From Tennessee to Disney: How I Became a Country Bear 

Emily Ann Roberts poses with Trixie

My name is Emily Ann Roberts and I was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. I’ve been a full-time country music artist since 2015, and now I’m the voice of Trixie St. Claire for the Country Bear Musical Jamboree at Walt Disney World Resort! I always had big dreams, but I never would have imagined they’d take me straight to Grizzly Hall. 

So how did I get from Tennessee to Disney? I remember singing along in a car seat to some of my dad’s favorite artists. I didn’t realize it then, but the music he was introducing me to would shape me as an artist and songwriter years down the road.  

When I was in the sixth grade, I started playing guitar and absolutely fell in love with it. Before too long I started playing my first steady gig at our local Mexican restaurant. I got hooked on performing and would sing anywhere I could from other local restaurants to busking on the streets of downtown Knoxville to county fair competitions. 

My first trip to Walt Disney World was quite the memorable experience. Not only was I amazed by all the park had to offer, but my friends encouraged me to do the “American Idol Experience,” which used to be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They knew I loved to sing and wanted me to give it a whirl! I ended up winning that day and got my golden ticket to audition for “American Idol.” 

Although I never ended up using that golden ticket, I eventually had the opportunity to go on “The Voice” in 2015 and after placing runner-up there was no looking back. I’ve been chasing down this dream full-time since then starting with an EP in 2019 and my full-length debut album in September 2023.  

You never know what doors could open and opportunities come your way when you just keep going. My most recent adventure has brought me to the Most Magical Place On Earth. The first time I was ever at Walt Disney World I sang there and now I’m the new voice of Trixie for the Country Bear Musical Jamboree! 

Emily Ann Roberts poses in Grizzly Hall

The call for this opportunity truly came out of the blue. I was out on tour with Blake Shelton and my agent contacted my manager to let us know that Disney Imagineers had heard my voice and thought I was the perfect fit for a project they were working. When I heard it was for the Country Bear Musical Jamboree, I knew I would fit in just fine. My debut album is called “Can’t Hide Country,” and I don’t know how to be anything else but country! 

The recording process in Nashville was so fun and inspiring, it was an honor working with the great Mac McAnally who produced these tracks. He turned “Try Everything” from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia” into a total barnburner and it took me right back to my roots.

When I’ve recorded my music in the past, it’s always been with the intention of singing and performing it live. With this song, I knew I wouldn’t be the one performing it live, so I had to put myself in Trixie’s shoes and imagine this as a part of the Country Bear Musical Jamboree — it was really fun exploring that side of recording.  

I can hardly explain what it was like meeting Trixie for the first time. I felt like I was meeting a long-lost friend! When I visited Walt Disney World last month to help announce the show’s opening date, Mac McAnally (voice of Shaker), Allison Russell (voice of Teddi Barra) and I were also able to meet our bears in person — Trixie is ADORABLE!

I want a copy of her outfit for myself because it is incredible! When the Imagineers fired up the show and Trixie started singing, I had to hold back tears. This is an opportunity that I never even dreamed big enough to dream. It is such an honor to be a part of a show that has been so loved for so many years. 

I hope when folks hear Trixie’s song about trying new things, failing and trying again, that they will be encouraged to do the same. I would’ve never had the confidence to do half the things I do now if I hadn’t learned to try everything and never give up.

This song was such a special reminder to me to never limit my dreams and to always try everything…even if I could fail! July 17 can’t come soon enough!