It is often said that every day a star is born and with the prevalence of talent search tv shows, the opportunity to achieve star status is greater now than ever before. This weekend, three local ladies, Janie Boyt, Krista Dudley and Michelle Smith Thigpen, will have the chance to make their dreams of becoming a professional singer come true by auditioning to be on “The Voice,” a vocal competition show heading into its fourth season on NBC.
The show, which is hosted by Carson Daly, features veteran coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, as well as newcomers Usher and Shakira, who choose contestants to be on their “team” for the four stages of the competition: the blind audition, battle round, brand new knockouts and live performance shows.
Janie Boyt has been singing since she was able to talk. The Gordon State College freshman is currently pursuing a degree in nursing, but has hopes that her audition will put her on the path to fulfilling her dream.
“If I could sing and get paid to do it, that would not even be a job,” said Boyt. “It’s what I love to do.”
Boyt has been working towards becoming a singer for as long as she can remember. She began performing on stage when she was around eight years old and has appeared in numerous local TUAC shows, Thomaston Idol and Jr. Miss, where after winning locally, went on to win talent on the state level. She tried out for The Voice last year and made it past the first round of cuts, but not the second; so she is hoping for her the second time is the charm. She is very excited for the chance to show what she is made of during the auditions in Atlanta and is grateful to have her family and friends cheering her on.
“My sister told me if I didn’t make it in Atlanta, she would fly me out to L.A. to try-out again out there,” she said. “I really appreciate having her support and hopefully this year will turn out better than last year.”
When she was 16 years old, Krista Dudley moved with her mother to Nashville to follow her dream of becoming a professional singer. She worked with a record label there, recording demo songs which would be pitched to well known artists such as Sara Evans and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. Dudley spent eight years in Nashville before returning to her home town of Thomaston. In addition to Nashville being an expensive city to live in, she noticed that there were a ton of new artists coming out of Georgia, so she decided the place for her to be was back home.
“I’ve never really been one to do the TV show type of deal,” said Dudley when asked about the auditions, “but all of my friends like Coy (Bowles) and Zac (Brown), were really encouraging, so I decided to give it a shot. I’m excited, but I’m also looking at this as kind of my last chance. I guess if I don’t, it will become more of a hobby, but I want to give it my best.”
Dudley has won several competitions throughout Georgia and was the winner of Dream Big, a competition held in Ohio. She is the mother of Gracie (5 years old) and Carter (3 years old), currently works as a server at J. Henry’s in Griffin and sings with several of her friends’ bands on the weekends.
For Michelle Smith Thigpen, being a nationally recognized singer-songwriter is the ultimate dream job and something she has been working on for quite some time. She noted she has been singing since she was “knee high” and one of her mother’s favorite stories to tell is that her first performance was at the age of four at the Waffle House; she collected $10.45 in tips that night.
Thigpen has competed in several local competitions over the years and was a recent winner of the Colgate Country Showdown in Thomaston and went on to compete on the state level. She also tried out for the television show “Nashville Star” in 2004 and made it to the second round of auditions before being sent home. She has also received an award for an up and coming independent artist in 2005 from the Atlanta Society of Entertainers. Currently Thigpen serves as the Activities Director for Providence Nursing Home and sings on the weekends. She is married to Randy Thigpen and together they have four children. She is looking forward to the chance to display her talents at the upcoming audition.
“I’m excited,” she said. “It’s going to be an experience getting to meet people who are trying to do the same things that I am. I feel this is just a stepping stone to get me to where I want to be.”
Each of the three local singers will be heading to Atlanta January 19-20 to showcase their talents for the judges of “The Voice,” and hopefully advancing further in the competition. Whatever the outcome may be, as each takes the stage, they can perform knowing they have everyone at home cheering them on.