Standing before an audience and baring her soul is one of the most comfortable places for Casa Grande High School freshman Elizabeth Boaz.
Singer-songwriter Boaz, 13, said she can't imagine life without her guitar, her voice and the songs she writes.
"I wouldn't be able to express myself," without music, said Boaz after a recent performance.
Boaz had just sung and strummed three pop ballads at Sebastopol's Coffee Catz. She's been performing her own songs at the cafe's Monday open mic nights for nearly two years.
"I love to look at the audience, that's how I connect, that's what gets me through a performance," Boaz said.
Nearly every week this summer she sang for residents at Sunrise Senior Living in Petaluma.
Activity and volunteer coordinator Belvia Robbins said that the residents adore her. Boaz doesn't just sing for them, she "talks to the residents and has an interactive discussion with them," Robbins said.
"We're so impressed with her, her maturity for such a young person, she's just great," Robbins said.
Music is a family affair at the Boaz home.
Her father, Chip Boaz, teaches music at Sir Francis Drake High School and was a professional bass player with salsa and Latin jazz bands in San Francisco.