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Aledo’s Gartner at home with music and selling homes


Cate Gartner recently embarked upon what could become a long and successful career in real estate.

But just over six months ago, it looked as though her life would take a much different path — a path to which she may eventually return one day.

The Aledo resident auditioned for American Idol in October and was one of 143 contestants from across the country to receive a coveted golden ticket, a passport to Hollywood where she could potentially achieve musical stardom.

“I actually was asked by a casting producer to audition through Instagram DM's, (direct messages)” Gartner said. “She had found my TikTok [video].”

With nerves on edge and baby in tow, Gartner performed her original song “The Place That I Call Home” as a veritable Who's Who of popular and country music stars listened on and eventually judged.

When Gartner finished, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie were all in agreement.

“Receiving a unanimous 'yes' was such a crazy feeling,” Gartner said. “I was so excited and in shock I didn’t even realize it was happening.”

Made more special

It was perhaps even more special for Gartner because she became pregnant with her son, Cooper, at the age of 17, and her lift could have turned out much differently.

The song Gartner sang reflects some of the difficulties and uncertainties the Aledo teen has faced as she navigates here way through motherhood.

But Gartner said, in spite of the challenges she has faced in her personal life, the only way people would know what she was up against is by actually listening to her song, not by the contest itself.

“I think being a teen mom came with its own struggles, but to be honest, I don't think it made competition with the other contestants any harder,” Gartner said. “We all had our different stories. Mine just happened to be told in the song I auditioned with.”

Gartner, 19, added that if it were not for the birth of Cooper, she likely would have never auditioned in the first place.

“What’s funny is, the song the casting producer found on my TikTok was a recording of my song 'The Place That I Call Home,” and that ended up being the song I auditioned with for the judges,” Gartner said. “So had I not had my son and written that song, I truly believe I wouldn’t have even been on American Idol.”

Moving forward

The Aledo mother is continuing to play guitar, sing and write songs and takes every opportunity that comes her way when it comes to her musical career.

And she could not be happier with the place she calls home.

“It has been great to have so many people from Aledo and the surrounding areas support me and say hi to me when they see me out,” Gartner said. “I have the best hometown, and it was an honor to get to represent Aledo.”

Gartner just started working as a realtor at Charitable Realty, and said, while she is still digesting all that has happened to her over the last half of a year, a career in music is still something she would like to pursue.

“It was so surreal to have Katy, Luke and Lionel not only like my song, but all three give me a yes to go to Hollywood,” Gartner said. “It was even crazier seeing them interact with my son Cooper. I'd love to get to continue to sing and write songs and have people understand and relate to them. So I’ll go as far as this career will take me.”


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