Singer-songwriter Lorraine Chavana's low and sultry voice used to embarrass her as a child.
But that same voice, which cruel classmates once teased her for, is now recognized for what it truly is: beautiful.
The 44-year-old wife and mother, of Port Lavaca, has recently realized her lifelong dream of becoming a singer with the October release of her debut album, "Free to Love."
Encouraged by a father who was recognized by friends and neighbors for his exceptional voice, Chavana had a love affair with singing that began early.
"I began singing ... with my father when I was just old enough to talk and would entertain family in the afternoons, standing atop a table on our patio," she said.
As a teenager, the Port Lavaca native began to feel self-conscious about her exceptionally rich voice and turned her energies away from music.
Between her high school drill team, drama, a burgeoning acting career and then finally a family of her own, Chavana focused her energies everywhere but music.
She wouldn't try her voice again until 2012.
After accepting an invitation to perform at a Ross' Old Austin Cafe in Austin, Chavana realized she still was in love with singing.
"In the spring of 2013, before my dad's passing, he encouraged me to continue singing, to follow my heart and to pursue my dreams," she said. "I returned to Ross' and enjoy singing there every chance I get."
These days, Chavana is working to expand and practice her craft. In April 2014, she added songwriting to her list of skills. Her album, "Free to Love," takes its title from a song she wrote.
The album features guest appearances by classic country artists Tony Booth and Johnny Rodriguez.
For Chavana, recording with Rodriguez was surreal as he is the first country music artist she remembers listening to.
It may have taken her years, but these days, Chavana is exactly where she always dreamed she'd be.
"It just seemed apropos to have him be a part of my first CD," she said.