The Voice is a singing contest in the USA where contestants sing for a panel of 4 judges. The judges are in rotating chairs facing the audience, not the contestant. As the singer performs, the judges listen to their voice (accompanied by music) and determine if they want to coach them, or have them on “their team” during the season, hopefully choosing a winning contestant. If the judge (typically an already famous singer) likes the contestants voice enough, they slap a button on their chairs, and the chair rotates with a large “I WANT YOU” light shining bright for the contestant to see. This is the judges first look at whoever is singing, the point being to choose someone based off talent, not off looks.
Yesterday I auditioned for The Voice. I failed. And it was awesome!
I went in knowing I am not a powerful enough singer for a competition like that. I know I don’t practice much, but I don’t sing to become famous (though I probably should), I sing because it feels good. I feel better, happier, or at least healed when I sing. It has always been therapy, medicine. I have always been more of a songwriter than a singer, though. And, with other recent large failures in my life, I knew I wanted to try and fail again, because why wouldn’t I? Isn’t that part of the daily hustle, trying your best even when the odds are stacked against us? Hustling, working, and taking opportunities when they arise should be the foundation to any successful humans mindset, I just wish I realized this at a younger age.
I went early with my friend, she was auditioning with the idea of making it through, which I’m sure she could have because she is a very talented singer. We stood in line for a short while outside, I saw a girl I worked with in Utah (but never spoke to, I find her intimidatingly attractive), but she wasn’t auditioning, she was just there supporting her friend. After arriving early I left to find a bathroom, which happened to be clear on the other side of the property the auditions were held (Las Vegas Convention Center) the lines began to move. I made it back in time to walk inside with my friend. Then we stood in another line for an hour. And after going through a security check, we sat for another hour.
So. Much. Waiting.
But it was exciting! I spoke to a lot of people, and there were others singing joyfully (some showing off) while others which brought guitars drew crowds of people around them, the lot singing along to whatever popular music they decided to play. It was fun! There were LOTS of people there, unsurprisingly.
After about an hour or so, the row of chairs my friend and I were sitting was called, being summoned to stand in, you guessed it, MORE lines! This is where nerves began to set in for everyone surrounding me, one person looking as if he were going to be sick, so I rubbed his back, got him talking, and tried to distract him from his shaking bones. I felt so bad for the guy! Roughly my age, obviously passionate about singing, knowing this was a great opportunity for him.
I admit, I was a bit nervous, too, even though I knew I wasn’t making it through the first round, let alone to the TV performances in front of the judges. But there I was, small bits of anxiety escaping wherever they stem from, attempting to flood my entire body. I will add that while sitting in the larger room, the Sun sent me a text, wishing me luck, and that was kind of awful… I love her, I miss her, but it gave me such anxiety that I decided to walk it off, and journeyed the (seemingly forever trip) to the bathrooms in the room we had been sitting in for that fun hour. I pressed on, though, knowing she wants the best for me. So I didn’t let it get under my skin.
Anyways, we sat for about 25 minutes outside of our audition room, 10 contestants per group (my friend was split into another group) each of us silently recalling the lyrics, melodies, why we were there, giving ourselves internal pep talks, trying to not let the nerves show. I, unlike most people there, was all smiles. I was there to TRY and to FAIL, and I was confident in myself because of this. I know I’m not what this massive TV series is looking for, but I didn’t care. I was there for ME. To prove to myself that I can do this! That I am alive! That I will take opportunities, chances, even when I know I won’t succeed!
And boy did I not succeed! My small group of 10 (including 3 parents accompanying their underage children who were auditioning) were escorted into a large room where there was one man sitting at a table near the back wall, papers from other contestants (I assume those he passed on to the TV auditions), and his eyes focused on this laptop as he typed words or numbers I will never know. He was a kind man, I could see it from across the room. He spoke to us:
“Thank you for coming! You are all here because you think you are The Voice. Whether it is because you have been working on this your entire life, or simply because you love to sing. Either way, you are here because you know that you deserve this. And let me tell you, you all deserve to be here. You all deserve to win.”
Words, I think, could only be composed and spoken fluently by a kind person. I respected this man, he understands the importance of hard work. I found inspiration through him.
Each contestant in the room performed their song a cappella, one man I thought had what it takes, but he forgot lyrics, causing a gap in his songs flow. I thought for sure I’d see him pass through the following rounds, landing a spot on television. He was tall, bearded, intimidating, muscular, dressed well (sort of a biker meets cowboy getup) and was pleasant to talk to, accompanied by a low, growling voice. I performed my piece, knowing I wasn’t impressing anyone, but happy to be there regardless! Unfortunately none of us made it through, I know some hopeful hearts shattered.
I walked down the flight of stairs that led outside, hoping my friend wouldn’t be there, thus meaning she was auditioning beyond the first attempt, but I heard her voice calling to me when I exited the building doors. Bummer. I was so hopeful she was going to make it through! But she was still in high spirits, not letting it effect her. I like this person, we have been friends for a week, but I feel as if she and I have been friends for years. The same with her husband, and our friend who plays bass in the band I mentioned in my previous posts. It feels good, and I’ve always been fascinated by it, to be liked and welcomed by other humans. Making friends isn’t the easiest for me, since I am typically quiet and aloof. It was nice to have her there as support, because who knows if I would have even gone?
I want to conclude that I learned so much from this experience. The first being that I can do anything I put my mind to, and that failure is always a possibility. I know that if I never try, if I never work towards something, I will fail regardless. It is a better feeling to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. “We miss 100% of the shots we don’t take” my sister quoted to me upon hearing the news I didn’t pass the audition, and I agree 100%. I learned that humans will support each other, or not support, when they are gathered for a collective goal, even if that goal becomes a contest to be better than the other. And I learned that I have support not only from my family and closest friends, but from acquaintances I’ve made throughout my life’s journey. It is incredible, I found myself moved and motivated.
We as human beings are amazing, yet most of who us have opportunities arise seldom chase our dreams. I am chasing mine by being in this band Stocksmile. I know that we have talent enough to make music our money making profession, but I also know there is a high risk for failure. So, much like my attempts to make my recently failed relationship work, and much like my attempt at becoming a winner of The Voice, I am applying myself daily, hustling, to be sure I am the best musician I can be, so even if this band fails, I will be ready to apply my enhanced and improved abilities elsewhere in the music industry. I am incredibly excited for my future, with a bit of nervousness attached.
There is always the chance of failure, but I will succeed. I know this.