Sometimes dreams come true in the most unexpected ways.
Maureen Maltez’s dream of becoming noticed as a singer was fulfilled much more quickly than she ever thought and in a way that she never imagined that it would.
Maltez, a Columbia State Community College student who will be attending Lipscomb University this fall as the recipient of a full-tuition transfer trustee scholarship, returned to Nashville May 17 after a trip of a lifetime that catapulted her singing talent into the national spotlight.
“Celebrity Apprentice” finalist and country music singer Trace Adkins was looking for a duet partner recently to perform with him on some appearances in New York City in mid-May. Adkins normally performs his hit song, “Watch the World End,” with pop singer Colbie Caillat. But, Caillat was unavailable to perform with Adkins due to scheduling conflicts.
Needing to find a substitute, Adkins remembered hearing Maltez sing at a Columbia State fundraiser at which his daughter was also performing. Maltez was featured in a song during the program, and Adkins loved her voice.
So, a few weeks later, Adkins surprised Maltez when he walked into her class at Columbia State, handed her a CD and asked her to learn the song in a day, Maltez recalls.
“It was such a quick thing,” said Maltez. “Initially I was excited. Then, I became afraid when I realized, ‘I’m going to be on the Today Show with a celebrity, and I’m standing in for Colbie Caillat!’ I didn’t sleep for two days.”
The next day, Adkins and his piano player returned to see how they sounded together. He was satisfied that 23-year-old Maltez would be a suitable substitute for his appearances on “The Today Show,” “Fox and Friends” and a concert at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square on May 15.
Adkins told the Associated Press that “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. 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?’”
Maltez, who studied commercial entertainment at Columbia State, accepted the invitation to fill in for Calliat. Adkins’ wife, Rhonda, took the Miami-born, Honduras-raised Maltez on a shopping trip for outfits and invited her into their home.
The trip was filled with a number of firsts for Maltez. It was her first time to visit New York City, to sing on national television and to stand in for a celebrity among other milestones.
When the magnitude of the situation hit Maltez, she recalls doubting her ability to meet the challenge. The day after learning she would be singing with Adkins in New York City, Maltez participated in a food distribution for a local ministry at which she volunteers.
“The pastor there was so excited for me,” she said. “I told him I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it, and I asked him to pray for me. It was in that moment that I realized God takes care of everything. I had a number of fears about doing this. But, I knew God had given me this opportunity and that I needed to embrace it.”
Maltez said the experience is one she will remember for a lifetime.
“At one point I looked around and saw all of these really important people around me and wondered, ‘how did I get here?’ I had a moment when I realized that I thought I had big dreams, but what God has in store for us is even bigger. This experience was just a glimpse of it,” said Maltez.
Maltez said her story went across the country. Since then, she has received numerous calls, texts and other messages from friends and people she has never met.
“I just have to remember to be myself,” she said. “This experience was just the best ever. I have no words to adequately express my appreciation to Mr. Trace and Mrs. Rhonda for all that they have done for me.”
This fall, Maltez will continue to pursue her dreams by attending Lipscomb University to complete a degree in public relations. She said she believes that coming to Lipscomb is part of a bigger plan for her life.
“Every single person who I asked about Lipscomb had something good to say about the university,” she said. “I knew that if I received the scholarship, that attending Lipscomb is what God has in mind for me. If not, I knew He had something else in mind. I loved going through the admissions process at Lipscomb.”
Maltez was one of two Columbia State students awarded the transfer trustee scholarship, awarded based on academic success, leadership and character inside and outside the classroom, said Aaron Burtch, director of transfer recruiting at Lipscomb.
“Maureen is an amazing and talented young lady,” said Burtch. “Her humility and work ethic speak out louder than her singing voice, and that’s why I’m excited to have her be a part of the Lipscomb family in the fall.”
Maltez said she wants to study public relations because she wants to learn more about the business side of a career in the music industry and how the process to launch a career works. She will continue to hone her singing skills with a vocal coach while she builds her business and public relations skills.
For now, she is ready to embark on the next step of her journey which will lead her to the Lipscomb campus in August.
“I am so excited to be here!” she said.
For more information about admission to or scholarship opportunities available to transfer students, visit admissions.lipscomb.edu/transfers.