12/17/2017 – It all starts with a dream. Wherever you are in your music career, one thing is constant for most independent artists, we start with a dream and work on making that dream a reality. This couldn’t be more true for Audra McLaughlin, a Top 6 Finalist from Season 6 of NBC’s ‘The Voice.’ Her story is one of triumph and persistence. We got the chance to sit down with Audra and hear her take on the auditioning process, being on a National TV Show, and what has resulted for her afterwards. Take a look as she takes us behind the scenes through her exciting journey.
What initially attracted you to pursue a career in music?
I started singing when I was 7 years old. I loved music so much and I always found myself singing along to the radio. I loved Mariah Carey and Martina McBride growing up and I always said I wanna do what they are doing for a living. My Mom and some family members started noticing that I could sing so they encouraged my Mom to put me in vocal lessons. My Mom signed me up for vocal lessons when I was 9 years old and that’s where I started. My singing teacher placed me in spring and fall recitals to get me used to being in front of crowds. She then encouraged me to enter local competitions and trying out for singing TV shows. I auditioned for Star Search when I was 11. I’ve tried out for American Idol, America’s Got Talent and X-Factor a few times. I even tried out of the The Voice Season 1. When I was 16, I joined my first all original rock band and we toured for about 2 years. We parted ways when I was 18 because I wanted to eventually pursue my career in country music. When I parted ways with the band I joined a local cover band to make some extra money while I was going to college and to continue to build my fan base. I was still trying to figure out how to get my foot in the door to the country music scene.
How did you end up auditioning for ‘The Voice’?
While in the cover band I was taking vocal lessons with a teacher who owned a local music school in my hometown. The voice auditions were coming to New York in 2014 and she asked me if I’d be interested in trying out. Of course I said yes! She submitted my audition tapes to the show and they called me back to come in for a private call audition. I made it through that round and then made it through to the blind auditions on to Blake Shelton’s Team. When I made it on The Voice it was a wake up call for me that this is what I wanted to spend my life doing. I quit college and promised myself that I wouldn’t have a back up plan anymore. The voice has given me so many amazing opportunities and now I am living in Nashville pursuing my career in country music with a great team around me. I am very thankful for the platform that The Voice gave me.
What was the auditioning process like?
I was very lucky that I was able to skip the cattle call audition, which is the first round of auditions. My singing teacher sent videos to the show and they called me to ask if I could come in for a private audition, which was the second round of auditions. The 3rd round was when I had to fly to LA to sing in front of 300 producers in a small room, it was very intimidating and scary to say the least. They just stare at you with no facial expression so you don’t know if they like you or not haha. The 4th round is the blind auditions but even then you aren’t guaranteed to be seen by the coaches. You spend about a month in LA preparing for the taping of the Blind Auditions. They placed all 127 of us in a room and called out the names of the people auditioning on the 1st day. It was scary because if you got picked on the 4th day the teams might be filled up by then and you don’t even get to audition. It’s kinda like winning the lottery. That’s how I see it, I won the lottery.
After going through this process, what’s your best auditioning advice?
I always tell people to just be yourself , show lots of personality because you have to remember it’s a TV show so you have to show them why you stand out amongst the rest of the people trying out. Know who you are as an artist before going into the audition room, pick the right songs that showcase your voice (that’s extremely important). Always come prepared with at least 4-5 songs in your repertoire. You can never be too prepared. Rest your voice the night before. Don’t speak or sing. Get lots of rest and drink tons of water to keep your voice ready to go because you will be waiting in line for 10-15 hours. I tried out for season 1 of The Voice and waited in like for 16 hours in the freezing cold. I didn’t make it, but I learned my lesson not to talk the entire time I’m in line because your voice will be tired by the time you get in the audition room. And most importantly have fun! 🙂 It’s not the end of the world if you don’t make it through an audition it doesn’t mean your singing career is over. Keep trying and don’t let NO keep you from pursuing your career because eventually you’ll get a YES.It’s not the end of the world if you don’t make it through an audition it doesn’t mean your singing career is over. @AudraLynn21 Click To Tweet Keep trying and don’t let NO keep you from pursuing your career because eventually you’ll get a YES. @AudraLynn21 Click To Tweet
What was a typical day like filming on the set?
It was very long days. Starting at 6am normally for makeup and hair and then a few interviews and lots of sitting around waiting for hours. Wardrobe , choreography lessons, stage rehearsals, vocal lessons, rehearsing. It’s a crash course of the music buisness and it teaches you what everyday life is in the music industry.
Did the producers offer you any resources or tools to be successful on the show?
The producers were very nice people. They just encouraged us to have fun & be ourselves. They told us to keep up with our social media and interact with our fans. We did discuss song choices with them and our coach. They would give us their advice on what they think would be a good song for that particular week.
In your bio, you mention that you got all 4 judges to turn their chairs to see you. Way to go!!! Does that mean you had to choose which judge you wanted to work with? If so, what made you ultimately choose Blake Shelton?
Thank you so much. Yes you get to choose the coach if all 4 turn around. I chose Blake because I knew he would be the best mentor as far as pursuing a career in country music. He taught me a lot about country music and ultimately helped me discover what kind of record I wanted to make after leaving the show.
What was it like working with Blake Shelton?
It was like a dream come true for sure. He was hilarious and such a nice person. He really believed in my talent and made me realize that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. He picked all the right songs for me and really invested in me as an artist. He’s a great person.
In what ways did being on ‘The Voice’ impact your career?
The voice gave me an amazing platform to spring board off of. Before The Voice I had no idea what to do with my career. I didn’t have a manager or any mentor. I was sorta lost. I wanted so badly to pursue a career in country music but I didn’t know how to get started on a professional level. The Voice gave me that shot. I was able to gain an amazing fan base, they are the most loyal fans and they have stuck by me ever since. I was able to tour, sing at national sporting events and eventually I met my amazing manager and great team. I’m currently living in Nashville pursuing my career full time on a national level.
Now that you’ve achieved this great step, what goals are you working on achieving next?
I am working on creating a great album at the moment. I am really investing in putting out great music that my fans love. Another goal we are working on is finding a great booking agent to book me on a big tour. Things take time and I am taking it one day at a time. I’m writing at the moment and focusing on being creative.
What advice would you give to an artist who wants to be on a competition show?
Be yourself, show confidence, show personality, pick the right songs and know what style of music you want to sing. Have fun, smile and enjoy the moment. Remember if you don’t make it the first time it’s not the end of the world. Keep trying and Don’t Give Up. I’ve tried out for over 10 of 12 different competitions and eventually I got that YES. So don’t stop after NO, keep going :).
If you had to do it all over again, would you do it? What things would you do differently?
Yes! I would do it all over again. I don’t think I would do anything differently besides maybe pick a more upbeat song the week I was eliminated, I think the fans were looking for me to change things up a bit and we stayed with ballads. I don’t regret a single thing. I loved every moment and appreciate all that The Voice did for my career.
How can we see your episodes?
You won’t be able to see all of them but there are a few up on YouTube. After a few years, due to licensing, The Voice has to remove them. You can still find all The Voice recordings on YouTube and Spotify.
What projects are you currently working on?
Currently, I am working on my EP and eventually an Album later down the road. We have already released 2 singles that are on Spotify, Apple Music , iTunes and anywhere you stream or purchase music. We are still in the writing and recording process. At the moment we are only releasing singles.
How can we connect with you and keep up with what you’re doing?
You can find me on:
(You can also sign up for my emailing list on my website to get the all the info on upcoming shows and such.)
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I just want to thank all of my amazing fans for their love and support through the years. I wouldn’t be able to pursue my career and make music without my fans. I really love my fans.
It was such a pleasure working with Audra for this interview and we appreciate you for taking the time to share with TheCraftyMusician Community! We’re sending good wishes your way and looking forward to your new EP and Album!
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