Trace Adkins found himself in need of a duet partner for his appearances on the Today Show and Fox & Friends this week — and instead of calling one of his famous friends, he picked Maureen Maltez, an unknown singer he’d heard at a junior college fundraiser. He surprised her with a copy of the song during a jazz dance class two weeks ago and after a few short rehearsals the pair boarded a plane to New York on Tuesday.
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“There were any number of seasoned professionals here in town that of course I could have gone with and they would have done a beautiful job,” Trace said. “But I saw her sing … and I remembered her and I just thought, ‘I bet it would really mean something if she were to do it.’ I know what I would have thought if I was (young) and somebody would have come in and said, `Hey, you want to go to New York City and sing on the “Today” show?’”
Maureen was standing backstage following her performance at the fundraiser when Trace, whom she’d never met before, walked up to her. Her college instructor runs a dance studio where Trace’s daughters take classes, but Maureen didn’t know about that connection then.
“All he said was, `Hello, my name is Trace Adkins and you sing beautiful.’ I wrote it down,” Maureen said “A friend of mine was beside me and he was like, `Oh, my gosh!’ I could barely sleep that night.”
Maureen didn’t expect to see him again, but two weeks ago he walked into her class at Columbia State Community College and handed her a CD with “Watch the World End,” a song from his new album, Love Will …, that features Colbie Caillat, who was unable to make it to New York this week. Maureen had one night to rehearse the song. Trace returned with his piano player the next day to see how they sounded together and, satisfied, he invited her to New York. Trace’s wife Rhonda bonded with Maureen as well, taking her shopping for outfits and inviting her into their home.
Having never sung in front of more than 1,000 people or appeared on national television, Maureen is understandably nervous about her performances this week. Trace thinks she’ll be just fine.
“I want this to be fun for her, something she remembers,” he said. “As I was leaving (her school) a couple of the ladies came outside and caught me, and they had tears in their eyes and they were like, `You don’t understand, this girl is so special.’ I said, `You don’t have to tell me about that.’ I saw the aura when she walked out onstage. There’s something about her. She has that thing. I saw it right off.”
Trace and Maureen will appear on the Today Show Wednesday, May 15. They will then perform on Fox & Friends on May 17. Check local listings for show times.
Trace will also be the special guest GAC’s Top 20 Country Countdown this week! Tune in Friday, May 17 at 8/7c to hear Trace talk about his new album. We’re also giving away a guitar autographed by Trace! Enter for your chance to win here.