Singing cashier’s star rises on sweet, soaring tones
LOGAN, W.Va. - It's been almost a month since a cashier's soaring rendition of Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors" was captured on camera by a customer in her checkout line at Walmart.
But now, with more than 20,000 hits on YouTube, 21-year-old Kayla Slone's star is rising. The Logan native is fielding calls from record executives, reporters, and fans - all wanting a part of the magic.
She was invited to appear on Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show last Friday, when country music star Dierks Bentley called in.
"I was just in shock when Dierks called offering to take me to the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas this April and introduce me to people in the music industry," she said during a break from her Wednesday shift.
Slone saw Bentley perform a day later at the Big Sandy Superstore in Huntington. After the show, she was invited backstage to meet the performer.
"He recognized me instantly. It was amazing."
After their meeting, Slone said Bentley kept his promise, introducing her to several executives in the industry.
Next, the aspiring country music star is headed to California to meet with a possible manager. And from there she is headed to Florida to perform the national anthem at Walmart's annual convention.
Despite this possibly life-changing series of events, Slone stays grounded through her work at the Logan Walmart she calls her second home. She is still stocking shelves, helping customers and working the checkout line that made her famous.
Her coworkers said she sings everywhere at the store. She knew she wanted to be a country music star when she was little but never thought she would have the chance.
The wife, daughter and granddaughter of a coal miner, her hope is to one day make enough money to take her family out of the mines - a life otherwise out of reach.
"I'd like to see my CDs being sold here like Miranda Lambert," she said.
Specifically, she wants to make it big so that her husband, David, a continuous miner operator at Glen Alum Mining Co., can get out of the dangerous profession.
Since her video went viral, Slone's extraordinary voice has drawn comparisons to another country music singer who hails from humble beginnings.
"She has such a unique voice that is almost like Dolly Parton. I think the country is going to be blown away by this girl. If she doesn't have a record deal soon, she will definitely have one by April," said Dave Willis, a radio host with Beckley-based WTNJ.
Slone hasn't forgotten the customer who first captured the magic, Sabrina Slazo.
Slone said she became Facebook friends with the customer after Slazo posted a video of the cashier singing on YouTube. The two have been talking ever since.
"I really want to make it to the big time. And for that, I am so thankful for all the people who have supported me."
Ten years from now, whether she's performing at the Grand Ole Opry or in the checkout line at Walmart, Slone said she will never give up on her dream of becoming a country music star.
"I'm still waiting to wake up. This feels like a dream."