Here we go again. Another case of a player refusing to listen to the coach.
It’s true. For three years Hamilton girls basketball coach Jeff Kain has repeatedly asked senior forward Chelcee Pullam to sing the national anthem before a game.
She could do it, and do it quite well. Pullam sings, raps, writes and records when the 5-foot-8 double-double machine isn’t putting in 11 points per game. Or setting single-game school records (19 rebounds, 11 steals and seven blocks).
She grew up around music because her father, Arthur “Chico” Pullam, has been a performer and producer for years. Chelcee followed dad around then and now.
Chelcee doesn’t want to, and it has nothing to do with respect, the country or the anthem.
“It’s like I’m a totally different person on stage,” she said of her calm demeanor versus energetic on-stage persona. “I think I blank out at times, I don’t know how I finish (performances) sometimes. When I get on stage I know I’ll be able to control the crowd and have fun with them, but the national anthem, I won’t be able to have that same energy and I’ll be worried about basketball.”
It’s an interesting quirk. She’s kind of shy about talking about this passion of hers, one that has already landed her a couple of nice gigs she hopes will lead to many, many more in future years.
“I write about life and down times I’ve had. My messages are really positive,” she said. “There’s so much negativity in entertainment and music. I’d like it to change and it has to start somewhere. They learn from what they see on TV and hear, so a cool song with positive words, they won’t even realize they’re singing about this stuff.”
A YouTube search of Pullam reveals video of a song she wrote and performed for Miss Arizona when she left for the Miss America pageant, a song on the importance of kids getting an education. Miss Arizona saw Pullam sing at an Adopt-a-Family event Hamilton’s basketball team and asked her on the spot.
But YouTube didn’t reveal her trip to Chicago to perform another of her songs about the dangers of drug use. Or any of the 40 other songs she’s written (a few of which she’s recorded in her father’s studio in the backyard but hasn’t finished). Or the songs she writes and sings/raps for elementary school kids. Or public service announcements. Her freshman year, she wrote and rapped the Huskies introduction song when the team hit the floor before games. It’s still on the team’s website (http://hamiltonladyhuskies.com).
The plan is for those tunes to show up en masse.
She’s played piano, guitar, drums and trombone. The writing started at age 8, but her first finished product came at 13: “Hey Little One” is about kids of soldiers who feel left behind while parents are at war overseas.
All of this comes with aspirations of winning the 5A Division I state championship, playing college ball while delving deeper into music. “I’d love to have a big concert in a big place, knowing that everyone would be there because of me and what I’ve created.”
Hampton University (Virginia), Colgate and San Diego State are on her college list, so the big conundrum was proposed: Her choice between winning a college basketball national championship or a Grammy.
“That’s a good one,” she said before a long pause. “I think a national championship because I know later in life I could win a Grammy.”