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Sammie's a smash at 13

Is it possible to be a famous recording artist and still be a regular kid? Well, no.

Consider Sammie Bush, aka Sammie, who, the story goes, received his first standing ovation at age 4 after singing with his church choir.

Not long ago he appeared on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, had a hit single certified gold and turned 13 _ all in a few days.

The young singer's first CD, From the Bottom to the Top, came out in March, and its first single, I Like It, reached No. 1 on Billboard's R&B chart shortly thereafter. Just one year earlier, Sammie was an elementary school kid from Miami singing a Stevie Wonder song in a children's competition on TV's Showtime at the Apollo.

A lot can happen in a year.

"I can't go out as much since the record came out," he says. And he spends so much time on the road that he doesn't always see his sister and brother, Krystal and A.J., as much as he'd like. But that doesn't mean he minds signing autographs and talking to his fans. "I'd rather they know who I am."

Sammie recently was featured at some of the Nickelodeon All That concerts. "It was a lot of fun," he says. "Performing live takes things to a whole different level." Real life, however, is catching up with him: School has started. The transition from stardom to school takes some getting used to, he says. "You're in the spotlight, then you're in the real world."

During the school year, he takes two days a week off to perform, usually Thursday and Friday. "I have to work around school," he explains. To make up for the missed time, he has a tutor. "It's not fun," he admits. "I don't have any classmates, and I can't let my mind wander because it's one-on-one."

Sammie's idol, and the artist with whom he's most frequently compared, is Stevie Wonder. But his current favorite musicians are R&B singer-television host Sysqo and chart-topping bad-boy rapper Eminem. In this month's issue of Fresh! magazine, Sammie is mentioned alongside both of them. Not bad for a guy whose mother goes on tour with him.

If singing doesn't pan out, there are plenty of things Sammie would like to do: play basketball professionally (he's a point guard on his school team) or act on a TV show such as his favorites The Parkers, The Hughleys and Moesha.

At the moment, however, his goals are closer to home: "I want to get straight A's this year. Play sports, go to the mall _ just regular kid stuff."

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