Dakota Striplin has been in just about every possible singing spoltlight, including a current lead role in a popular musical soon to open in the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Next year he will exit the stage, and at his own expense, spend two years teaching people about the Church and giving community service.
Although his talents as a singer, composer and actor have put Dakota centre stage since he was fourteen, he is anxious to make the sacrifice required to take leave of his starlit career and, as he says, "use music to spread the gospel and let others know my standards and beliefs".
Already walking that talk, and along with the demanding preparation for the musical, he is rehearsing as a lead in "An Acoustic Nashville Tribute to Joseph Smith," produced by the Brisbane Stake of the Church (a stake is similar to a diocese.)
With his YouTube videos, "I Wanna be a Missionary", "Mormon Dream", and "How Can I Be (Like the Saviour)", Dakota seeks to inspire young people around the world to uphold moral standards and set their own course for missionary service.
"I started singing because of the Church", says Dakota. "I loved singing in Primary (the Church's Sunday School for children), and I loved what we were singing about". It appears that he still does.
Dakota says that, in addition to teaching others about Christ's gospel, he is looking forward to giving service in the communities where he will work. Missionaries do everything from mowing lawns to cleaning up rubbush, reading to the infirm and helping in disaster relief.
Rallying people to serve is another of Dakota's talents. After spearheading a concert to raise money for Brisbane flood relief, he was named the Queensland Art and Culture Young Volunteer of the Year for his contributions to the local community.
Dakota also took first place in the "2012 Brisbane Christmas Star" showcase; he wrote and performed a song about Jesus Christ for 20,000 people in the Brisbane Lord Mayor's "Carols in the City", was a semi-finalist in "Australia's Got Talent," and appeared on the TV show "The Voice."
He has cut a CD of his own compositions, has sung in Australia's FretFest, and is currently working on iTunes recordings. Immediately after the Queesnland Performing Arts Centre musical closes, Dakota will perform in the Teen-Hoot festival in Nashville, USA.