Springfield native Shalyah Fearing talks about competing on 'The Voice'
Shalyah Fearing has the voice of "someone who is most definitely not 15."
That's what judge Adam Levine on "The Voice" told her during her blind audition on the popular NBC television show.
Fearing, who lived in Springfield until she was four years old, makes her home in Hudson, Florida, where she and her family moved some 11 years ago.
The girl with the big "voice" -- who occasionally makes it back to Springfield -- said she has "always wanted to audition for 'The Voice.'"
"I loved the fact that the judges don't get to see you during your blind audition on television and make their decisions based on only your voice," she said about one of the reasons she gravitated toward the NBC reality show, as opposed to "American Idol," which recently ended its long run on FOX.
"I wasn't old enough at the time to audition for 'American Idol,' but, when I turned 15 and was eligible to audition for 'The Voice,' my mom found an open call in Georgia and off we went in February last year," Fearing added.
It was her rendition of Beyonce's "Listen" at the open call that won her a slot on the television singing contest and a chance to show off her pipes to the nation.
"When I learned last August that I had made it onto the show, I was so very happy, so very excited. It was overwhelming to realize that I was chosen out of some 40,000 people who auditioned around the country," she said about the staggering number of "The Voice" wannabes.
The show's innovative format, which gave "American Idol" a run for its money, features five stages of competition: the first begins with the blind auditions, followed by the battle rounds, the knockouts, the live playoffs and, finally, the live performance shows.
For her blind audition on the television show, which began its 10th season in February, Fearing chose "What Is Love" from the popular FOX series "Empire."
"I personally love the song which I actually heard while watching 'Empire.' I thought it was a good range for my voice and a good song to sing for my blind audition," Fearing said.
So, on Feb. 29, Fearing stepped out onto "The Voice" stage in Hollywood and gave it all she had a belting out her rendition of V. Bozeman's "What Is Love."
It took just about 20 seconds, if that, for coach and judge Christina Aguilera to push the button on her chair, turning her around to see Fearing in an indication that the young singer has what it takes to become a star. Aguilera stood up proclaiming, "You're all mine....The Voice gods are shining down on my chair today."
"I didn't' even realize right away that Christina's chair had turned around because I was so into singing the song. When I finally noticed her chair, I was so excited, but quickly told myself I still had to finish my song," Fearing said.
Since that fateful first night a when Aguilera was the only judge to push her button a Fearing was traded away to judge Pharrell Williams after being defeated in a vocal battle with Tamar Davis to the tune of "Lady Marmalade, only to later be stolen from Team Pharrell by Levine. She has since received additional coaching from Patti LaBelle and Miley Cyrus.
"Miley Cyrus is very open-mined as a mentor. She knows so much about every genre of music and helped me with 'A Broken Wing' by Martina McBride. As for Patti LaBelle, I wanted to fall down and cry that at such a young age I was singing in front of her. It was so scary and nerve wracking," said Feary.
Now 16, Fearing has been singing since around the age of five. She began vocal lessons when she was 10 at Music Matters in New Port Richey. She later went on to win her first talent show at age 12 followed by being named the 2014 Teen Sensation winner at Unifest in Lauderdale Lakes.
Home schooled, Fearing now studies voice and drama at Patel Conservatory in Tampa.
One of eight talented members in her family, she performs with her siblings in their band called Fearing Star.
By Keith O'Connor
Special to The Republican