STANHOPE — Sussex County Idol, Amelya Race, of Lafayette, will perform at The Stanhope House on Thursday evening, Oct. 18. Best known as a contemporary country artist (at just age 13) she will perform in that genre but will also be adding some “soulful surprises” to her sets. “Artists including Etta James, Linda Ronstadt and The Dixie chicks always influence my performances,” Race said. Race said she can't remember when she wasn't involved in music. “I was 7 years old when I first began singing and taking piano lessons with Elisa Girlando at her Studio in Sparta,” she said. “My parents and six siblings are musical. My parents noticed my ability and interest in music and encouraged me to follow this path by viewing YouTube videos is like watching home movies especially 'somewhere over the rainbow video' and 'Dream a Little Dream.'”Race said that her love of music evolved naturally. “I enjoyed singing/performing and the audience gave me energy and inspired me to keep doing it,” she said. “Piano was my first instrument, after three years of lessons (I was 10) my parents noticed I wasn’t reading the sheet music I was playing by ear. My teacher thought that was a unique skill but quickly taught me to read music.”She added, “Shhhh, I still like figuring out what I hear.”Race also plays the flute. When she was nine years old, she borrowed her sister's flute and still takes lessons through the Lafayette Township School where she is a student, Vice President of the Student Council and involved in band, chorus and the play. Race can always be found in the music room at lunch time. Last year, she added guitar. “I am a Sussex County Country Girl and guitar goes with that name,” she said. “There is a downside to guitar:when my teacher tells me to cut my nails. I want to try a wireless electric violin but my parents are reeling me in little, maybe Santa will bring me one.”Race said, “My gift is to please with my voice and people have supported and promoted me. I am very grateful. There is one person in particular, Joan Smith of Lafayette, who was instrumental in helping me be noticed at the Fair, I received so many fans from her kindness, including being noticed and hired to singing on the rodeo circuit.”In addition to being the current Sussex County Idol, Race won the title in 2016 as well. She is also the 2018 winner of Mid-Atlantic Idol (MAMTG) in the pop and jazz categories. In this competition, she took second place in the talent and theater categories and third in the duet category. Between 2014 and 2017, Race placed first, second and third in various categories. Race is the 2018 runner up in the Sussex County Got Talent competition held at the NJ State Fair. She was also a finalist in 2017 and 2016. She's performed at the Maple Leaf Rodeo and at High Point Hawks Football games. Race has performed at local restaurants including: Homestead, St. Moritz, and Cafe a la Mode. Of her title as 2018 Idol, she said, “There were many talented contestants at the Sussex county Idol competition, and I was thrilled and happy to win but I was seriously shocked and honored when my school announced it and posted it on outside electric sign. Lafayette Township School (my school) is proud.”Race said, “No doubt my parents (Donna and Steve Race) love, support and inspire me, but they don’t know how the music business works so its our hometown that has helped and advanced my name and giving me opportunities to perform and gain fans. Elisa Girlando has played a huge role teaching voice and piano. She has produced my latest videos that can be seen on YouTube. Joan Smith of Lafayette played a big role. The past two years she gave time and space to perform at the New Jersey State Fair. Also Stepanie Bizzulo of the Lafayette Township Rec Commission added me to their performances.”To see Race live at The Stanhope House on October 18th, tickets are available at www.ticketfly.com. The doors open at six pm, and there will be three acts that night.