“I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be."
So I finished recording my next EP, The Loneliest Dream at Charles Holloman Productions here in Charlotte, NC. Big thanks to Jason Scavone for getting us through five extremely long days! My pal Dusty Sistar came by to snap a few pictures, and these were the least awkward ones out of the hundreds he took from 2 separate days. So enjoy!
Did I ever tell y’all about the time I auditioned for The Voice? No? Oh. Well here’s how it went down…
So as a musician that writes all my own material, works in a cube 8 hours a day strictly to support my music habit (Everything about music is expensive. Eeevverryyythinngggg.) and has played countless dives and empty rooms for no money, it was pretty easy for me to scoff at all these reality talent shows on TV. I’d say things like, “I’m an artist!” “I work for everything!” “No one hands me $100k!” “I would never!” Idols and finalists blow up and are blown out in a matter of days and I shake my head at how ridiculous and unfortunate it all seemed. But then I got this e-mail:
At first I was like “Pff. Ok. The Voice. Reverbnation page. Audition. Sure.” and kind of forgot about it for a few days. Later, when I was sending out booking e-mails I saw it again and decided there was no harm in calling this chick. She’s super nice, talks about the show a bit, and then asks if I’d be interested in auditioning and before I could really process the question, I said “Sure, are you coming to the South?” Three minutes later I hung up the phone with a 1pm Nashville audition scheduled about a month away. Staring at my phone, the horrifying thought hit me: “Oh God… TV adds 10 pounds.” I went for a run and played back the basic info the casting producer told me about the audition:
-The Voice has both public and private auditions. The public ones are those ginormous affairs where thousands of people do a lot of crying and tell dramatic stories about their childhood dreams, bullying and lots of other stuff that goes back to being an awkward 11 year old. But I guess all that makes it fun to watch. I was scheduled for a private audition- alone in a room with 2 or 3 casting producers. Awesome. Maybe.
-I should have 3 songs prepared. If 1 is an original, cool, but make sure the other 2 are covers. Rad.
The weeks pass, I have my songs ready to go (“These Boots are Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra and two others I’ve apparently blocked out of my mind because I can’t remember… What?! This was a stressful experience leave me alone!), I put in a vacation day at my job where I told NO ONE what was going on (What if I failed, you guys?? I have an insane fear of failure and don’t like follow up questions!), and I set out for Nashville, Tennessee on a Tuesday right after work. I pulled in to a friend’s house around midnight, we drank a few beers, did some karaoke, ya know the usual pre-audition-for-national-tv kind of stuff.
So Wednesday comes. The audition is held in a big music performance facility with studios that anyone can rent out for band practice and whatnot. I check in and fill out a questionnaire (“What person that you know has been your biggest inspiration?” “What trials and tribulations have you had to over come to make it this far?” “Does your family support you? If not, why?” “Has anyone you’ve known ever died?” “Is there anything else sad you’d like to tell us?” I made up those last two, but you get the idea. Def digging around for “Sob Story” type stuff.)
I turned in my paperwork (after realizing how boring my backstory is), signed some legal stuff (which probably says I’m not allowed to talk about my experience auditioning for The Voice) and take a seat to wait.
OOOOHHHHHH the waiting. If you know me well, you know that I get super nervous before playing, heart racing, dry mouth, nausea filled panic attacks, etc. Fortunately, a few characters showed up to the audition, and I was distracted from the impending doom just minutes away. (DOOOOOOOOMMMM!)
I was in a room with about a dozen other folks waiting for their audition, and it was clear pretty quick who had been through this sort of thing before. A cluster would be talking about their X-Factor, Idol, Nashville Star, America’s Got Talent auditions and how “I just saw So-And-So (who made it to the top 6 in last season’s Real Singers of Planet X) in the bathroom and GOD he was a jerk!” Weird vibes all around, everyone kinda sniffing in everyone else’s biz to see if there was anything of importance. Fortunately, no one tried to talk to me. I got nuthin’.
From behind me I hear ““HEY! JULIA! IT’S ME! KRYSTEL! FROM THE NASHVILLE STAR AUDITION!” Kristel (Krystal? Crystal?) has a huge smile on her face, her arms out, ready for an embrace and is power walking like an Olympian toward Julia (who is wearing a casting company name card and holding a very official looking clipboard). Julia says “Oh…. Hey…. you!” but her face says “SOMEONE GET THIS CRAZY BETCH AWAY FROM ME!” Kristel starts chatting like they’re old friends, Julia’s standing there looking TOTALLY creeped out… this was the strangest thing to witness. I guess being part of a pretty small sized local scene like Charlotte, you just don’t see stuff like this. I mean… no one’s that important here… Everyone else in the room found something else to look at but I was staring, wide eyed, mouth slightly open.
Then someone called my name.
After judging (harshly) everyone who had ever done an audition for a show like this, and rolling my eyes at Kristal and her other Planet X comrades, it was my turn to break off a little bit of my soul in the form of 3 songs and hand it to the producers in the audition room. I’m lead to a microphone at the front of the room (which was small and cozy, maybe 15’ x 20’) a dood plugs a quarter inch into my guitar and the extremely sweet producer tells me to introduce myself, say where I’m from and start whenever I’m ready.
Here’s where I kinda black out a bit. I’m fairly certain I got my name and city correct, I had a different song planned as my first but for some reason went with “Boots are Made for Walking” at the last second, couldn’t get noise to come out of my Mojave Desert throat, forgot words, messed up the guitar parts because my hands were shaking like crazy……. AKA I did awesome…..ly bad. I finished the song, and was ready to power through the other two, now that I was good and warmed up, when the producer says “That was great, Devon, thank you so much!” She was telling me I was done. I stare back at them for a half second too long, then fumble with the quarter inch in my guitar and power walk like a Kristel the hell out of there. Some guy in the waiting room asked how it was, I wanted to tell him to suck it, but instead, from the dry mouth, I gave a teenager-in-puberty-voice-cracked “Fine.” …UGH.
I continued Crystal-style to my car, tossed the guitar in the back seat and drove 7 hours home to Charlotte, North Carolina.
Aaaand that was it. If you’ve been watching the current season of the Voice (season 3) you will find that I did not make it. I have no hard feelings or bitterness about it at all. I’m glad I auditioned because I know I would be kicking myself with woulda-coulda-shoulda, but I feel absolutely no inclination to do anything like that ever again. (I’ll stick to my empty dive bars, thank you very much!) Everyone I talk to about it goes “You should try Idol! America’s Got Talent! That other TV show!” It’s just not for me. Some people are cut out for that kind of environment, and thrive absolutely. I am definitely not one of those people. Not in a condescending way though, I now have MAD respect for the contestants who go from playing in a cover band at the local beer joint to performing in front of Ceelo and 12 million viewers and totally keep their shit together. That focus and cool headedness is entirely beyond my comprehension and abilities. I haven’t been watching this season since I don’t have TV set up at my house, but if someone from the Nashville audition wins, let me know so I can track them down and be like “HEY! IT’S ME! DEVON! FROM THE NASHVILLE AUDITION!” as I power walk straight at them, arms outstretched for a warm embrace.
So yeah. That’s it. Questions? Comments? Post away…
RECORDING!!! STUDIOOOO!!! WOOOO! If you’re keeping up with things in my world, I’m working on my next EP, “The Loneliest Dream”. Five songs, some old, some new, all killer. Here’s the track list:
2. Nothing New
3. Like A Sigh
4. All I Ever Wanted
5. The Loneliest Dream
Anyone recognize those songs? Extra bonus points if you have any demo versions of Wasted or Like a Sigh. If you do, I’ll give you a solid hi-five the next time I see you, then ask you to get rid of them because that old stuff is embarrassing!! (eek!)
Last Sunday I spent the day at Charles Holloman Productions here in Charlotte with Dave and Tommy. This was my first experience in a pro studio, and it was amazing. In 10 hours Tommy and Dave got the drum and bass tracks down for all 5 songs and man, oh man, it sounds phenomenal already.
I’m super duper lucky to have Jason Scavone producing and engineering this one, he gave us an informal and creative atmosphere while capturing some pretty big business sounds. Check out his band The Hot Gates - http://thehotgates.com/
Enjoy the pics! Til next time!