Glendale teenager Josh West is showcasing his voice on NBC’s singing competition show “The Voice” and has now advanced to the knockout round with two amazing performances.
West, 17, a local musician who attended Northwest Christian, before being home schooled and graduating high school at 14, managed to get judges Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine all to turn their chairs in amazement during his interpretation of ‘‘Ordinary World’’ by Duran Duran during the March 6 debut.
“The Voice is a unique opportunity,” West said during a recent interview. “It allows me to showcase my performing and singing ability to an inconceivably large audience that no other venue provides.”
While he awaits the first knockout round April 3, he said he is focused on doing the best he can to make his family proud.
“If I make it to the finale, I can also showcase my father’s and my songwriting ability by releasing an original song,” he said. “‘The Voice’s’ fan-base is a very special audience and being on the show has allowed me to focus on the positive and I think it attracts a fan base that is very special and devoted.
“It is a real competition that really changes people’s lives and helps them pursue their dreams, and everyone knows it’s hard to make it in the music industry, and ‘The Voice’ is providing me opportunities and learning experiences that nothing else could.”
West said he got into music after his father, who has been a professional guitar teacher for more than 30 years, encouraged him to dream big. He performed in church plays when he was younger and that began his love of the stage.
“My mother sang to me every night when I was little,” West said. “My parents always told me, especially my dad, to never be afraid to dream big. He taught me that if I worked hard enough for something, I could achieve it, and I can’t ever remember my mom, or dad, telling me I couldn’t do something.”
West said he decided to try out for “The Voice,” knowing it would not be easy, but after wowing judges in the blind tryouts, he knows it was the right decision for his career, even with the extreme work he is required to do each week.
“We practice our song with the band and with our coach to refine the arrangement and our vocal choices before each show,” West said. “Then, there is a lot of hair and make-up as well and we typically spend about 30 minutes on my ‘glam,’ but some of the other contestants can take up to two hours, depending on their hair.”
West said he gets exhausted each week because it is the toughest thing he has done in his career, but he is working hard to succeed each week.
“The hours are long and the work is very tiring, but I’m grateful for it and the nerves are the worst part. You just can’t escape them,” he said. “The show has been an excellent way to get rid of nerves, as well, and I think after performing on ‘The Voice’ stage, I’ll be hard pressed to find one thing that can make me nervous. One of the most challenging aspects of the show is the other contestants. Everyone is incredibly kind and friendly, but, the only thing rivaling their friendliness is their talent.”
“I’ve always considered my ability to sing many varied tones my biggest asset, but since joining ‘The Voice,’ people have been telling me I have a very unique tone, even when I am not affecting my voice,” he said. “Something I’ve worked on since I was young is my vocal range and I had a high voice when I was a kid, but as my voice changed through high school, I have worked hard with a vocal instructor to maintain my high notes. I think I can now sing higher that I ever could and my voice has been compared to Jeff Buckley and Jon Anderson, two singers that I am flattered to be compared to.”
West said he has a wide variety of influences, including Pearl Jam, Radiohead, U2, Coldplay, Twenty-One Pilots as well as classic rock icons Robert Plant (of Led Zeppelin) and Roger Daltry (of The Who) and he is honored to be compared to them in any way.
He said, “As long as I can remember, I’ve been working for this, and I’ve burned all my bridges behind me. I’ve never had a backup plan because if you spend all your time worrying about the safety net, you’ll never have the skill to walk the tight rope.”