Metro-East News

You might hear this Belleville student on the radio or see him on TV one day

Cidney Cooney is BND Student of the Week

Cidney Cooney, a sixth-grade student at Uniion Elementary School in Belleville, IL in southern Illinois near St. Louis, MO, hopes to travel to New York City to meet representatives from record labels, agents and casting directors from around the w
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Cidney Cooney, a sixth-grade student at Uniion Elementary School in Belleville, IL in southern Illinois near St. Louis, MO, hopes to travel to New York City to meet representatives from record labels, agents and casting directors from around the w

Cidney Cooney wants to become a teacher someday, but he wouldn’t mind having a record deal, too.

This summer, the 11-year-old Union Elementary School student hopes to travel to New York City to meet representatives from record labels, agents and casting directors from around the world.

Cidney said he’d like to hear himself on the radio or maybe get a role on a TV show.

He started singing when he was just 3 years old, and his mom, Danielle Snipes, said she often hears him performing around the house.

“He could be cooking noodles; it don’t matter what it is, it’s like he’s in concert all the time,” Snipes said.

Cidney says he can be pretty shy. He gets nervous before he performs but has a secret to help himself in front of crowds.

“I just don’t look at the people,” he said. “I just look at a wall so they’ll think I’m looking at them.”

He could be cooking noodles; it don’t matter what it is, it’s like he’s in concert all the time.

Danielle Snipes, Cidney Cooney’s mom, on her son’s singing

He used to play the drums and sing at his church, where his mom was the choir director, but recently started auditioning. Snipes said they found out about the first opportunity by accident.

“We were actually in the car, and they had a commercial that came across the radio,” she said.

Talent scouts from Seattle Talent were looking for aspiring actors, singers and models. So Cidney prepared to sing “Hello” by Adele and memorized the script for a commercial to perform for them.

His step-dad, Donzell Snipes, drove him to St. Louis for the audition back in June.

“I was really impressed,” Donzell Snipes said of Cidney’s performance. “I really was.”

Now, Cidney is gearing up for his opportunity to impress industry professionals at the International Modeling & Talent Association event from July 9-13 in New York.

But he says singing is just a hobby because his dream is to become a first-grade teacher.

“I’ve been wanting to do it ever since I was little,” Cidney said of teaching.

He will do great things in his life, whatever it is that he does.

Lori Taylor, Union Elementary School principal, on student Cidney Cooney

He’s had some practice working with younger students at Union School through a peer mentoring program; he helps first graders with their homework.

“Whatever they’re not doing their best on, then that’s what I would help them with,” he said.

Union School Principal Lori Taylor said the kids love Cidney.

“He has the qualities that good teachers possess,” she said.

Taylor said she’s seen first-hand that Cidney communicates well, has patience and speaks in a kind voice but makes sure the first graders do what they need to do.

“He will do great things in his life, whatever it is that he does,” Taylor said.

Q: You plan to go to New York in July. Are you nervous or are you feeling mostly excited?

A: “I’m excited, yeah. But I’m kind of nervous about the way I’m getting there because I have to ride a plane to get there.”

Q: What do you like to sing?

A: “I’ll sing pretty much anything, as long as I know it.”

Q: How long have you been auditioning?

A: “Since this summer.”

Q: What do you like about performing?

A: “I like seeing their expressions afterward, how they look and stuff like that after I’m done singing.”

Q: What do you like about acting?

A: “I like stepping out of my comfort zone, you know, being somebody else.”

Q: What would it mean to you to get picked up by an agent and start getting some work in acting and singing?

A: “That would be great. I would like that.”

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes

Meet Cidney Cooney

  • Age: 11
  • School: Sixth grader at Union School in Belleville District 118
  • College plans: None yet
  • Career plans: Teacher who might have a record deal
  • Parents: Danielle and Donzell Snipes
  • Siblings: Regann French, 18
  • Pets: None yet
  • School activities: Mentoring first graders at Union
  • Hobbies: Singing and playing video games, including “Minecraft” and “The Sims”
  • Role model: Mom
  • Favorite subject in school: Science
  • Least favorite subject: Reading
  • Favorite movies: “Pitch Perfect” and “Pitch Perfect 2”
  • Favorite food: Eggs
  • Favorite restaurant: Taco Bell
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