backing bands for Mahalia Jackson and James Cleveland. By his teens, he was playing with Ray Charles and Little Richard and recording with Sam Cooke. As a young adult, he recorded with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. While not everyone bought his album, The Most Exciting Organ Ever, everyone has likely bought a record that features Billy Preston playing on it. Unless you buy bad music.
4) Greyson Chance: The video of Grayson Chance performing Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" at a sixth grade class show became a massive hit on YouTube where old men watched the eyes of the swooning young girls and thought, "damn, this kid has got it made!" Ellen DeGeneres had him on her TV show and then signed him to her record label! He turns 14 in August. I predict he will get bigger!
Jackie Evancho: A 10-year-old contestant on America's Got Talent, Ms. Evancho puzzled viewers and physicists by emitting a voice that didn't seem physically possible coming from that tiny, little body. She's already recorded with Barbra Streisand and Susan Boyle. Clearly, a duet with Lemmy from Motorhead should be in the making.
2) Michael Jackson: The one-glove wonder was once a very small child with a very big voice. How annoyed were the other siblings when this little tyke became the world's most famous performer? My dream sequence: Anonymous older sibling says: "You mean that booger-eating child is one day going to make more money than the GDP of all third world nations?" Anonymous parent able to see into the future: "Oh, it's weirder than that!"
Stevie Wonder: It's always amazing when a teenager is discovered who eventually grows up to be a true genius at his craft. You can spot talent, but you can't predict it. How singing "Fingertips - Pt. 2" leads to Innervisions, Songs In The Key Of Life and that album about the plants is pure serendipity. I mean, without latent talents, Wonder could have had the career of Danny Bonaduce!