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Singing surprise sent from heaven, husband
Gainesville woman wins first runner-up after husband enters her in gospel contest
Jennifer Cagle’s husband, Scott, secretly submitted a recording of her in a singing contest. To her surprise, she discovered she won first runner-up in the Singing News Magazine and Solid Gospel Radio contest.


Jennifer Cagle’s song “The Lighthouse” was selected as first runner-up in the Singing News Magazine and Solid Gospel Radio contest. Her husband, Scott, secretly entered her into the contest. She didn't know anything about it until Scott told her she won first runner-up.

For years, Scott Cagle has been listening to his wife, Jennifer Cagle, sing in the choir and gospel music groups and wondering if other people would like her voice as much as he does.

“I urged her to try out for ‘American Idol’ or ‘The Voice,’” Scott said. “She never would. She doesn’t like contests.”

Cagle, the Hall County fire marshal, said he found his chance when a coworker told him about a gospel singing contest by Singing News Magazine and Solid Gospel Radio Network. All he needed to enter his wife was a few of her best songs, the lyrics and fill out a form. He didn’t mention the contest to her.

“After I did that, I thought she’ll never know about it and if she doesn’t win and doesn’t get noticed, again she’ll never know about it,” Scott said.

After a few weeks, Scott received an email letting him know Jennifer’s song “The Lighthouse” was selected as first runner-up in the contest. He forwarded the email to Jennifer, who was vacationing with her parents and sister, and called her to hear her reaction.

“When he called me, I could tell I was on speaker phone, so I knew something was up,” Jennifer said, smiling. “But he called me and I said ‘This is a scam. Don’t send them any money.’ I just assumed he was on an email list. He’s dyin’ laughin’ and he’s like ‘No I entered you into a contest.’”

The couple looked at each other and started laughing at the memory of the phone call.

“She was stunned,” Scott said. “When we were talking I said ‘No, this is real. I entered you into the contest. This is the real deal. You’re not the grand prize winner, but you’re the first runner-up.’”

Of the 600 people who entered, Jennifer was one of five runners-ups. Her single will be played on radio stations across the country during a new artist showcase on the Solid Gospel Radio Network. She also will be featured in a Singing News magazine article.

Jennifer, who recently began a solo project, said she’s very excited about the opportunities the recognition could bring.

“It’s one of those things you don’t every expect for the ball to get rolling for I guess,” she said. “When things like that happen, you know it’s not anything you’re doing. You know it’s the Lord pulling those strings. It’s really neat to sit back and watch him work and see him put things together and put relationships in your path to further himself and to bring himself glory.”

Since her former gospel group, CS&K, retired in December, Jennifer’s solo project has gathered some momentum. She played her first solo concert in Bolivia in April. She’s set to begin recording a promotional CD in Nashville, Tenn., which is to be produced by her favorite childhood gospel singer, Roger Tally, in the next few months.

Jennifer said she hopes her singing career will allow her to start preforming for women’s groups and conferences in the future. She said she’s honored to have the support of her husband. The couple have been married for 14 years and were best friends in high school.

“It’s such a blessing to have someone cheering you on like he does,” Jennifer said. “I think sometimes people can see things about you that you can’t see for yourself. They tend to believe in you more than you believe in yourself. He is such a Godly example of how to serve others. I’m just blown away speechless that he took the time to promote me in such a way.”