When she was 11, Riley Biederer wrote “I am going to be famous” on her mirror with pink lipstick, her favorite color.
Nearly four years later, she strummed her guitar with a pink pick in her family’s living room and belted out the words to a song that could soon be part of her first album.
The West Forsyth High School sophomore has a contract in the works with Rocket Music Entertainment Group, which was co-founded by Elton John.
Biederer, who said she’s been singing “like forever,” began writing songs at 12.
She picked up the guitar shortly afterward to put some music with the words.
At 14, she began performing at open microphone nights and even getting paying gigs locally.
After being discovered by a producer on YouTube, a video-sharing Web site, it’s been a fast ascent for 15-year-old Biederer into the world of show business.
“It’s just mind-blowing to me,” she said.
She began by recording a three-song demo with the producer, Matt Still, in the spring.
Near the end of the last school year, Biederer called Still while eating lunch in the cafeteria, and the producer handed the phone to Elton John, who had listened to her demo.
“Elton came on the phone, and he was like, ‘Hey, is this Riley?’” Biederer recalled. “I can only imagine my face.”
Shortly after, the famous singer met with the Biederer family to talk business and set up an informal agreement.
Biederer nonchalantly talked about her exchanges with the Grammy-winning artist on a first-name basis — “Elton.”
For her parents, the experiences haven’t yet sunk in.
“He came from the Royal Wedding to meet with us,” mom Tisha Biederer said. “It’s kind of surreal.”
Since then, the young artist has been co-writing songs with acclaimed writers in Nashville and performing for more elite crowds.
She said the thrill of being on stage is her favorite part about what she does.
From her start at open mic nights, Biederer has played for crowds of thousands.
She sang the opening song at the national Orange Conference in front of about 6,000 people at the Gwinnett Arena, which she called one of her favorite shows.
“It’s so fun, especially at the end when everybody cheers. That’s my favorite part,” Biederer said. “I won’t be nervous until four seconds before I go on. It’s not even nerves; it’s just being so excited. It’s just adrenaline.”
Biederer will get a chance to sing before a large local crowd on Sept. 11 at the Forsyth Family Fest.
Though the big audiences get her fired up, she doesn’t balk at doing a performance at a local restaurant.
She’s done plenty of shows at Castleberry Ale House, Summit’s Tavern, Robin Hood Tavern and other county locales.
A busy practice and performance schedule can make it difficult to lead a normal teen life of school and socializing, Biederer said, so she often brings along friends to gigs.
“We can hang out, but you have to come watch me sing first,” Biederer joked.
Her friends often play a role in her music, either providing ideas or inspiration.
Biederer, who has written about 60 songs in the past two years, said she draws mostly from life situations.
Her song “Won’t Get Lucky Twice,” for example, was written after she made a long basketball shot backwards — just once.
She compared the idea to a relationship, and the song was born.
Biederer describes her style of music as a “mash up between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry,” combining modern country and pop.
She can’t imagine doing anything else at this point.
“It’s just fun,” she said. “Everyone has their thing. For me, singing just comes natural.”