The Voice: #KeenerFever
The past five days have been the craziest ones of my entire life!
Thousands of new followers, over half a million views on YouTube, tons of interviews, and one brand new guitar later, I’m enjoying a much needed day off. As I’m sitting at my computer and typing this in my pajamas, I’m trying to remember WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED. A week ago, not even half as many humans knew my name. Now, people are creating fan threads and fan pages, constantly trying to contact me for press, drawing pictures of me, making GIFs of me, hanging banners over state routes (I’m lookin’ at you, Wakeman Fire Dept.!), and telling me all about how much they LOVED my audition. It’s all very overwhelming, and I’m still stunned that what I did up there received such a positive response!
I’ve been dedicated to my craft for over five years now, and this was never the path I had imagined myself taking. I really thought I’d be the grass-roots girl that purposely avoided anything commercial and anything that gained me sudden, mass exposure. I’ve always had an aversion to the “viral” culture that throws people onto the world’s stage before they can plan what they want to do up there. The ironic thing is, because I have stayed away from the “instant fame” mentality for so long, I’ve had time to really figure out who I am as a person and as an artist, so now I’m ready. I get it.
I know what I want to do up here on this stage.
Going to L.A. was a very big step in my life. Most people know that the audition process is a very long one, because there are several auditions and screening processes that an artist has to go through before they get the chance to step on that iconic stage. I really didn’t think I’d fit in out there. Yes, I am an adventurous person and I have taken a lot of risks in my life. Yes, I have lots of performance experience. But I’m still from a small, closely knit musical community, and any way you shake it, California offered some culture shock. And living in a hotel isn’t the most rejuvenating thing in the world; especially for a nature-lover like me!
Planes are fun.
Vans are fun. (The shoes and the vehicle. My Grandma gave me sparkly Vans, once.)
Rehearsals are fun.
Playing guitar is fun.
Watching “Murder, She Wrote” is fun.
Hair and makeup is fun.
Singing in front of Adam, Pharrell, Christina, and Blake is pretty cool, too. But it’s also TERRIFYING.
I was very nervous the day of my audition. A lot rides on the 90 seconds you’re holding that microphone. I meditated, prayed, and drank Throat Coat constantly to get try and calm myself down and get out of my own head. To my surprise, I felt ready when I approached the stage. I was breathing relatively normally and didn’t feel the urge to throw up anymore. That was a good sign! I took my mark, put the mic to my lips, and sang the first two lines. I closed my eyes for a few seconds as I sang them. All of a sudden, the crowd went CRAZY and I knew. “Oh my God. Someone turned.” I opened my eyes and saw Blake smiling at me. My heart was already palpitating and I somehow forgot how to breathe. “CALM DOWN, EMILY. Focus!” I did my best to recenter myself. Seconds later, all four of them had their eyes locked on me and I was about to DIE. AHHH. I still hadn’t quite remembered how to breathe, and I knew I was slipping and sliding all over the place. My voice cracked, my pitches wobbled, and I smirked. “Emily, can ya sing the notes, please?” I felt the hundreds–soon to be millions–of eyes on me. A lightning-fast eternity later, I planted myself firmly into the glass panels and let out a strong ending note. Four of the biggest names in music stood up for me as the crowd nearly burst my eardrums. (Fun fact: I actually had no idea that they gave me a standing ovation until I saw it on TV.*)
The rest was a delightful blur. I picked Pharrell, he walked down the tunnel with me, I talked to him ridiculously casually, he hugged my family and I, yaddah yaddah… just your average day.
For those of you wondering why I picked Pharrell, you should know that I was trusting my intuition. I’ve said in multiple interviews that he gives off a great energy, and it’s so true. I could just tell that I was supposed to work with him. His eye contact is INTENSE. Like, literal soul-staring. I dig that. It’s a very genuine quality, and his way of speaking is very genuine, too. He never really name-dropped, begged, or exaggerated; he just honestly and calmly laid out his thoughts, and I was really drawn in by that. I know for a fact that I made the right choice, and I’m so excited to continue working with him! To clarify, all the other coaches were wonderful, too. They were really kind and respectful toward me, and they had nothing but amazing things to say. I would be honored to work with any of them, and I still can’t believe they all turned. I just think the Pharrell choice was a Fate thing!
So, here I am! I, Emily Keener, will be representing Ohio on SEASON TEN OF THE VOICE! *happy dance*
This will never be normal to me! I will always be freaking out! So, freak out along with me by following me on any and all of your preferred social media platforms. :) I’ll be interacting with other contestants, posting behind-the-scenes pictures, live-tweeting the show, and keeping in touch with all you lovely humans! You won’t wanna miss it! <3
Here is my blind audition video:
Here is the full-version of my performance that I recorded in studio:
The support, encouragement, and kindness has been absolutely incredible. I just want to send out a little love to some people while I have your attention…
-HUGE thank you to Steve from Wellington Music for the brand new Lag acoustic guitar! It’s one of the most amazing gifts I’ve received in my life. You, sir, are extraordinary!
-Thanks to my wonderful parents and siblings for supporting me and putting up with me for all this time!
-Thanks to Dalton Brand at Waveburner Recording for constantly giving me advice, support, and creative outlets!
-Thanks to the entire Higbee Studios crew for always lookin’ out for me. I’m so happy to know you all.
-Thank you to The Rock Pile, my grandpa’s store, who gave me my first job and let me sing at every single event they had!
-Thank you so much to Ron Miller at The Listening Room for believing in me!!
-THANK YOU to every single person who’s liked, commented, shared, messaged, appreciated, supported, and celebrated. I love each of you dearly and I’m eternally grateful.
*If you want to know more about Tuesday night’s watch party, my dear friend, Tony Schaffer, wrote an awesome article about it. A bar-full of amazing people all hugged me and cried with me, so, obviously, it was great. Click here! (Tony is now running a blog solely dedicated to my Voice-journey. How cool is that? Check it out and keep reading…)