Cav Soldier steals the show
August 26, 2014
By Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf
3rd BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div.
FORT HOOD, Texas -- The theater was quiet, with the audience focused on the empty stage.
Out walked a woman wearing a black dress and smiling from ear to ear.
She lifted the microphone off of its stand and stood in the middle of the stage with the spotlights beaming down on her.
A soft melody started playing from the speakers as she took a deep breath in preparation for the song she was about to sing -- a song she wrote.
Spc. Tierra Kirts, a Pineville, Louisiana, native and a human resources specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, sang at the Urban Music Review Aug. 16 at the Killeen Arts and Activity Center.
"That was my most memorable performance ever," said Kirts. "It was my favorite, because I wrote the songs that I sang."
Kirts was the only solo female artist who performed at the event.
"I thought the crowd wouldn't feel the type of music I was singing, because it was different from the other artists," said Kirts. "But it seemed like the change in pace was like a break for the crowd."
She performed R&B songs as opposed to the gospel and rap acts that preceded her taking the stage.
This performance wasn't her first or even her second.
"I've been singing for a very long time," said Kirts. "My first performance was a Christmas caroling contest where I sang 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.' I came in second place."
Growing up, Kirts' family supported her by pushing her to do her best.
"My parents would come to my performances and record them," she said. "My dad's side of the family sung. He was a perfectionist."
Though she was attending Northwestern State University in Louisiana, Kirts said she felt like she needed to find structure and overall direction in life, so she decided to enlist in the Army and was sent to basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
Even during basic training, Kirts didn't let anything stop her desire to perform.
"I sang the national anthem at our graduation ceremony," Kirts said. "I had to compete against other Soldiers in my brigade."
In order to be chosen to sing, she had to perform in front of her brigade commander, command sergeant major, and the rest of her leadership.
"It was nerve wracking singing in front of high-ranking individuals, especially being new to the Army," said Kirts. "But when I finished, they said I had been chosen. There were still others that hadn't yet tried out."
Being a Soldier by day and a singer by night, Kirts practiced whenever she could squeeze time in.
"I would sing in the shower for hours with a song playing on repeat," Kirts said. "I then would sing in front of a mirror to practice how to move as I perform."
While she writes her own songs and works to perfect her performance, she also receives help from another Soldier who produces music as a hobby.
"Kirts is by far the best performer I have ever worked with," said Sgt. 1st Class Dorrell Smith, a Columbus, Mississippi, native and master gunner for the 3rd BCT. "She has the potential and the creativity to make great music."
To get ready for a performance, she often listens to other artists who inspire her.
"I would listen to John Coltrane and Aretha Franklin to focus on how well they sing," Kirts said. "I prefer songs that have beautiful lyrics."
"When I get to the point I'm about to start singing, I tell myself that this is it and don't mess up," said Kirts.
With the thunderous applause from the audience at the Urban Music Review, it was clear that her focus and determination had paid off.