Gone are the days where record labels were signing raw talent and placing them in music purgatory aka “artist development” to have A&R work on their music and select the right singles as well as help them to develop their style and their story through extensive media training.
These days, with music listeners preferring streams over physical CDs, labels have experienced their own recessions and restructuring; “development” has been replaced with “digital” departments as labels scour the internet for new talent who’s already done the work of producing their own music and securing their own fan base.
The innocence of simply hearing someone sing without knowing what they look like or how many followers they have is the beauty of The Voice. It’s the crockpot in a sea of microwaves.
On other shows…that shall remain nameless but have made a return after having a series finale, the first audition felt more like a casting call. While some people’s talent transcends their physical presentation, other singing competitions have felt more like a beauty pageant where the judges wanted someone aesthetically pleasing to be the “Idol” which was second to their talent.
The Voice feels more genuine and is more intriguing to watch because it has more of a storyline–beyond the contestants just singing and getting feedback, it’s exciting to watch the Grammy award winning, multi-platinum superstars fighting over new talent with such passion.
Speaking of judges, the 14th season is a winner in my book with the addition of Kelly Clarkson. She’s just so warm, endearing and full of life. She’s naturally shady and funny without having to try too hard. She stole my heart during the premiere episodes when she gave everyone on her team a bedazzled gold jersey. In my mind, I could imagine Kelly in her kitchen with a glass of wine, a snack and a hot glue gun, personally bedazzling each jersey. Kelly Clarkson is a friend in my head, if she’s reading this: hey boo, let’s do lunch!
Returning for the 14th season is Alicia Keys whose judging style is far more laid back than her peers. I wish Alicia was maybe a little more exciting to watch…maybe I’m bias because I want Usher to come back…
But to know that Alicia still works with season winner 12, Chris Blue is comforting. While she may not be as electrifying to watch, I like the soft spoken sincerity and passion she has with coaching her team. Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and the authority on all things country, Blake Shelton, also returned for Season 14.
During a press screening and lunch with Executive Producer Audrey Morrissey and season 13 winner Chloe Kohanski, I had the opportunity to ask how the series stays relevant. Having Audrey and Chloe’s insight on the series put things into perspective and made me a fan of the show. I’m rooting for Kyla Jade (from #TeamBlake) and Drew Cole (from #TeamAdam).
The major take away from my time on set of The Voice is that having a sustainable career in the entertainment industry, particularly as an artist is a marathon not a sprint and it’s better to have a slow-burning career that includes mentorship and artist development in lieu of overnight social media fame.