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Published Sep. 11, 2009

Tout Suite: Caroline Kudelko, vocals and rhythm guitar; Chris Wallace, lead guitar ("He has also been my guitar teacher for a few years," Caroline says); Chris Nick, bass; and Danny Elliott, drums. Caroline, a local 12-year-old pop sensation, has gotten local and national media attention for her youthful but gutsy tunes.

She's been at it: "Since I was 10, so a little over two years."

Big or small venues: "I really like playing both, but if I had to choose, I would choose the big arenas because of the energy, the crowds and getting to meet new music lovers. I loved playing the Fun 'N Sun at Coachman Park in Clearwater; that was a huge crowd. I have also really enjoyed playing the plaza stages at the St. Pete Times Forum and the Ford Amphitheatre. That is really cool. (Plus, she has sung a duet with Pat Benatar, appeared onstage with the Go Go's and got to sing First Cut Is the Deepest with Sheryl Crow). People always come up to the stage and yell in between songs, 'So how old are you?' "

Fun stuff: "We like to play volleyball, go swimming. We also like to just hang out."

Hometown: Clearwater.

Been to Dairy Kurl? "You bet I have been to that Dairy Kurl," she says of Clearwater's '50s-built landmark. "I love to get the chocolate-dipped cone!"

Other faves: "I am bummed that Krispy Kreme isn't there anymore. My favorite places around here are Cold Stone Creamery. They have the best flavor: Cake Batter. I also love a good pizza from Pajano's on Indian Rocks Beach."

Words about words: Caroline's tune Count Your Blessings has gotten local radio airplay. Was it inspired by early learning experiences? "Yes, all of my songs are inspired by real situations. That one was inspired by someone I knew who didn't always look at the bright side of things, even though they had every reason to be happy. At least I thought they should be happy! ... I have tried some co-writing and I have been lucky enough to hook up with some of the top songwriters in Nashville, like some who have written No. 1 hits for Garth Brooks and George Strait. I am learning a lot from them on the real art of songwriting."

Where the magic happens: "My favorite place to write is the big fluffy carpet on the floor of my room."

Role model: "I admire Taylor Swift for writing all of her own stuff. I have met her, and she was so encouraging to me."

Making connections: "This makes me cry ... I had written a song about a family member who died young. I played it during the radiothon for All Children's Hospital. I found out later that a family listened to that song, and then called all their relatives to make donations to All Children's. They said that song moved them to help people with sick children. That means a lot to me that a song I wrote could inspire someone to help others."

Hear her: 6:45 p.m. Saturday at the WMNF Birthday Bash at the Ritz in Ybor City. For event details, For more information about Caroline, visit