Story by Jen Bookhout
Photos courtesy of NBCUniversal
Music was just going to be a hobby for Maize High School grad Kaleigh Glanton, but life has a way of taking unexpected turns.
That was certainly the case for The Voice contestant Glanton, as all four of the network television music competition show’s judges — Shakira, Adam Levine, Usher and Blake Shelton — turned their chairs around hoping to have her on their team for this season’s competition.
“Auditioning in front of the four coaches, who are some of the most famous musicians in the world, has really given me a lot of confidence,” Glanton said. “I was never really nervous, but it helped with the nerves I had.”
The Voice requires its contestants to compete in blind auditions where the judges listen with their backs to the singers, making their selections solely on vocal skill. The judges compile a team of singers to coach in competition against the other judges’ teams.
In her audition, Glanton wowed the coaches with her cover of Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” But after each judge made their case to Glanton, she decided on Shelton as her coach, based on the connection she felt in his eye contact.
“What Blake said to me made me feel very welcomed, and the way he was staring at me showed that he was really talking to me,” Glanton said. “With the way he fought, and the things he said, he just seemed really passionate about it, and it just felt right.”
Glanton began singing for friends at a church conference during the summer before she turned 16, with no intention of making it into anything other than a pastime. But once her father, Howard Glanton, heard her sing, he encouraged her to do more with her talent.
Howard helped find Glanton a manager to help her get some exposure locally. Her manager compiled a CD of her music and sent it to The Voice, unbeknownst to Glanton. The next thing she knew, she had the surprise of a lifetime — an audition spot on the TV show.
“Before I got the audition, I decided I didn’t want music to be a career; it was just for fun,” Glanton said. “But after the audition, I realized I had a passion for it and I needed to work towards it as a career because it’s my strongest talent.”
Glanton had performance experience from playing in local coffee shops, weddings and other gigs her father and manager helped schedule for her, but interviews and auditions were a different ball game. In the past couple months, Glanton has been back and forth between LA and home as the show has not yet reached the live performance portion, and she is learning the art of interviewing.
“It’s been a lot of auditions and interviews, which is all stuff I’d never done before,” Glanton said. “It was stressful, but not in a bad way; it’s just been overwhelming and completely amazing. I’m doing things people my age may never get to do.”
Regardless of the outcome, Glanton is putting all her effort into singing in the competition for as long as she continues to be on the show. In addition to discovering the ins and outs of the music business, she has already formed close friendships she hopes will last for a lifetime. But more than anything, Glanton is still just trying to soak it all in.
“To have this be the start of my career — it’s just the opportunity of a lifetime,” she said. “I’m just so thankful for this opportunity.”
Glanton can be seen on The Voice, airing on Monday and Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. on NBC. The live portion of the show is set to begin at the end of April.