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Local singer brings big hopes, big voice to the stage
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More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Nicole Caras-Green is the lead singer of the band Caught in the Act.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Nicole Caras-Green performs with her band, Caught in the Act, at the Captain's Table restaurant in Moline on July 31, 2011.
MOLINE -- It was a rainy, lightning-filled Friday, and for safety reasons, the high school football game had come to a halt.

Enter the smallish female with the booming voice, a natural who first entertained family members at age 2. Within seconds, the rain-soaked crowd emerged from the shelter, standing in the downpour to see and hear what was going on.

Like she usually does when she takes any kind of stage, Nicole Caras-Green stole the show.

"I remember that night,'' said Ms. Caras-Green, 24. "I sang Gretchen Wilson's 'Redneck Woman.' Todd Rosenthal, the athletic director at Moline High School, has always been one of my biggest fans. He came up to me and told me to go 'Wow 'em,' that something different might keep the fans around. It was pretty unusual, but it was fun. It's always fun.''

Ms. Caras-Green dreams of making it big in the music industry. She is the lead vocalist with the band Caught in the Act and hits the stage a minimum of two nights per week, performing three-hour sets at places such as the Captain's Table in Moline, the Rusty Nail and 11th Street Precinct, both in Davenport. She is also a mother of a three-month old son, Jackson Miles, yet has found the time -- thanks to her husband, Tyler, and a great support system -- to return to performing.

"I'm so lucky to be with an experienced band, a bunch of great guys who have been there at every turn," she said. "What great musicians they are and what great people they are. Jerry Freeze (guitar), Gene Taets (bass and keyboard), Lee Gnatovich (drums) and Gary Weller (sound) are the best out there. I'm so fortunate. I'd love for that big break to be an 'us' thing.''

That big break is the carrot Ms. Caras-Green has chased since hitting the local stage as a grade-schooler with her larger-than-life voice, singing rock, pop and country. In addition to performing locally and other locations around the country, she has been runner-up three times in the Quad City American Idol competition and placed in the top 30 at a Nashville American Idol.

"What I believe people like is that I am having fun,'' Ms. Caras-Green said. "I love to sing, love to perform. I hope that's what I bring to the stage. I think it shows that it's great fun for me.''

As she chases her dream, she scouts leads, plays shows every weekend and shares CDs and videos with anyone who might have a musical "in.'' Helping her along the way, Ms. Caras-Green said, is the world's largest and best support system.

"My parents never miss a show,'' she said. "My husband is so supportive of what I'm trying to do. So is his family. I have a big, loving family with lots of friends who all know how much I love singing and performing. In all my years, I don't think I've ever come across anyone who had as many people in their corner as me. Having Jack (her son) only motivates me to keep chasing my dream. I feel my life is just beginning along with my dreams.''

Ms. Caras-Green understands that her big break might not come, and she said she is fine with that. She will not stop entertaining, however, and will continue to hope someone loves her voice and her larger-than-life stage presence enough to give her a big-time shot.

"It's still fun,'' Ms. Caras-Green said. "Working, being a mother, being a wife, it's what we all go through.

"I happen to have something that's more than a hobby. I'd love for it to be my career, but I'm OK if it's not. ... I will always have music."

Should a window of opportunity open up for her, she said, "I'm going to crawl or jump through it and make it. If given the chance, I'll take care of the rest.''





Chasing the dream

Who: Nicole Caras-Green, lead singer in the band Caught in the Act

Quote: "I happen to have something that's more than a hobby. I'd love for it to be my career, but I'm OK if it's not."


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