Caitlin Lucia knows first hand what the road to reality television looks like, thanks to her recent appearance on NBC's singing competition, The Voice. Although her run at instant stardom was cut short after the show's judges failed to turn their chairs, the 19-year-old Huntington Beach native says her journey into the music industry has just begun. Lucia's season seven appearance last week was her second effort to be a part of the show, and after two consecutive attempts, she says she's walking away with her head held high.
The indie-folk songstress made her official Voice debut last Tuesday singing her version of "You're The One That I Want," but her initial involvement with the ratings juggernaut began in June of 2013. Fresh out of high school, she was given the choice of traveling to London for business school or attending callbacks for season six. She waived the overseas opportunity to pursue her first run at The Voice and commit to her dream of becoming a singer/songwriter. After several rounds of auditions she scored an invitation to the televised blind auditions. But to her shock and disappointment, the spots for season six had filled before she had a chance to perform before the judges.
"The first time around I went through all the motions and was auditioning on the last day. They told me all the spots had filled up, and I was crushed. I had gone through so much and given up school. But I kept pushing and they invited me back [for this year's season 7]. But honestly, I was debating. In the end I had nothing to lose to so I went for it."
The former Catholic school choirgirl accepted the invitation to return to the show, however, her path wasn't directly to The Voice Stage. She was able to bypass the initial cattle call, but had to earn her way back through subsequent rounds of auditions. After surviving long enough to once again wait for a chance to face the back of four judges' chairs, she performed her acoustic version of the Grease classic tune. Lucia shares that halfway through the recent performance she knew it wasn't her day. "I think I would have done better if they were looking at me. The whole time when you're singing all you worry about is someone turning around," Lucia says. "I couldn't focus on my song; I was too worried about someone turning around. I think that stressed me out more than anything."
Though Lucia ultimately came up short of a chair turn, she's already experiencing the effects of being thrust into the limelight. Her blind audition currently has more than 80,000 hits on YouTube, and not only left her with advice from four of pop music's biggest stars, it helped her grow a thicker skin for criticism -an invaluable virtue in the music industry. Her takeaway from the experience is that fate has more in store for her than reality TV. She asserts that with a lot of traditional hard work and hustling, her journey into the music industry will be a successful one on her own two feet.
"None of [the judges] needed to go through a TV show, so to hear advice from four iconic people who made it on their own was really inspiring," says Lucia of season seven judges Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams, and Gwen Stefani. "They all gave constructive feedback and I walked away with a really good feeling. There were no tears, I was proud of myself. It takes a lot to get there, and more than anything, I just needed closure after not knowing what could have happened the first time around. I walked offstage telling myself 'I did it.'"
Caitlin Lucia performs October 25 at Republic of Pie, 11118 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, (818) 308-7990; www.republicofpie.com, 7 p.m. Free; all ages. For more information on Caitlin Lucia visit www.caitlinlucia.com or www.facebook.com/caitlinluciamusic.