Star Tribune
Video (12:54) The "Prairie Home" favorite and WCCO talk-show host won the fair's talent contest 40 years ago with her family group the Steeles.

If the Twin Cities has a queen of all media, Jearlyn Steele could be a contender.

For two decades, she has hosted "Steele Talkin' " on Sunday nights on WCCO Radio. For the past decade, she has been an entertainment reporter on TPT's "Almanac." For the past four decades, she has recorded albums and performed on concert stages and playhouses around the world. And she's been in two movies and delivered a TEDx talk.

Steele is no stranger to the Minnesota State Fair, gracing the grandstand as a regular on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion." And her family ensemble, the Steeles, won the fair's amateur talent contest in 1980. Shortly after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody, she and the rest of the Steeles did an impromptu "Concert for Healing," livestreamed for two hours from her sister Jevetta's front yard.

As a solo artist, she tackles everything from gospel to Groban: "I get requests to sing Josh Groban's 'You Raise Me Up' at galas and graduations. I'm addicted to that song."

During the pandemic, she has been moderating panels for various colleges and organizations, including the Brookings Institute. And she is diving into a new endeavor: musician-in-residence at St. Paul's Luther Seminary, where she will be a fulltime student pursuing a master's degree in leadership and innovation in ministry, though she points out: "I'm not a minister."