The Voice Audition, Philly 2014

What’s up, reader?!

How are ya? Good? Good!

So I tried out for The Voice on Saturday.  Wanna know how it went? Okay, I’ll tell ya!

All joking aside, I’m not really sure how to start this blog so I figured I’d make it all customer service-y. On Saturday 1/11/14 my friend Sarah and I went to the Philadelphia Convention Center to try out for The Voice.  Now, if you’ve been paying any attention to my other social networking pages this isn’t news and you might be tired of hearing about it, but I’m still getting a lot of questions so I figured a recap is in order!

My family and friends had been bugging me to try out for The Voice for a long time now so I figured eh. Why not?! The worst that could happen is I don’t make it on and I waste a few hours of my life, and the best that could happen is I get famous and win a record contract! So definitely worth a shot. I signed up online and started looking for a song choice.  Now.. I’ve tried out for American Idol twice and never made it past the first round (except for the American Idol Experience in Hollywood Studios, FL. I made it to the finals for that!) and I wondered if it was because of my song choice.  I was also really curious about how they pick their contestants and how much like Idol their audition process was. I figured it can’t be too much different since it’s an open casting call.

I have to admit, I had never even watched The Voice before. I knew the general idea behind it and I knew who the judges were and I’m a huge fan of both Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine, but I don’t know that much about the other judges.  So I spent a lot of time on their website, reading their rules, what to expect, and any little bit of helpful information that I could find. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that they do have a twitter page that’s specifically for hopefuls to give them tips for their audition and I learned that they prefer you to sing something contemporary and to try and make it your own instead of sounding exactly like the artist that recorded it.  I wanted to do something different, something other women probably won’t be singing, so I just kinda listened to the songs that I liked on the radio and then when Demons came on by Imagine Dragons I realized I found my song!

I don’t sing as low as the lead singer of Imagine Dragons, so I HAD to change the way the song sounded, which kind of forced me to really make the song my own.  When I figured out a way to sing it, I recorded it on YouTube and sent it out to all of you for opinions, suggestions, and any constructive criticisms and I got a lot!  At first, I’ll admit, it was hard to read some of it, because as much as an artist likes to hone their craft… nobody likes to hear that they’re less than perfect.  Thankfully I’m lucky enough to have some talented and helpful creative friends who gave me great feedback that I can use not only for the audition but for all of my singing!

Here’s the final video (before the audition!)

Okay, back to the audition.
If you don’t know my friend Sarah, I have to introduce you. She’s gorgeous, she’s talented, and she’s super fun and an awesome mom. Check her out!
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sarah%20czechowski&sm=3

We were scheduled for the 2pm group of auditions. When you register on The Voice website for the open calls, they send you an Artist Audition Pass for one of two groups on one of the audition days. The 7am group and the 2pm group. We arrived around 1:30… and we may or may not have gotten lost on the way.. which is sort of ridiculous since we’re both locals, but in our defense, we were just following the GPS (which took us to the other side of town..). So we really arrived around 1:45 after parking the car and such.

People were still lined up around the block, but it wasn’t too bad. We met a young singer from Boston named Savannah and we talked about music in our hometowns and whether or not it was JUST tea in my thermos until they let us inside. Once inside, they separated us into several long lines to get ready for bag check! So it was another bit of standing around and waiting. Everyone was chatting and getting to know the other contestants and I told Sarah that I was going to try and be more social this time because I’m really actually very shy. We met another woman who is a school teacher in Harrisburg and she was trying it out, too, and we discussed whether or not either of us will feel like going out after the auditions or not.

When I tried out for Idol, they told you to show up at 5am, even if the doors don’t open until 9am, because they want crowd shots. They have hype men and people walking around with cameras trying to get people to do silly things or asking people to sing and talk about themselves. It’s a fun experience, but it’s definitely a show start to finish.  The Voice was a little different. There were no hype men, no cameras…. actually NO CAMERAS. NO CAMERAS ALLOOWEED past the bag check.  So we took a few before we got that far.

Sarah FaceTiming her daughter in line.

After bag check they move you along to another line where they take your registration papers and send you to the next holding area. It was kind of nice, actually. Yes, you wait a long time, but it wasn’t unbearable, especially when you have friends to chat with.  After handing in our registration we were seated with about fifty or so people in one section and the crew members encouraged us to get up one by one and sing our audition songs. It helped warm our voices up and helped some of us get our jitters out.  Sarah wasn’t sure at first which song to sing, but she settled on Bruno Mars – Locked out of Heaven and she sang it pretty well in her My Little Pony dress.  I got up and sang my song, too and accidentally started too high, even though I was checking my pitch every 2 seconds making myself even more nervous. I recovered well, thanks to all those hours of practice!

After that, we moved to a smaller room and did more of the same. Took a seat and everyone got up to sing their song one by one. We met another young up and comer, Willow Amoros, from New York who was super nervous but sounded amazing! I really hope he posts music online and puts himself out there some more! Then as the amount of people in the room began to dwindle, Sarah and I said a quick prayer.

Finally they led us out ten by ten and took us to the audition rooms. Where we waited in line a lil’ more. See… if I was doing this alone I probably would have been taking all this waiting time and going insane and nervous out of my mind, but I had a friend with me and I was talking to the other contestants. During the Idol auditions, people were singing everywhere. It was really loud and you basically have the run of the stadium which means I got up a lot and walked around, singing my audition song for practice while everyone else was doing the same. It was actually sort of inspiring.  But for The Voice.. Everyone was quiiieeet…  We met a psychologist who shared some relaxation techniques and we joined Willow in another prayer before they finally let us in.  I think I left my thermos on the chair outside the audition room 😦

So. One producer (or scout?) was seated at a desk in the middle of the room with our registration papers and a laptop. Five seats on either side of the room and one green line. The woman was very kind and seemed genuine enough with her introduction and well wishing, and then one by one each of us got up and sang our audition pieces. I would say 8-10 of the people nailed it. Myself and Sarah included. I remember being not so impressed with one or two of the other songs, but I can’t remember who or why, so it must not have been that bad. I hit every note I wanted to, started in the right key, felt great while I was singing, made eye contact occasionally (too much makes me feel creepy) and felt like I had a good presence… overall I was happy with my audition and almost certain that I made a good impression and that I’d hear those magical words…..
And then she very kindly advised us that none of us made it to the next round. She didn’t give any feedback or tips or any sort of reason why, they simply say “You all did very well, unfortunately I’m not going to pass anyone on to the next round. Thank you so much.” In so many words.

Earlier in the morning, Sarah had said, “God please let this be a painless day”. I’d have to say that it was pretty painless.

“And I didn’t even have to use my A-K. “

 

 

 

ninja.

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If you’re like me, you don’t like to waste things. Maybe it’s that never ending feeling of guilt that your Great Depression survivor relatives have instilled in you since you were a kid. Maybe it’s just that you know what it’s like to go without. Whatever the reason, we hold on to things. I hold on to things until they are absolutely useless and then sometimes still a little while longer. Like my shoes. They sit have holes in them… Yet! Or my jeans… They have holes in them.. You know, stylish kind. But not the pre-torn bull, I earn all of the rips in my jeans!

So my phone was stolen last week. It was a very upsetting situation. Since I don’t have Internet or a landline at home, I pretty much do all of my correspondence via cell phone. So… Things were pretty silent for a few days, which was actually kinda nice.

I was upset, though. That cell had so many pictures, so many videos, and so many half written songs (and some finished ones!) that are now gone forever…

And yes, I usually back my files up on a computer, but I had been slacking on that for about a month 😦

Anyway, I was able to contact AT&T and they bumped up my upgrade date so that I can just upgrade to a new phone! Silver lining spotted! So now I have a fancy shmancy iPhone and I plan on doing fancy shmancy things with it 😀 and if my ol Blackberry hadn’t been stolen I wouldn’t have upgraded. At least not for a few months! 🙂

Yay for new things.

Speaking of new things, I’ve made a video for this new song, I’m in a new band, and I’m thinking of starting a new food blog!

Video!

Hello Me, it’s Me Again.

Smiles are coming a bit easier. Especially when my son’s around. Even more when I’m playing music, or going to a show, with my little guy. Smiles always come easy with good music and good company.

This life continues and I’m determined to make it a good one.

Good things are on the horizon. Musical things. Stay tuned, friends!

E and me at the Connections Festival

E and me at the Connections Festival

i could really use a wish right now.

How often do you think we create our own setbacks?

I’ve always felt like life gives me a good kick in the rear frequently and consistently because… well, just because.  Life has never been easy on this side of the fence. I don’t think many people can say that it has been ever, really.  The trials and troubles we face here on earth help us. The mold us, the grow us, they teach us…. Or they hurt us. They destroy us. They keep us down.  But how much of that is really within our control?

I look at people I know whose lives are going well.. people who seem to have it good no matter what they do… and I wonder what makes them different.  Do they really have no problems at all? Do they really float over tribulations as though they’re on a cloud of inner peace and serenity, with smiles, and never a negative thought?  Are some people just lucky? Or destined to have it good? I highly doubt it, but who knows?

Everyone has their own brand of problems and how they handle them.  Maybe they do have problems. Maybe they have severe problems.  They just know how to handle them.

The title of this blog post is because I’ve been listening to that song Airplanes by B.o.B. and Hayley Williams, more specifically the version with Eminem.  I know it’s not a new song and it was played to death, but something about it just resonates with me as of late.

 

I look back at my life and where I am… the things that have helped me and the things that have hurt me… and I wonder “what if”.  If you’re not familiar with the song, here are a few lines..

 

Lets pretend Marshall Mathers never picked up a pen
Lets pretend things would have been no different
pretend he procrastinated had no motivation
pretend he just made excuses that were so paper thin they could blow away with the wind
Marshall, you’re never gonna make it. Makes no sense to play the game there ain’t no way that you’ll win….

Fuck a talent show in a gymnasium bitch, you won’t amount to shit! Quit daydreaming kid!
You need to get your cranium checked, you thinking like an alien, it just ain’t realistic!….

He’s gonna have a hard time explaining to Hailey and Laney these food stamps and this WIC shit.
cuz he never risked shit.
He hoped and he wished it, but it didn’t fall in his lap so he ain’t even here…

…Those are the lines that resonate with me the most. Because I know. Exactly. What. That. Feels. Like.

 

What I don’t know of (yet) is the feeling of overcoming those hurdles.  So I’m trying to change my perspective. Let those words, feelings, and experiences go. Stop them from haunting me and halting my future.  Maybe… Maybe I’ll just write songs about it and one day some kid will be listening to my music.. dreaming of a better life and plotting how they’ll make it happen.

 That’s the idea

What Inspires You?

It’s a question I find hard to answer. Some people have a focus on a certain person, place, or achievement, I think, and maybe that’s what inspires them. Me? It’s… more of a feeling.

When I hear a song that makes me feel good, no matter what the style of music, it inspires me. It’s that “inspired” feeling that I strive for and that I hope to relay to others.

People like to tell us things. Particularly what we should do or think or how to respond to situations. Usually what they’re trying to do is help us figure things out, but many times it doesn’t quite fit. I have a few acquaintances that tend to say the wrong things at the wrong time, or somehow just seem to fit in a few condescending phrases among a slew of compliments or idle chatter. I’m not sure if they mean well or not, but my reaction is usually first of shock, then of frustration, and then… motivation. It’s the most unhealthy motivation, I think, but I guess if it works it works.

I remember when I was a kid and other kids would tease me about the way I looked or the things I liked, I would think, “One day they’ll be sorry because I’ll be famous..” or something along those lines. My intention was for anyone who’d wronged me growing up to look back and say, “Man, I wish I hadn’t done that to her. Look at her now.”

It sounds like a cheesy after school special, but there it is.

Anyway, I’m still working on the end of that story, but that’s an example of one thing that inspires me: Proving the naysayers wrong.

Again, not the healthiest, but it is what it is.

What inspires you?

Finding Time and Making Time

I’m updating from the audience. Listening to Jess perform with a group of talented singer/songwriters on an awesome set.

It used to bug me, looking out at the crowd and seeing people messing with their phones, but I guess that’s how things are these days.. Because why should I complain as long as they’re bobbing their heads or their knees, or tapping their toes and smiling. They might be updating their FB statuses to “Listening to an awesome singer, check her out at____ ” or something fantastic like that.

So I’m ok with it as long as you show you’re listening with your body language.

So anywho. Angela Sheik is playing right now. *Killin’ it.*

But that’s not what this post is about.

I think there’s a quote by someone more important than me that says that the most precious gift you can give is your time. Its so true. And its a gift I love to give and wish I had more to. I wish I could spend days with one person at a time but not miss anything in the meantime. I treasure deep conversations, carefree adventures, and exciting nights out. I wish I could have them with all of my friends all the time, one at a time, and in groups.

I haven’t had much sleep this week, so I apologize for the random format of this post. I’ve been quite busy with all this time I’m spending.

Time spent at work.
Time spent working.
Time spent with friends.
Time spent with family.
Time spent with friends that are family and family that are friends.
Time I wish I was spending with my son but have been unable to due to it being his dad’s week.

Saturdays. I love Saturdays even though they kill me.

Four hours of training, a birthday party and a show.

I love it!

But I’m tired.

Anyway, I am going to stop blogging because I lost my point a long time ago between songs. A few last things, though:

My friends have the most beautiful children and I love them all. I want to gather them all up and take a group photo while they’re still young.

All four of these artists are amazing and I will post links for them later.

And I think I’m going to start training to fight in the ring. It feels like its about time. I just… have to make the time.

Woo!

“Look at that table full of ladybugs!”

Not real ladybugs, but musical ladybugs.

Wait, that sounds like fictional creatures.

The ladybugs I speak of are the ladies that graced multiple stages last night in Wilmington’s first ever Ladybug Festival hosted by Gable Music Ventures down on 2nd and Market St.

It was a magical night! How great it was to be able to walk down the street and hear lovely voices coming from all directions. From LOMA Coffee to Extreme Pizza, music music everywhere and by all female artists. All talented female artists. I’m absolutely humbled to count myself among their peers and so totally grateful for the opportunity to play with and listen to all of these beautiful people. I didn’t get to see/hear everyone, but I did catch Jerzy Jung, Gina Degnars, Nadjah Nicole, Angela Sheik, and Sarah Czechowski.

AND I got to wander around the festival with Sarah, Rachel Schain, and Alyssa Regan. We drank coffee. We listened to music. We ate food. Good times.

Someone approached Sarah holding a very cute baby and said, “We’re looking for a new step mom and we chose you!”
Best. Pickup. Line. Ever.

Totally doesn’t work, but absolutely hilarious. At least it is when you’re surrounded by friends who are all laughing with you about it. I imagine it would be creepy if the tone was very serious.

Anyway, it was a gorgeous night and I hope to post pictures later.

Hope everyone is doing well!

I have another performance next Friday night at Extreme Pizza on 2nd and Market and if all goes as planned I’ll have a lovely accomplice as well. And that drummer guy. He’s cool but I wouldn’t say “lovely”. ;D