Former Mississippi Songwriter of the Year Chapel Hart honored by Mississippi Legislature

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators on Wednesday honored Chapel Hart, a country music trio that sang their way to the fifth place last year on “America’s Got Talent.”

The state House and Senate presented resolutions to Danica Hart and Devynn Hart, who are sisters, and their cousin Trea Swindle. The women are from Poplarville, Mississippi, about 75 miles (121 kilometers) northeast of New Orleans.

Speaking for the group, Danica Hart told the House that Chapel Hart tries to inspire young people.

“I just continue to encourage you guys to go out and take every bit of your Mississippi-ness with you,” she said.

Chapel Hart grabbed national attention during Season 17 of “America’s Got Talent” with the original song, “You Can Have Him Jolene” — a follow-up to the Dolly Parton classic. Danica Hart said on the show that the group had been trying to break into Nashville for a couple of years.

“It’s been kind of hard when, I think, country music doesn’t always look like us,” she said, referring to Black artists in a mostly white genre.

At the Mississippi Capitol on Wednesday, Republican Rep. Jansen Owen of Poplarville said: “I think it’s safe to say that from now on, country music will always look a lot like Chapel Hart.”

After appearing before the House and Senate, the trio was joined by a guitarist and performed in the Capitol rotunda, their voices echoing through the marble hallways. When they saw three young girls dancing, the singers called the children over for a conversation and photos.

In 2020, the trio was crowned Mississippi Songwriter of the Year in Boswell Media’s annual competition.

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