Ed. note: You may have seen North Dakota native Gwen Sebastian during the blind auditions for The Voice, the talent show starring country superstar Blake Shelton. Gwen impressed the four coaches with her rendition of Sugarland‘s “Stay” — and she chose to be on Team Blake for the competition. We asked Gwen to keep a journal for us during her time on The Voice. Check back each week for updates from Gwen!
Hi everyone! How cool is it that GAC is letting me tell you my story about The Voice! I’ll keep you up to date each week after the show airs and chat about my experience, as well as dish on some little tidbits of news.
In case you don’t know about me, here I go (in one paragraph):
I grew up on a farm outside of a little town (about 900 people) called Hebron, ND and have hundreds, yes, hundreds of cousins (117 and counting, just on my dad’s side-yikes!) I went to the same school K-12 and my graduating class had 20 students. My nickname is “Lunchbox,” which I happily go by since one of my favorite things is FOOD! I have a younger brother, whom I look up to not only because he gave me the cutest nephew in the world, but because he has proudly served his country. My parents are farmers and ranchers and they taught me a lot about hard work and determination and how to make your own fun when “there’s nothing else to do.” I love riding horses and still do when I go back home. Along with farming, my parents are musicians, so I grew up singing with them as much as I could. I always had a dream to move to Nashville to play country music. That leads me to my next story: Why I chose to sing “Stay” and why I knew I wanted to be on Team Blake!
Why I Picked Blake to “Stay” on The Voice..
As a kid, I would play Barbies and listen to the radio, always keeping a cassette tape ready for the songs I wanted to record (oops, didn’t know I was stealing music then). I would listen to everything from the Everly Brothers to Michael Jackson, but my real love was country music. There was something about the honesty in Don Williams’ and Reba’s voices that I gravitated to. When I heard Jennifer Nettles sing “Stay,” I immediately stopped what I was doing and had to listen. What a compelling song! That’s why I chose to sing it for my blind audition. It was beautifully written and had every element that I wanted to come through my voice. I do hope I did it justice, as to this day, hearing Sugarland perform it, still makes me stop in my tracks.
The moment leading up to my blind audition was honestly nerve racking. I’ve been singing for a long time, but this felt different. I talked to myself and just said “Hey, pretend you’re in your living room or onstage with your band.” I wanted to live in the moment and connect with everyone listening. Then…..someone says, “You’re on Gwen”….silence…..walk up stairs….more silence…walk to mic stand…silence….guitar intro…..sing.
I closed my eyes and let it all out. I wasn’t thinking about getting chairs to turn, but thank God one did. Then two…then three. Oh my gosh!!!! I was living a dream on that stage at that very moment. Each coach said such beautiful things and I still feel incredibly honored to have them spend their time helping all of us out. That to this day, is THE greatest moment of my life.
Now onto….Blake!!!!! Words to describe Blake Shelton. Hmmm….I think I wouldn’t be alone if I said, talented, brotherly & absolutely hilarious!
After I received a callback from my initial audition, I began thinking, if given the choice of all four coaches, who would I pick? That thinking didn’t last long. I knew, if given the amazing chance to even have a choice, I would pick Blake. Blake not only has one of the purest country voices, he seemed genuinely interested in his team during Season 1. Not just as performers, but as people too. I thought he gave some great advice, while also letting them be themselves and be creative. That’s the kind of coach I would want, and now, I have! I am and always will be Team Blake.
Ya sure you betchya!