April 2014

Sierra Hull Carries on a Musical Tradition

Sierra HullSierra Hull

Sierra Hull
Sierra Hull and her band performed at an arts festival in Copley Square in Boston.

Sierra Hull has been playing concerts and festivals all over the United States this year. She’s also been busy writing and recording songs for a new album. She sings and plays the mandolin, a small stringed instrument that has four pairs of strings.

Now 22 years old, Hull has been playing music since she was eight. She mainly performs bluegrass, but she also enjoys country, pop, and jazz. Bluegrass first became popular in the late 1940s. It is a blend of Scottish, Irish, and African-American musical traditions that came together in the Appalachian region of the United States. By playing bluegrass music, Hull is carrying on a long, proud American tradition.

Hull was born and raised in Byrdstown, Tennessee, a small town in the north-central part of the state. By age 10, she had learned to play the mandolin so well that she became known as a prodigy. A prodigy is a young person who is unusually talented in some way. Hull was 16 years old when she released her first music album, called Secrets. After she finished high school in Byrdstown, she attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She became the first bluegrass musician to receive Berklee’s Presidential Scholarship, a full-paid scholarship that’s awarded to only seven individuals each year.

Back home, Hull already has a bluegrass festival named for her. Byrdstown has been hosting the Sierra Hull Bluegrass Festival every October since she was 10 years old. In addition to lots of great music, it also includes events to raise money for charities that help people in need. Looking out for those who are less fortunate is important to Hull. In March, she visited patients at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. She spent time with children suffering from leukemia and other serious diseases.

One of the ways that Hull stays in touch with her fans is by posting updates on her Facebook and Twitter pages. In February, she started something new called “Sierra Sunday Sessions.” Her first “session” was a home video recording of her performing the pop classic “After You’ve Gone.” She shared it on Facebook, and her fans loved it.

Hull has had the honor of performing in front of the President of the United States and at the famous Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Yet, she says that every one of her concerts is just as important as any other. She strives to put on the best show possible for her fans, no matter what the setting.

Image credit: ©Paul Marotta/Getty Images

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Question 1
What kind of music does Sierra Hull mainly play?

Question 2
Where did Sierra Hull grow up?

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