By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Perhaps you have heard that Shinnston, WV was represented this year during auditions for The Voice, NBC’s reality singing competition that has been a three- time Emmy Award winner. Twenty-five year old Chelsea Boyles of Shinnston was a competitor for this season’s show!
Chelsea, a Lincoln High School graduate who also earned a business degree from FSU, has been singing since she was three years old and has always aspired to be a performer. She decided that now was the time to give it a shot!
She first went to ‘open call’ auditions in New York. “I wasn’t selected there, but I decided to give it another try when they held auditions in Philadelphia,” she said.
Lines were long there as well! She said she planned to sing “One and Only” by Adele; however, she changed her mind at the very last minute because everyone in her group seemed to be singing titles by Adele.
“I wanted to do something a little different than everyone else so that my audition would stand out, so literally at the very last minute, I changed my selection to “Brown Eyes Blue” by Crystal Gayle,” she explained. “Since these open calls were done a cappella, I could change my choice of songs without causing any problems with musical accompaniment. I was the only one in my group to make it through!”
Later, Chelsea was called to return to Philadelphia for a second audition. She prepared three songs for the panel, but this time she had to wait for a phone call to see if she’d made it through. Waiting for that phone call was the tough part, she said. But the call finally came and it was again a positive one – this time inviting her to the “blind auditions” in Los Angeles where she would perform in front of the four coaches as they formed their team of artists for this year’s show!
“I sang “My Church” by Maren Morris because I thought it exhibited who I was as an artist. Unfortunately, no chairs turned for me in LA, though,” Chelsea continued. “There may have been several reasons for that. They call you randomly, and by the time I was called to the stage, there were just two spots left to be filled and the coaches were looking for particular voices. Also, I don’t think I gave my best performance. Nerves really got to me knowing that I was performing for four very well-known talents. Add to that the fact that although I have performed in front of large groups, I had never sung for people of this caliber with their backs turned, knowing that so much hinged on my performance.”
BUT, she has a very good attitude about the whole encounter, saying that it was a once-in-a-lifetime happening and a great learning experience.
“”I was more or less a resident of LA for the majority of the summer, preparing for the blinds. I was away from home for the first time in my life, and I focused only on my singing. I learned a lot and made a ton of friends. I experienced all the stage preparations as well – the hair, makeup and wardrobe – and it was all a fun and kind of crazy look at what stardom is like. My parents got to join me for a while, but they had to stay in a different hotel, and after filming they had to leave, so I didn’t get to spend much visitation time with them,” she added.
Chelsea noted that all four of the judges recognized her nerves but gave her great feedback – including encouragement to continue down this path and to come back and try again.
When asked if she had been chosen, whose chair would she most like to have seen turn, Chelsea said it was a toss-up between Blake Shelton and Miley Cyrus.
“This experience truly helped me to grow,” she said. “I am so glad I tried it, and I absolutely would do it again – 100%! I feel that I have done all I can do living here, so I am going to strike out on my own. In about a month, I will be moving to Nashville. In fact, the girl I will be sharing an apartment with there is a friend I made during the blind auditions.”
Chelsea already has a job when she gets to Nashville – a job that is flexible and will allow her to spend some time with songwriters there. She hopes to write some original music – something she hasn’t done before … and something she hopes will take her to the next level.
“After this experience in LA and seeing so many people in the music industry represented there, I feel that I need more exposure. I want to become my own artist,” she concluded. “If I can write some music of my own, that will help set me apart from singing only the songs of others. I am really looking forward to this move. Music will be my number one priority … and I could very well revisit The Voice in the future.”
Any way you look at it, Chelsea’s talent was recognized and appreciated. Going back to all the open calls, an estimated 40,000+ people tried out for The Voice. Contestants continued to be eliminated throughout the process, and to have been among the 100 or so who were chosen to participate in the blind auditions for this year’s season spells a great success – NOT a failure! Chelsea recognizes that and is confident that nerves won’t hold her back again.