“So what was it like being on The Voice?”
Um. First of all, what kind of question is this anyways? Do you REALLY want to know? Because the REAL answer isn’t simple. It’s not all that pretty.
In the beginning, I would give a flowery answer...because that’s what people wanted to hear right? I’d use words like “great”, “fun”, “exciting”, “super”. And everyone seemed pleased. But I was so frustrated because...well. I wasn’t being honest with them. Or myself.
Okay. I’m a very positive person. In fact, I won’t stand for negativity in general because there’s almost always a way to find something positive about a particular situation. And my experience on The Voice is not completely void of positivity. In fact, there was quite a bit of good to come from it. However. It took a while for this positivity to become evident. Truth is. It was horrible. I mean. I needed it. But it was horrible. The whole experience forced me to face some extremely harsh realities. Like. It turned out that I had no clue who I was. But how could that be? In college I was sure of who I was! Yet once I stepped outside of that bubble, everything got real murky, real fast. What kind of music did I want to be making? What type of lifestyle did I want to represent? What were my priorities? WHAT DID I ACTUALLY WANT OUT OF MY LIFE?
So now you can understand why that original question at the top of this post really bugged me. Because thinking about that initial plunge into my long and treacherous journey of self-discovery makes me cringe. It was a dark time. Not one that I like to revisit. At least not all the details.
My initial audition for The Voice Season 4 was in August of 2012. Executive callbacks and the subsequent blind auditions were over the course of 6 weeks in September and October. We were there the entire 6 weeks. Then back again in January 2013 for a week and a half of some reality shooting. Then end of February for rehearsal, Battle rounds, Knockout rounds, etc. I was there for about 3 weeks. The show aired end of March 2013 and ended May or June. So we’re talking...almost an entire year dedicated to this insanity. Of keeping my teaching schedule and other projects light and flexible in case I would make it to the next round...or new opportunities would arise from the exposure. My whole life was about The Voice for much of 2012 and 2013. All of this TIME, effort, energy. Rehearsing like a crazy person. An hour PLUS of vocal routines daily. Voice lessons, working out like a banshee, interviews, filming, living in a hotel.
The show released a couple video promos for Season 4 in February 2013...and my face was ALL OVER IT. People were freaking out, my social medias were exploding and it was really exciting! A lot of me was probably thinking “This is it, this it my time,” even though so much of me was all too aware of reality TV and its pitfalls. I knew to not set my expectations too high. But I think seeing my face all over the promos totally fed my ego. And built up my expectations. So I became really vulnerable to this whole process without even knowing it.
I remember arriving for executive callbacks and immediately getting to know the other artists. Everyone had their look, their sound, their guitars, they were confidently and collaboratively jamming constantly in the hotel courtyard. I felt immediately intimidated by their confidence and spontaneity and talent. So much UNIQUE talent surrounded me. Artists that seems to know who they were and what they wanted. My self-confidence plunged. Something I had never really experienced before. I don’t know if it was the comparison aspect, being out on my own as a solo artist, or a projection of other personal and spiritual struggles I was experiencing. Now that I think about it, I felt out of place. I felt the opposite of grounded. Like I was faking my way through it. Faking confidence, faking happiness, faking certainty. But instead of just letting go and trying to enjoy any aspect of the experience, I put so much pressure on myself. To determine who I was as an artist, stick to it, be PERFECT in my performances. I let my blind audition, battle round and knockout round performances consume me...I seemed to view them like they were the most important performances of my life. Like they would make or break me. So alas, I had been completely sucked into the game. I continued to read into every song choice, producer’s comment, everything. Probably in a desperate effort to stay convinced that “this is it, this is my time”.
My blind audition did NOT go according to plan. I had not planned for a seat to turn quickly...I figured it would happen at or around the key change if it happened at all. Adam turned around about 4 bars in. And I lost it. Like. I kinda bombed the rest of the song. And it haunted me for months.
When we came back for battle rounds (about 3 months after Blinds), Team Adam all met together one night for us all to watch each other’s uncut blind auditions. I knew deep down I was a weak link on this team. And I WAS TERRIFIED. All I could remember was how I had lost control of that performance. Not going to lie. I had to take a couple of xanax that night. I was so scared of these talented artists seeing me bomb. So scared of what they would think, the conclusions they would draw about me. Like. So inconceivably anxious that my body was shaking uncontrollably. Insane.
[Um okay...pause for a second. I mean. WHO WAS I. The real Amy would never have placed so much weight on these 3 performances. She wouldn’t be so consumed by impressing people. Because the real Amy knows who she is and what she is capable of.]
That night was the only time I saw that performance all the way through. I don’t think it was as bad as I thought it was going to be. But I don’t remember much. Only saw it once. Never saw my full Battle Round performance. And nobody in the world ever saw either. Only about 8 seconds of each. I had fallen victim to the dreaded DOUBLE MONTAGE.
All this time, this work, this emotional torture to wind up with practically no exposure as a solo artist. When my blind audition aired as a part of a montage, I was okay with it. Or I at least convinced myself that it was okay. But I knew that wasn’t a good sign. By the time my battle round aired, I had already filmed the round past that and been sent home. I remember it finally “airing” and just being clumped in with a bunch of other battles. And I was devastated. No one from the show gives you any kind of heads up. So I was pressing everyone on social media and beyond to watch the show…and then I was montaged. Again. It seriously hurt. It cut deep. I felt like I had been hit by a truck, then ran over by at least 18 other cars following until my body and soul were so severely mangled, I was past the point of identifiable by anyone, including myself.
In denial of my own identity crisis and horrified by the thought of actually confessing how wounded I was, I went on a little tour that summer with Midas Whale and Ryan Innes. Everything was SO forced. I remember some of the performances just feeling completely numb, simply going through the motions, feeling little to no enjoyment whatsoever. I felt so disconnected from everything. I mean, this was my dream right? To be a solo artist, right? But nothing was falling into place. It was like this constant battle…doing it all because I was “supposed” to.
Finally, I admitted to feeling burnt out. And I was. Burnt to a freaking crisp. But it was even more than that. My ego wanted me to fulfill these dreams I had had for myself, meet the expectations others had for me in chasing those dreams…but I was empty, unfulfilled, feeling like I was in a constant battle. And it was because I was giving no regard to whatsoever to my heart.
I almost quit music completely. I started researching MBA programs looking for a complete career path shift. My sweet parents were so confused, supportive nonetheless, but so confused.
Fortunately, I had reluctantly agreed to be a part of Midas Whale’s rock opera that they wouldn’t shut up about when we were on The Voice. They had recruited me for it before I could say no and In October of 2013 we began rehearsals. I was frustrated that I had even agreed to this as I still felt severely burnt out…I almost felt not human anymore. Like I was just a thing filling up space with no direction, no passion, just nothing left.
Then magically (and divinely…I consider this one of the greatest blessings in my life), after our first performance, I remembered what I love to do. I remembered that I’m a singer. I remembered what it was like to have my soul set on FIRE when I sang from my heart with all this raw emotion behind it. I remembered what it was like to create something for the sake of creation and ART as opposed to for the sake of money and fame. I learned I could care less about money or fame. I learned I didn’t want to be the next Katy Perry. I learned that all I want to do is sing. I just want to sing for the rest of my life. To use this gift in any capacity that simply feels right. To try new things, new challenges. Deep Love saved me. It gave me this initial shock to jump start a total and complete self-transformation. My priorities, goals, and perspectives have been reshaped and renewed. I feel like ME again. And though I am always evolving, transforming, growing, and hopefully improving…I know what I want. And I have a pretty strong sense of who I am. And I won’t take this confidence for granted ever again.
I’m now on my 4th run with Deep Love. I’ve performed other musicals, written and completed a solo EP, co-hosted a TV show, competed in a bodybuilding show, began a nutrition certification course, and am now preparing for a tour with the new a cappella show Vocalosity. And next year I’m moving to NYC to keep growing, improving, chasing dreams…and mostly to continue discovering more about myself and the world around me.
And all of this because of The Voice. At least indirectly. Certain opportunities are meant to be taken. Even if they completely suck in the moment...they can lead to the unimaginable. I’m so grateful for an experience that led me to re-evaluating my career path and in actuality, my entire life. It was horrible in the moment. Confusing, dark, hard, emotional...yet incredibly beautiful.