The only thing brighter than Jarun "YM" Collier's vibrant red braids is the smile that seems permanently affixed to his face. Always a happy kid according to his parents, he now has even more reason to smile.
The 13-year-old was plucked out of about 17,000 kids by entertainer Nick Cannon to be part of a new group the host of "America's Got Talent" and star of "Drumline" has put together called Ncredible Crazy Kids.
It is part of his Ncredible Entertainment multimedia brand that promotes across a variety of media.
The five-member NCK was formed after an online audition process that allowed applicants to post a video of themselves on Instagram and then allowed viewers to add their comments. Cannon then picked his choices, and he chose YM, who last year was a student at Dalewood Middle School.
These days he is home-schooled because of his new busy schedule, which already has included lengthy trips to California to rehearse with his new group.
His parents, Dameka and Jimmie, are both creatives with a penchant for music and video production. YM, whom they also call "Manny," was a budding rapper who was sometimes picked on by classmates because of his music.
Then, one night in April he posted a video of himself rapping the "Fortnite" video-game theme. He got an email from Cannon that night and then a phone call inviting him to California to begin rehearsals.
"We're going to California," YM said he told his parents about the phone call.
Since April, he has made three trips to California for rehearsals, including dance lessons and recording. Because of those trips and the likelihood of many more to come, he is now home-schooled and dedicated to his new career and life.
"This is exactly what I want to do," he said. "I'm set for life. I'm good. Or I could also become a pro gamer and streamer. [This] is going to be a new year for a new me. I am so blessed. It's going to be so lit. Watch and see."
Follow on Instagram at @therealym and @ncrediblecrazykids
When told that things never happen this fast for anybody, much less a 13-year-old rapper from Chattanooga, he said, "I know. Everybody tells me that. But it did."
Dameka Collier said her son has always been charismatic and got his first performing gig from a picture on Instagram.
The four other NCK members are all from California and are veterans of the entertainment world. In addition to YM, they are Connor Finnerty, Cameron J Wright, AJ Boogie and Rahja Fuller. They range in age from 11 to 16.
Representatives for Cannon said he chose each performer for differing reasons and that the plan is to put out an album, go on tour and eventually create a television show around them.
YM is the rapper of the group. Conner is maybe the best singer, and Conner, AJ and Rahja are dancers and singers with past video credits. All are learning to dance and sing as part of the group.
Contact Barry Courter at email@example.com or 423-757-6354.