Some rappers go Old School. Melville’s Skylar Katz goes to grade school. And Wednesday night on “America’s Got Talent” (NBC/4, 8 p.m.), the 11-year-old rapper who wowed the judges last week is going out there to school them again.
She’d already taught her parents a lesson in chasing one’s dreams. “Unbeknownst to me, Sky submitted a video of herself” to the show’s casting people, says her mom, Frann Katz, a homemaker raising three older kids with her husband, Mike, a podiatrist. “A couple of weeks later, my husband was driving to work and got a call from a producer wanting to follow up. It took him a while to think it wasn’t a friend pulling a prank.”
From that beginning, “we went to the Queens College audition in November for the panel there,” Frann recalls, referring to the Nov. 14 tryouts where 1,600 singers, dancers, musicians, acrobats, novelty acts and others all strutted their stuff. “Once you impress them there, they invite you to come audition in L.A.,” she says.
Skylar, who’s currently at summer camp, learned to rap simply from being “a product of her environment,” her mom explains. “My husband and I grew up in Queens and never outgrew the music we listened to as teenagers, and that’s what’s playing in our house, our kitchen, our backyard — RUN-D.M.C., Biggie Smalls, Tupac.”
Frann says Skylar and her siblings, Hailey, 18, Madison, 16, and Dylan, 14, would often learn lyrics and sing along, “but she’s the one who at any event wanted to show off what she learned, and grabbed a microphone at every party, sweet 16 and bar mitzvah.” How did that go over with the other attendees? “Family, strangers, everyone says, ‘Oh, not only is she cute, but she’s good, too.’ ”
Which is basically what the “America’s Got Talent” judges unanimously said last week as the audience gave Skylar a standing ovation for her original composition, “I’m Fresh.” And as far as Frann is concerned, “as long as she enjoys it and it stays positive, we’ll stick around for the ride.”