Young Haddonfield resident sings at 76ers game

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Twelve-year-old Gianna Caruso is making big waves in the region through the sound of her voice. Though she may be small now, her voice is unexpectedly and amazingly large.

Doing astounding things with her voice, the Haddonfield Middle School student recently took a step up and has reached far beyond this local area, being featured on television, when she sang the National Anthem for the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, March 20 and again when she was asked back on Saturday, April 2.

Gianna’s singing talent was first noticed when she was 20 months old. Her father, Matt, would play guitar and she started singing along with the music. Taking note of her talent, he started to teach her to sing. The first song she learned was “This Love” by Maroon 5.

She continued taking lessons with him until she was about 7, when she started taking voice lessons in Haddonfield. Last year, Gianna was accepted to study under Sal Dupree, a famous vocal coach in South Jersey who’s had students audition and appear on shows such as “The Voice,” “America’s Got Talent” and “American Idol.”

Her first gig was singing at her dad’s 40th birthday party with a band called Don’t Call Me Francis, singing “This Love.” Then, Gianna started singing with her dad in a band they created together called GG and Me. They have sung at local bars, farmers markets, May fairs, open mic nights, fundraisers and more.

“I love to sing with my dad at every gig that I can get,” Gianna said.

Her talents got noticed when songwriter John Ellison, the original creator of “Some Kind of Wonderful,” heard her sing on YouTube and reached out to work with her. They had an idea to change the lyrics of his song to an anti-bully song called “I’m Some Kind of Wonderful” and recorded the song in Ivory Studios with John Ellison and David Ivory. Gianna will sing the song for her old school, Elizabeth Haddon Elementary School, in June.

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“I knew that many children have been getting cyber bullied, bullied and picked on, so this is going to really help the children stand up for themselves and ignore it,” Gianna said.

“It is nice to see a young kid talking back against bullying. It easier for a kid to relate to a kid. I think this is a good avenue to speak to kids about bullying for her age group and something she feels strongly about,” her mother Tina said.

Tina sent the 76ers a video of her singing the national anthem at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, hoping she would be chosen to do the national anthem for them.

She got a call and was asked to perform March 20. They got so many good reviews, she was asked to come back on April 2.

“My favorite performance was the opportunity to sing at a 76ers game twice,” Gianna said.

Gianna has also worked with her younger sister Natalia on a song for Christmas. It has been recorded and is planned to come out around Christmas this year.

When Gianna sings, she feels free from stress, and it makes her really happy.

“My favorite thing about singing is the feeling of applause once I have finish singing a song. I also love to belt a note, which gives me the feeling of satisfaction. This is because I know that it has left a large mark in the song,” Gianna said.

Gianna’s parents are very proud of her.

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They’ve supported her talent since she was young and continue to support her, though from the sidelines.

“I think it is amazing … It shocks me every time. As a mother, you can’t really help her when she is out there; she’s all on her own. But I can’t help thinking that it is so surreal, she has such a big voice for a young body, and I can’t believe she is my kid,” Tina said.

Gianna hopes those who listen to her sing learn to ignore the negativity people can so often give and to stand up for themselves.

She would like them to feel positive about themselves. Tina, too, hopes others can take that away and see Gianna as a good role model.

“I’d like her to be a role model and have children see that they can do this, too. If she can do it, you can do it. Do what you love,” Tina said.

Gianna and her mother couldn’t be more grateful for her talent and where it has taken her.

“I also feel happy and satisfied to be able to have this amazing talent,” Gianna said.

“This is something that God gave her. Some people are born with this and some aren’t, but it is a gift so we cultivated it. We are very fortunate to be able to use her talent for good causes and for just being herself, an individual,” Tina said.

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The next time you can see Gianna is at the Collingswood May Fair on Saturday, May 28. She also recently auditioned for a Broadway showcase and was accepted to perform in it on June 12.

“We also have multiple bookings throughout the summer at Haddonfield and Collingswood farmers markets,” Gianna said.

A YouTube channel and website for Gianna are being worked on and will hopefully be up by the beginning of May at giannac.com.