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Saturday
Dec112010

8-Year-Old Gospel-Singing Sensation Inspired by Personal Tragedy

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(DALLAS) -- Rhema Marvanne is only 8 but everywhere she performs, the 42-pound Texan gets the same reaction: People are awestruck by the little girl's big voice.

An unknown one year ago, Rhema turned into a viral sensation after her father posted videos of her singing gospel songs on YouTube. Her videos have garnered more than 18 million views and counting.

Gospel is her style of choice for a reason. "God called me to do gospel and I believe gospel can touch people's hearts," the surprisingly poised prodigy said.

She is an old soul, shaped perhaps by personal tragedy that began when her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when Rhema was just 3. Her father said he and his wife decided not to shield their daughter from her mother's illness. Instead, Rhema was there for her mother’s chemotherapy treatments and by her side when she took her final breath in November, 2008.

Following his wife’s death, Rhema’s father decided to introduce the child to the music her mother loved most: gospel.

Rhema said she's close to her mom when she sings. "I can feel her," she said, "through my spirit."

Within a year of the YouTube release, she cut two albums. Her latest album, "All Seasons," includes holiday songs that pay tribute to music legends such as Mariah Carey and even Elvis Presley.

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