She has appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone. She has performed on Saturday Night Live. But she has been honored for what her great-great grandparents did.
Amy Heidemann, half of the pop music duo Karmin, has been honored by the Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice with a legacy banner.
Heidemann is a fourth generation descendent of homesteaders.
Her great-great grandparents, John and Ellen Chirnside, filed a homesteading claim in Jefferson County in 1869 and received their completion certificate in 1876. Their first home was a dugout, then a frame house, where they raised a family of four.
“This is a huge honor, because I’m so proud to be from a place where you can see the sunset from miles and miles away. You can see the stars any night of the week, clearly in the sky,” Heidemann tells those attending the legacy unveiling ceremony. “And to think that my history goes back to the 1800s. It’s amazing to know where you come from.”
Heidemann, now 27 and living in Los Angeles, says she didn’t realize the benefits of growing up in Seward at the time.
“I remember growing up and thinking, ‘Man, if I could just see a big city.’ It was kind of my dream to go to a big city, which I eventually got to do. I got to go to Boston for college,” Heidemanns says. “But now I’m realizing how much of a blessing it was to have grown up with beautiful sunsets and quiet and safe and nature, because I don’t get much of that anymore and I was able to harvest a lot of my creativity in that environment.”
Karmin received its big break when the video of “Brokenhearted” became a hit on YouTube.
Heidemann graduated from Seward High School, where she participated in the Seward High Singers.
Heidemann’s singing partner, Nick Noonan, also attended the events at the Homestead Monument’s education center. She was accompanied to the Homestead ceremonies by her father, Mark, and her sister, Megan.
Karmin became a YouTube sensation. It is preparing a new album and plans to begin its “Pulses” tour in January.
The Legacy Banner project allows the Homestead Monument to honor notable descendants of homesteaders. Officials say the project personalizes the homestead story the monument hopes to tell.
Doug Kennedy, KWBE, contributed to this story.