On YouTube, Kylie Baker uploaded a video of her singing and playing piano to a song she wrote and composed titled “Never Looking Back.” The video has nearly 12,000 views and the song won her an award at a singer-songwriter competition when she was 14 years old.
But the sophomore at Highland Park High School is humble.
“I guess it took me a couple of weeks to write, so not too long,” she said. “I’m not really sure where it came from. I just kind of wrote it.”
Baker has been playing piano since she was 3 years old, but it wasn’t until around age 11 that she began to enjoy it.
“For the first few years, I really didn’t like it that much,” she said. “My dad kind of made me. But I grew to like it and I started to study more because I really started to enjoy it.”
Baker is a part of the orchestra at HPHS, under the direction of Peggy Tucker, and is the only piano player. Last school year, she competed in her first UIL competition and earned a rating of 1C.
“We had never been to any music competitions before,” said Jay Baker, Kylie’s dad. “We didn’t know how it worked. And we’re sitting there reading [the scores] and it said 1C, so we were looking at it thinking, ‘1 was the best, but she probably got some downgrades for something,’ not knowing what it was. So we walked in and said, ‘So she got a 1C, what is the C for, so she can work on it?’”
But the C meant she qualified for the UIL state competition.
Jay was thrilled, and said going to state as a ninth grader probably made him more excited than she was.
“She tends to be pretty low-key,” he said.
On the drive back from the competition, Kylie discovered she won the Outstanding Performer award, an honor given to fewer than 300 of the 25,000 musicians at the Texas State Solo-Ensemble Contest.
“She practiced very diligently every day on the solo she took to the UIL contests,” Tucker said. “Kylie is musically talented and hard-working. Her piano playing is a contribution to the Highlander Strings orchestra, as well as her sweet and kind personality.”