“The Voice” auditions “confirmed my dreams”

AUGUSTA, Ga (AP) – Many children hear their parents singing, but Augusta’s newborn baby Israel Hambrick is one of the few who can say that the first time he heard his father sing was during the final audition for one of the biggest singing competitions.

Although he may not know it now, Israel was a witness to his father, Tony Aaron Hambrick, competing for a spot on the season of the hit TV show “The Voice”.

“Although he might not remember it, just to know that the first time you heard your father sing was on NBC, he was standing at Universal Studios in Burbank, CA, Hollywood, CA, singing for John Legend, Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, ”Hambrick exclaimed,“ I think that’s totally cool. ”

The 31-year-old singer has been a native of Augusta forever. He began singing at his family’s Live River Baptist Church, near Tobacco Road, where his mother sang as a choir soloist.

“Between going to the choir rehearsal every Thursday, doing homework in the pews, listening to the choir sing and listening to my mother sing and listening to my other church members sing, I developed a love and passion for it. vocals, ”Hambrick said.

His parents invested in this passion, and after years of lessons and practice he now leads the choir program at Jessye Norman School of the Arts, serves as a cult leader in his church, teaches music at North Augusta Middle School and gives concerts on weekends. . And Hambrick’s musical talents would give him an even greater opportunity.

“I was at my job one day, and I was scrolling on Instagram and comes an NBC sponsored post for an open casting, and I don’t know what it was, but I was like ‘Why not?’” he asks.

That question and a few preliminary interviews later, Hambrick got a call from a California number, and the voice of an executive producer said, “We want to welcome you to Hollywood.” What was his response?

“My first words were ‘Stop playing on my phone!’ That’s what I told an NBC producer! Hambrick remembered with a burst of laughter. “He was like ‘No, no, no, Tony. I am so serious. Welcome to Hollywood ”, and I laughed and I laughed and I laughed and I laughed. I just couldn’t stop. It was my reaction. I couldn’t believe it had happened.

But as happy as he was, when he broke the big news to his wife Sharla, he said he decided not to go through with it since Sharla was still pregnant with Israel at the time, and that she would give birth in the next few weeks. . But Sharla didn’t have it.

“She was like ‘You would be crazy to turn down this opportunity,’” Hambrick said.

“It’s something he’s always strived for,” Sharla said. “That’s one of his goals, and he always said he wanted to be on a bigger platform, and I’m just like, ‘Just because we’re about to have a baby and that I’m pregnant, you won’t miss this opportunity. ‘”

Hambrick seized the opportunity and flew to California just a week after Israel was born. Sharla, her new son and Hambrick’s mother watched him sing Justin Bieber’s “Anyone” for the judges. Hambrick admitted he was nervous during the performance, and the judges noticed him in parts of his singing, leading them not to offer him a spot in the competition. But they left it with other reviews that served as a driving force.

He said that Grande “loved my voice, she adores my falsetto”, that Legend said “” you’re going to have a successful career “” and Shelton said “” Look, we really want you to come back “.

Hambrick was disappointed that he hadn’t moved forward, and since the last episode of the blind auditions ended on October 5, he was disappointed that he hadn’t appeared in one of the episodes. However, he appeared beforehand in some of the show’s TV promotions, which made him and his loved ones excited. Hambrick himself was cheerfully cheering on his new friends on Tuesday’s show as they made their way to the next phase of the competition.

“Knowing their history, getting to know them over the time that we were together in California and, of course, we spent a lot of time together, so we got to know each other pretty well, really quickly,” Hambrick said. “So seeing them on screen, seeing friends, seeing family playing, why wouldn’t I be excited?”

But whether or not Hambrick tries for the show, which he hasn’t decided yet somehow, that experience gave him something he badly needed.

“I needed confirmation,” he said. “There have been times when I have questioned my own talent and my own ability … (This experience) confirms my dreams and desires. They don’t just have to be dreams and desires but it can be reality the only thing I have to do is work … I might not be a world superstar today but this does not mean that I won it will not be tomorrow.

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