Kenosha’s Betsy Ade has been in Wisconsin’s music scene since joining her brother’s band years ago. We’ve played her band Well-Known Strangers since the beginning. Now, she’s found a big break on the show “The Voice.” She talked to us about growing up in Kenosha, her journey through music and what it felt like when John Legend turned his chair on her TV debut for “The Voice.”
Her battle episode broadcasts this week. Posted below is the full interview audio and an abridged snippet in writing.
On the audition process:
Justin Barney: Had you auditioned for other shows before, and why audition for “The Voice?”
Betsy Ade: I have not. This is my first audition. Like 10 years ago I did the whole cattle call for the “American Idol” thing. And I just never got through that first round. But this time around, it was suggested by one of our managers through FM Music Management based out of Chicago. He just casually mentioned it and I said, “Yeah why not!”
I mean I never really thought about seriously doing it and I knew it was a really long process. So I just tried it and it seriously just went from one step to the next
Justin Barney: So when and what was the first step?
Betsy Ade: So the first step was the audition in Chicago in June of 2018, so last year.
Justin Barney: Okay… That is a long process.
Betsy Ade: Yeah it really is.
Justin Barney: And how many people are there. Is it like, swarms of people waiting in line? Who are the judges and what does that look like?
Betsy Ade: So the audition that I went to there were about three or four people who were recorded, you know there was a sound guy there and a video person there and the person in the back doing some communicating or whatever. That was the first one, and I didn’t have to stand it line, it was like I skipped over that first part and then I went to this audition. And it was very chill, there was about four or five people waiting in line and then you go in and you do your thing and I went downstairs for an interview, and they handed me a piece of paper and said “You did as well as you possibly could do today, good job. Wait to hear from us.”
And then we went home. A month later, they called me and talked to me about flying me out to LA for four days for an executive callback. So that was the second audition. And if you made it through that round then you could perform for the chairs. So you’d be on the show performing for the chairs.
And that was really intense, that was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done as a performer. Just randomly fly out and sing for all these executive producers.
Justin Barney: So who was in that room?
Betsy Ade: So that was full of about 20, 25 people. It was kind of… not a warehouse, but it seemed really big to me, just a big open space. They had candles lit right around, they had some lighting in the back.
Justin Barney: Were they filming this or was this just for them?
Betsy Ade: I think they filmed it. I’m not sure if there was a camera.
Justin Barney: How were you feeling?
Betsy Ade: Well I was feeling very nervous, the obvious nerves were there but then on top of that was like… so if you get through this round you could feel the pressure of the magnitude of it all. I felt that the whole time, like if I do well here this could mean so many different things for me, for our band, for our family. But at the same time I have to just do what I do and if they like it, they like it, if they don’t then at least I did it.
But they’re very kind, McNulty Casting, the owner was our big cheerleader. She said, “No matter how nervous you get for this audition, just look for me in the back. I’ll be singing the song with you and jumping up and down.”
And she was there for all of us and it went really well. I sang two songs. There were people in there on their computers and taking notes. There were also some people that were playing the game, so they had their eyes closed or their back to you, just cause they didn’t want to see what you looked like and they wanted to give their honest opinion of your voice purely.
Then later that night, they split you into three groups, and one group came back the next day to sing one more song, and they weren’t really sure how they felt or were wishy-washy about them, and then the other contestants went home, and then there was our group which got through to the next round. So it was absolutely exhilarating, we were kissing people we don’t know and people were crying, so it was a big deal…
Listen to the full interview above. And watch Betsy Ade perform “Hunger” on “The Voice” below.