When the 16th season of NBC's The Voice came to an end, a local singer won her shot at the big-time.
North Texas added another notch to its reality show winner belt last week when Frisco's Maelyn Jarmon won the 16th season of the NBC singing competition The Voice along with her first-time celebrity coach and singer John Legend.
The season's final episode represents the last step on a long road filled with hard work, dramatic tension and gut-wrenching musical performances, and the first on the hopeful road to stardom. The 16th season started back in February when Jarmon was chosen by Legend from a group of 12 finalists in the first group of blind auditions with her rendition of Sting's "Fields of Gold," which earned Jarmon her four chair turns from Legend and fellow judges Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Fort Worth native Kelly Clarkson.
The performance prompted heaping words of praise and a mini-war of words between Legend and Levine as they vied to be her coach for the season.
"You kind of
have it all," Levine said in the show's first episode. "It's a seasoned voice but also completely vulnerable."
Jarmon won her first battle against singer Savannah Brister of Memphis, Tenn. with a performance of Adele's "When We Were Young." A few episodes later in April, Legend picked Jarmon to go against Mississippi native and Grand Bay, Alabama, resident Rod Stokes for the episode's final cross battle. Stokes put up a powerful performance of Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" before the show ended on a forced, reality-show cliffhanger (the kind that drives fans to the brink of madness) for a whole week before announcing her win. The two faced off again as two of the top eight semifinalists the following month with a moving dual performance of The Beatles' "Yesterday."
Jarmon continued all the way to the final four with a string of impressive wins and performances of songs such as Gary Jules' "Mad World," Coldplay's "The Scientist" and Rihanna's "Stay." She shared the final-four stage with three members of Shelton's squad including Dexter Roberts, Andrew Severner and Gyth Rigdon before beating Rigdon for this year's top title.
The night before her big win, Jarmon premiered her first original single "Wait for You" and performed a memorable rendition of Leonard Cohen's immortal classic "Hallelujah," giving her the distinction of being the only performer this season to score the top spot on iTunes overall songs and the pop chart, according to NBC.
She also got to celebrate her win with a dual performance of Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" with her coach Legend and "Angel" with Sarah McLachlan on live TV.
The Frisco native has been studying music since the early part of her childhood despite a treatment for ear infections at age 2 that left her deaf in one ear. She started taking vocal lessons at 13 and eventually moved to New York to take a shot at performing on the Broadway stage, a move she made with her parents. She also released two singles on Apple Music, including "Last Call" and "Ayo" before earning a spot on the NBC singing competition show at the end of 2018.
Katrina Cain, a Denton resident now in Los Angeles, who competed in the 16th season of The Voice with coaching from Shelton, says the process of competing on such a popular stage are filled with packed production schedules and require strong nerves. However, the benefits far outweigh the grueling work, and Jarmon rose to the challenge.
"Maelyn sounds awesome!" Cain wrote by email. "She did a great job with all of those songs, definitely deserves success."
A show like The Voice offers one of the most eye-opening and unique opportunities to train and learn as a performer. Cain says singers should take a chance to present themselves to opportunities just like she and Jarmon did not just because of the doors they can open no matter how far they make it in the competition.
"It was a wonderful opportunity to learn how to be professional in stressful situations, and how to preserve your artistry whether the show's producers like it or not," Cain says. "What I mean by that is, the show has a nice concept but at the end of the day, you're working on a show in the television industry, not the music industry.
"You have to remember that there is a world and an industry outside of the show. If you get the shot to do it, you should just for the learning experience and the opportunity to play with such an incredible band. And it's so much fun! But you gotta remember who you are as an artist because once the show ends, it ends and you're back to hustling your career."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.