Lily Cave is an aspiring performer, waiting for her big break. And at age nine, she is not wasting any time.
Apart from school and friends, she spends as much time as she can going from one audition to another and improves herself by attending acting, dancing and singing classes – and she’s enjoying all the breaks that come her way.
Recently the Grade 4 student competed at Vancouver’s annual Christmas Market X-mas Factor singing contest. She didn’t win the $5,000 grand prize, which went to a 21-year-old, but she was happy with the results.
“It felt really great when I was asked to go to the finals,” says Cave, who sang Billy Squire’s Christmas is the Day to Say I Love You and Chuck Berry’s Run, Run Rudolph. “I am the youngest performer they’ve ever had at X-mas Factor.”
In August, Cave competed in Rock the Rog, an online audition to sing the national anthem at a Vancouver Canucks game in Rogers Arena.
“I made it to the finals and I didn’t win, however I was called to perform during family night,” says Cave. “They said I did the best of everybody who performed the (U.S. national) anthem.”
She sang both the Canadian and U.S. national anthems at the Nov. 17 game, in front of more than 18,000 people. Standing in front of the largest crowd she has performed for, she says she wasn’t nervous. She already has various Victoria-area events, including singing to a crowd of 4,000 attending a Victoria HarbourCats baseball game under her belt. She has also sung for multi-award winning music producer David Foster after raising $1,000 for the David Foster Foundation by busking in Victoria.
To warm up for the Canucks event, she repeatedly sang both national anthems to herself. Despite its challenges, she prefers the Star-Spangled Banner because of the wide vocal range required.
“It’s so fun to sing,” Cave says. “It’s all over the place and it’s long.”
The youngster started singing lessons at age three and got into musical theatre at four, that’s when she caught the acting bug, she says.
“One time I just said, ‘Mom, can I try acting?’ So now I’m in classes.”
Her mother, Leanne Teron, enrolled her in the Victoria Academy of the Dramatic Arts where after seven lessons, an instructor said Cave was a natural and told Teron to get her an agent.
“With singing, it’s easier to tell if you’ve got the voice or not,” Teron says. “But with acting, you don’t know.”
Since she got her agent, Cave has been attending various auditions for theatre, television and film.
In September, she started acting school in Vancouver, where she takes classes for six hours every Sunday. However, her supportive family is considering moving so the budding star can have a better chance of making a career. Teron says Cave was passed over for a theatre part recently because the producers wanted someone who lives in Toronto.
“Some of these kids acting in Vancouver, their resume is huge,” Teron says. “I feel Lily missed out a little even though she started at nine. She could have started at six.”
Teron and her husband, John Cave, have discussed moving to support their eldest daughter’s ambition, but don’t call them stage parents. They have let their child take the lead.
“She makes the decision,” Teron says. “If you try to push them, it doesn’t work.”
The family moved to Oak Bay from Metchosin two months ago, and both Cave and her sister, Holly, 7, are enrolled in Willows Elementary.
Cave says she would love to move to Vancouver, but is torn, as Vancouver Island is home.
As for making it big in the performing arts, she loves singing a little bit more than acting and if she doesn’t get that big break, it doesn’t matter as long as she still gets to perform.
“What I always say is, even if I don’t make it and get famous, I don’t really mind because all I want to do is sing,” she says. “And if I can make at least one person smile, I know I did my job.”