Local singing star Maddy Haskell has plans for the future. The seventeen year-old senior at Chesterton high School says, “singing in choir is like a big family.”
Born in Michigan City, Haskell has lived her life in Lake Station. She caddies on the golf course at Long Beach Country Club, working towards earning her scholarship for college.
“It’s called the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship. It’s a full-ride, four-year scholarship. I have to maintain my grades, and do a number of rounds on the golf course. That would be great if I got that,” said Haskell, who hopes to use the scholarship to attend Indiana University in Bloomington.
Caddying may be her job, but singing is clearly her passion. Haskell says that she has been singing ever since she was three years old, when she heard a Kelly Clarkson song.
“I was listening to her, listening to her voice and just wanted to sound like her,” said Haskell. “So, I started singing along, trying to make my voice sound like hers, trying to hit those notes. Years later, I was able to hit the notes I heard. It just became something that I would do every day. I completely fell in love with music.”
Haskell currently sings lead soprano with the Sandpipers, one of the lead choral ensembles at Chesterton High School. She has been featured in several singing competitions around the country, and recently won a spot as a finalist this year’s Whiting Idol competition, wowing the judges with her emotional cover of Etta James’s “At Last.” The finals will be held during this year’s Pierogi Fest, where Haskell will sing on the main stage.
“Singing is something that I just can’t let go of,” said Haskell, who has also performed at several events around the area, singing the Star-Spangled Banner at Gary RailCats games, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and, most recently, at this year’s Relay for Life in Portage. She plans to minor in music at IU, and says that she is inspired by powerhouse female singers, like Christina Aguilera and Beyonce.
She admits to feeling nervous before each performance, but loves it nonetheless.
“To me, it’s like, if I’m not nervous, then what’s the point? If I’m not nervous, then it’s too easy. I like that it still scares me, but then, feeling the music helps me to calm down. Afterwards, I will barely remember the performance,” she said.
“I love the stories that you can tell through singing. You can literally speak to anybody.”
Haskell says she listens to music “pretty much throughout the day,” whether she’s cooking or driving or in the shower.
Speaking of cooking, she claims to make a mean bowl of pasta.
“My go-to would have to be some sort of pasta with marinara sauce. Doesn’t really matter what type of pasta, but I like to make my own sauce from scratch.”
Haskell enjoys a close relationship with her mother, and says that she enjoys going for walks with her and their dogs.
“I like to walk on the beach. That’s my favorite place. If I could live there, I totally would,” said Haskell.
“We go out to eat a lot, too. We love Mexican food - it’s probably our favorite, and we go to this place called Mexico Lindo in Portage. That, and we also go to the Paragon in Hobart. We have a favorite waitress there, she’s awesome!”
Haskell likes the feeling of stability of living in Northwest Indiana.
“I like that I can go to the store in my pajamas, if I want. And the beach is so close. This is my home.”
Haskell says that perhaps one of her favorite events in the region is the Porter County Fair.
“We go every year, sometimes several times when it’s going on. We never miss it!”
Haskell admits to struggling with body-image issues, and hopes to help others who struggle with those issues still. She sums up her life goal is to become the best possible version of herself.
“I want to keep pushing, trying to be the best person I can be. I want everyone to feel comfortable in their skin, and I hope to help with that.”
Maybe you were lucky and saw Haskell win the singing contest at this year's Pierogi Fest, but if not then, next time you’re at a local event, and you hear the familiar words of our National Anthem being sung, it just might be local rising star Maddy Haskell sharing her gift with the world!
Photo credit: Kim Klotz of Kimberly Klotz Photography.