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CJ Fam: No ‘Ordinary Pop Star’

Mary Claire O'Donnell | Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ark Music Factory.  The first thing to pop into most people’s heads after that sentence probably ranges from “Rebecca Black” to “auto-tune” to “exploitation.” Some people may have even experienced nausea.  Basically, unless you are Ryan Seacrest, you most likely have a fairly negative view of the new music production company.

But, despite common misconceptions, Ark Music is not only about auto-tuning tweens and reaping the financial benefits. Meet CJ Fam, an 11-year-old from Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Currently, she works for Ark Music and her music video, “Ordinary Pop Star,” can be found on their YouTube channel, trizzy66.

CJ began singing three to four years ago, drawing inspiration from her drama classes.  She began collecting singing gigs, including performing the national anthem at a rodeo.  

“It took my parents a few times watching me perform, but eventually they said to themselves, ‘Man, this girl can really sing,'” CJ said.

Before benefiting from her talent, CJ improved her musical talents through music and acting lessons. She draws her inspiration from artists like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.  CJ especially admires them for their sincere attitudes and drive to be themselves.

“Everyone says [Lady Gaga’s] wack, but she’s not. She’s just trying to get her name out there,” she said.

And that is exactly what CJ wants to do.  Unlike Rebecca Black, who reportedly paid to have Ark Music produce her video, CJ sent audition tapes to Ark Music.  The new production company was looking to start a girl band, but called CJ back to launch her as a solo artist.

“It’s been a rollercoaster.  It’s once in a lifetime,” CJ said of the experience.

Ark Music has received a lot of criticism for their business model. People have claimed they exploit children’s desire for fame to make money, but CJ would like to debunk this myth. She has enjoyed every minute she has worked with the producers, Patrice Wilson and Clarence Jey.

“[Patrice and Clarence] have been very supportive. They’re just starting out too and they’re not what people [have] been saying about them,” CJ said, thankful for their support and help.

And CJ has enjoyed getting to know her fellow Ark Music artists. Before the launch of the company’s website, Ark Music hosted a meet and greet with the artists, both those who have launched and those who are still in production.  She calls the group “one big family.”

But this 11-year-old with the bouncing blond curls doesn’t just have a powerful voice.  CJ has performed in professional plays, both in the United States and internationally, including “Annie” and “The Sound of Music.” She also wrote her single, “Ordinary Pop Star,” which is nearing almost 1 million hits on YouTube. She also wrote it when she was ten years old.

Regarding the song, CJ also wanted to clear up some misconceptions about the message behind the song.  She was not trying to imply that she is a pop star and has to deal with everything that life entails.

“The song is not that I’m already famous, it’s about that girl who has the choice between living the life of a star or being a normal girl,” CJ  said. “She just wants a little bit of both, but she has to decide.”

Although CJ has not had to experience these choices yet, she is well on her way. Her road to fame currently involves trips back and forth between Los Angeles and Florida to meet with record labels and to hype her new single, which should be hitting iTunes soon.

So check out this rising star on YouTube and iTunes.  She’s only 11, but she has a voice that belies her age and promises to keep her on the music scene for years to come.