Mia Bergmann, of Margate, is working hard to perform well as a freshman at Atlantic City High School. But at this point, the 14-year-old is better known for her emergence into the country music world than her grades.
At 6 p.m. Jan. 12, the young artist will take center stage at the Milton and Betty Katz Jewish Community Center in her hometown - giving her the opportunity to see a crowd of familiar faces in the audience.
"I've been playing a lot outside of New Jersey and in other places around the country. So it's really exciting to play in my hometown and invite all my friends to come," the young singer-songwriter said.
Bergmann spent the past two seasons opening for country superstars, including Miranda Lambert and John Michael Montgomery.
Her Saturday performance will mark only the second time that she has played the JCC, where she says she is an active member. Her first performance was to an audience of kindergarteners through sixth-graders during their summer camp lunch hour. The intimate three-piece acoustic set she played will differ greatly from her upcoming all-ages performance.
"This time it'll be my full band," Bergmann said, who categorizes her genre as a crossover between pop and country.
Sheryl Rubin, the center's program director, was responsible for making sure the up-and-coming star returned to play Margate.
"I saw her when she opened for the Bacon Brothers in Ocean City and was just blown away by how good she was," Rubin said. "I think she reminds me of Taylor Swift."
Bergman admits that she is often compared to the young country star, but as flattered as she feels, she can't help but separate herself from the Grammy Award-winning artist.
"I love Taylor Swift. She's one of my biggest idols, but I think if you listen to us both, you'll find that we are really different," she said.
Bergmann's self-titled album is available on iTunes and she is working to record acoustic versions of new songs to give away on her YouTube channel or miabergmannmusic.com. "I'm just writing and taking my time with (my second album)," the high school student said.
And her fans will have a good variety of lyrics to relate to and possibly sing along with. Inspiration for her songs stem from everything, she said.
"It could just be something that someone tells me or something that I went through, like drama in school or with a boy, or with food," she laughed. "Inspiration comes in the most random places. You never know when you're going to get hit with something."
Rubin hopes the event will appeal to families and people of all ages.
"I think that it will be a great family event with parents and kids. There's not much that you can do that is like this in the area," the program director said.
Bergman agrees that her music can be appreciated by anyone, disregarding the fact that many of her songs on her setlist were written when she was only 12 and 13 years old.
"There are some songs that are more for a mature audience, that young people would still enjoy, but an older audience would understand more," she said.
The Jan. 12 crowd should expect anything from soft to louder, faster tempo songs. Bergmann plans to play originals, but intersperse covers into her lineup as well.
As the JCC prepares to have her, Bergmann and her four-member band are practicing and becoming increasingly excited to play the show.
"They all do go to college in different places," she said. "It's going to be a reunion for us because it's been awhile since we played a full band show."
Mia Bergmann merchandise, including CDs and T-shirts, will be on sale and she will be available for autographs.
Tickets can be purchased at the Jewish Community Center or at the door.
Contact Caitlin Honan:
If you go
Mia Bergmann All Ages Concert
6 p.m., Sat. Jan. 12
Milton and Betty Katz Jewish Community Center, 501 N. Jerome Ave., Margate
$10 for adults, $5 for children under 18
Call 609-822-1167 or see jccatlantic.org.