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The Dart: Local woman juggles being a singer and a beautician

Elizabeth Vaughn sings in her house on Miller Street in Vidalia. Vaughn is from a family filled with musical talent. Vaughn sings in her church and learned to play the piano by ear without formal lessons. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — Elizabeth Vaughn is a beautician. She has been for years.

But those who know her know that on the inside, she’s a singer.

When The Dart found her on Miller Street in Vidalia Friday, she was at her late mother’s house, trying out new hairstyles on herself.

And there’s a good chance that someone who peeked in on her would have heard a snatch of song.

“I sing whenever it just hits me,” she said. “I sing in the house, when I’m working in the yard, wherever I am, I am just making up songs praising God just singing. It just comes to me, and I start singing them as the words come to me.”

Elizabeth's brother, David, with her mother, Lousie Vaughn.

But while Vaughn is willing to talk about her compulsive praise habit, she’s hesitant to brag on herself.

“ I don’t know if I sing well,” she said. “People tell me I do, but I don’t know. I just have to go by what they tell me.”

Vaughn’s relationship with music goes back to the beginning. She said she believes it’s a combination of a blessing from God and genetics; her father, the late Rev. Willie Vaughn, was a singing man, and she and many of her brothers and sisters picked up his musical inclination.

“My father was just crazy about our singing,” she said. “I was always his backup singer in church.”

That started when Vaughn was 9 years old. She was invited to sing in a church the family had traveled to for some special services, and even though she had never sung publicly before, she took the lead and took it well.

“After that, my father came to me and said, ‘I didn’t know you can sing,’” she said.

Since then, she’s been one of the singing Vaughns.

While music has always been something Vaughn has used to express joy, it has also sustained her through sorrow.

“When my mother was dying, I was sitting in the hospital with her, and I was just sitting and praying, and finally I just started singing to her, and I saw a tear come to her eye,” Vaughn said.

Elizabeth is pictured with her mother shortly before her mother died last year.

But when she was asked to sing “Amazing Grace” at her father’s funeral, Vaughn said that was too much.

“I think I cried more than I sang at that funeral,” she said.

Since her father’s passing, Vaughn said she often sings alongside her brother, David, a Christian minister, musician and songwriter. They often perform together in churches around the area.

“My favorite place to sing is in churches,” Vaughn said. “I feel more full of life there. I feel like I am more blessed, and it makes me feel happy, especially if it makes someone else happy.”