Although Skyla Blumenscheid's parents say the young woman took to music like a duck to water, she wasn't quite as committed at first.

"I felt like it really wasn't for me," the DeSales High School freshman said. "I was into science and engineering."

In January, however, Skyla will travel to Memphis, Tennessee, to represent Columbus in the Youth Showcase at the prestigious International Blues Challenge, a worldwide search for talented performers poised to make their mark in the genre.

Skyla earned the honor as a result of her performance Aug. 20 at the Columbus Blues Alliance 2017 Blues Challenge.

Her road to Memphis and exposure to other talented blues musicians started when she was 9 years old and her mother, Patti Sprouse, scored a bargain.

"It was really amazing, honestly," Sprouse said. "I had actually picked up a $5 keyboard at a garage sale. She started picking out songs by ear. This was before she had any kind of music lessons at all."

Skyla, who was raised in the Northland area and attended St. Anthony School from kindergarten through eighth grade, was signed up for piano lessons by her mom. Skyla promptly showed the teacher her natural aptitude.

"She played 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' perfectly from the beginning to the end," Sprouse said. "The teacher couldn't believe it."

Skyla, who plays trumpet in the DeSales marching band, moved on to the guitar when the music studio she attended offered a free instrument in exchange for four lessons, her mom said.

"She played the heck out of it," Sprouse said.

Skyla said she loves other types of music, as well.

Bill Steller, dean of students and marching band director at DeSales, agreed.

"For kids like Skyla who really embrace music, what she's embracing is music itself, not one genre," Steller said. "Skyla's also an old soul when it comes to music."

"She's kind of all over the place in terms of what she likes," said her father, Bob Blumenscheid.

Skyla is looking forward to the International Blues Challenge Jan. 16-20.

"I think going down there, I'll get a new experience as a competitor," she said.

Skyla said she feels she has found her calling in music.

"Really, we kind of support that," her father said. "Certainly live performance will never be outsourced. It really feeds people's souls."

"If she continues to work the way she's working now, a school of music is very much were I can see her going to," Steller said.

"I think music will always be part of Skyla's life," Sprouse said. "It's part of her church life. It's part of her social life. She loves marching band."