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Local girl competes in radio contest

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

Nearly a year ago, John Herring didn’t know what to expect as he sat waiting for his daughter, Emylee, who was undergoing a nine-hour operation. Today, he sits waiting with his daughter to witness a lifelong dream come true.

Emylee is one of 12 young people who have recorded songs that will be heard on “Kiss FM” KHKS-FM (106.1) today through May 4 as part of a micro music competition highlighting young artists in the region.

Emylee is in the final stages of recovery from surgery for scoliosis.

“It was pretty severe; as parents, we didn’t know it was that severe, we didn’t even know she had it,” her father recalled.

In 2011, the school nurse at Lake Dallas Middle School noticed Emylee had a rib hump in her back as she performed regular screenings for scoliosis.

“It was pretty intense for us, because we took her in to have her X-rays done and an hour later [Dr. Isador Lieberman] and three other doctors walked in the room. We knew right away something wasn’t right.”

Emylee’s scoliosis was an S-shaped curve. The upper section was a 65 degree curve, the lower section was a 55 degree curve, and her parents were told she needed surgery right away.

“My first thought was, ‘No way; that’s my daughter.’ We had to make a life-changing decision in a matter of a couple weeks,” Herring said. “Had she not done that, she would have gotten worse in a short amount of time.”

Emylee had the surgery in June 2012 to correct the scoliosis, leaving the operating table after a nine-hour procedure with 22 titanium rods and screws in her back and an inch and a half taller. Her surgeon, Dr. Isador Lieberman of the Texas Back Institute in Plano, used robotics to perform the surgery. This significantly reduced the potential for nerve damage or further complications.

It was the longest nine hours of their lives for him and his wife, Herring said.

A year removed from surgery, Emylee is doing well, recently cleared to resume cheerleading and exceeding her doctor’s expectations.

Emylee also has been taking some acting and singing classes. Her mother is a Dallas Symphony Chorus singer. Her parents said she has been singing since she was 18 months old, when they learned she could recite her ABCs on pitch and accurately. In the last year, she has learned to play the guitar and started working with Bridgette Hammers and Scott Cash Callaway, who got her involved in the micro music competition.

“It’s amazing. Ever since I was little, I always wanted to have a song I wrote or did on the radio,” Emylee said.

Her song, “The Way,” is about bullying.

The song will be heard at least 32 times in the two-week period.

Herring said a majority of the contest entries are songs about bullying.

“It’s a real positive thing to put out there and the kids need to hear that; they need to hear something more positive and this is definitely a way to do that,” Herring said.

Herring said he and his wife have been telling Emylee to enjoy the contest and have fun with it.

“We’re really happy for her to have this opportunity,” he said. “A year ago, my daughter was on the operating table; here it is less than a year later, she is going to be singing on the radio. One of her dreams since she was a kid, and it’s coming true — we couldn’t be more proud of her.”

The contest entries will be heard on Kiss FM starting today and continuing through May 4. Listeners can vote online for the best micro music song they hear at The contest is being sponsored by

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.