First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who has written asking for advice about your auditions for season 2 of The Voice. I've tried to write back to all of you, and I'm flattered that you would seek my advice. One questions I've gotten a lot is "What should I sing?" That's a great question. I don't really know the answer...in fact, I don't even have any idea what your audition will be like. From all the contestants I met while filming Season 1 of The Voice, I have heard very different stories of how their auditions went -- some auditioned in person, some online, some sang full songs, some were only allowed snippets, some sang to a track, others accompanied themselves or went a capella. Some auditions ran long, some were very short... And that was just for season 1 when most of America was not aware that auditions were even happening and, therefore, the turnout was probably a fraction of what the casting team will see this go-round.
So I can't tell you what to sing at your audition. What I can tell you, for sure, is that you should sing something you believe in, something that you enjoy singing and that you believe showcases your talent and creativity in a way that you are committed to. You have to remember that the audition process is NOT a talent competition -- it is a casting process. They are looking to cast a group of singers with various stories, personalities and modes of creative expression. I've come to believe that, at the audition, they are looking for talent, story and personality in almost equal proportion. I certainly haven't heard this directly from anyone involved in the show, it's just my observation/opinion.
I think the most important thing to know is that, when you get into the audition room, you absolutely have to be yourself. I don't mean this in a 'good-luck-at-the-cheerleading-competition-sweetie-just-be-yourself' kind of way. This is cold, hard business advice.First of all, you are the ONLY person in the world who can be you. Secondly, if you do make it through the auditions, you will be cast as the person they see in the audition. If you try to mold yourself into what you think, rather than who you actually are, then you could be stuck playing that person for the whole season! Thirdly, if you don't make it through the audition (which, sorry to say, is more numerically probable than not) wouldn't you rather come out feeling like you were true to yourself, rather than that you tried to be something you're not and were rejected for it? I would.
Oh wait! One more thought -- when you get to the audition, know that it starts as soon as you get to the parking lot. It's my personal belief that being kind to strangers is a great way to improve the quality of your own life (if you emit kindness and love at all possible moments, then you just get to be surrounded by kindness and love all the time and you can't go wrong there :-) but, again, from a business perspective it's pretty simple: every single person there could be important to your future on the show. Every random person you meet could be involved in the show either at some level of the production, or as a future contestant. The crew taking your information when you get to the audition are in very close contact with the casting team inside the audition room and will, most like, be involved in the show if/when you get to LA...You just can't go wrong being very nice to everyone you interact with. Trust me.
Be prepared to wait! Bring a book! And a sandwich! And water! And sunblock! Earplugs! There will be complainers all around you -- DON'T BE SUCKED IN to their nervous/frustrated energy. Follow the day where it leads you, keep your heart light, and walk into the room to show some open minded, friendly people who you are and what you do. It can be helpful to bring a friend to wait with you, if you know someone who doesn't mind waiting in line for a long time and can help you stay relaxed and laugh off the hassles of the day that you will undoubtedly face (like long lines, confusing instructions, waiting for the judges lunch break to end, filling out paperwork, etc). This is probably obvious, but don't bring anyone who will make you more nervous or will get frustrated by a long wait, I think it's better to go alone than to feel responsible for someone else's mood.
Lastly, GOOD LUCK! Let me know how it goes :-)
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ps: in case you’re wondering what I mean about “story,” check out the artist pages of the 32 contestants of "The Voice," here on NBC.com. Next to each singer is a description that is a few sentences long; that is the contestant’s “story.” A lot of this content was developed from the answers we gave on our application paperwork on audition day, so give some serious that to what is interesting/unique about your background while you’re filling that stuff out. Just a thought :-)