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Justin Bieber's vocal coach promoting Dunwoody teen singer | Arts & Culture

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Justin Bieber's vocal coach promoting Dunwoody teen singer
Justin Bieber's vocal coach promoting Dunwoody teen singer

ATLANTA -- Dunwoody teen Caitlin Gutierrez admits she was a nervous wreck when she first stepped into the recording booth at Jan Smith Studios in Atlanta.

"I was like, 'Oh, my gosh. I'm standing in the same place that Justin Bieber was standing in.' I'm a major fan," Caitlin told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie.

Jan Smith has shaped the voices of Justin Bieber, Usher and Rob Thomas, who all refer to her as Mama Jan.

She began working with Caitlin two years ago, first as a vocal coach, then a producer.

"The first time I heard her sing, I knew there was some refinement that needed to occur, but that she was naturally gifted and had the heart of an artist," Mama Jan said. "Being able to participate in honing that and watching her grow into that and be able to use that fruit to bless other people is really an honor and privilege."

Caitlin and her family moved from South Georgia to the Atlanta area to work with Mama Jan.

A sophomore at Dunwoody High School, Caitlin began singing when she was 10 and writing songs when she was 12.

She earned two Georgia Music Award nominations earlier this year for the song and music video "Country Air."

"I've just been so into it and so excited," Caitlin said. "It's hard work, but it really pays off."

She is on her way after becoming the first artist selected for development by the Bridge Music Foundation, a nonprofit co-founded by Mama Jan.

They're working on her first extended play recording, due out by the end of the year.

"That's how much I believe I her," said Mama Jan. "It's from the inside out that she shines."

"I can't wait to see what happens and where we go and how much stuff I learn," Caitlin said. "I'm really excited about that."

Caitlin is scheduled to perform at Eddie's Attic in Decatur at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 27.