For her final year of high school, Claire DeJean has given up choir and other activities, so she can sing more.
The 18-year-old is working to balance the experiences and responsibilities of her senior year at Highland Park High with opportunities that come from appearing on the 15th season of NBC’s The Voice.
( ABOVE: Claire DeJean performs during blind auditions. Photo: Tyler Golden/NBC )
“You have two exciting things happening at once, finishing high school and starting this,” she said. “I remind myself that I really want to do music, and that is where my heart is.”
Viewers got their first glimpse of that excitement when her blind audition aired this fall and music superstars Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson argued over whether Dallas and Fort Worth are the same place.
“They call it DFW, moron,” said Clarkson, trying to use her Fort Worth roots as an advantage over Shelton in recruiting a singer from Dallas to her team.
“Just because the airport is DFW, doesn’t mean they are one city,” Shelton countered.
DeJean had just finished performing “Hurt Somebody” by Noah Kahan and Julia Michaels and said in the blur of the moment she missed most of the geography debate.
“I’ve been in musical theater all my life, but I’ve never been in the spotlight like that with people so intrigued with who I am.” -Claire DeJean
“It was funny to watch it back, because I only remember a little bit,” she said.
The auditions are considered blind because the judges/coaches have their backs turned as the hopefuls perform. If a coach turns around, the singer continues competing on future episodes. If more than one coach turns around, the singer faces a choice about whose team to join.
“I was actually very close to choosing Blake, because he turned so early for me,” DeJean said.
Instead, she chose Team Kelly after Clarkson described DeJean as having “a lot more of a soulful, singer-songwriter kind of vibe.”
“I think she got me,” explained DeJean, who plays guitar, writes songs, and idealizes Carole King. “That’s who I want to be as an artist: a story-teller with an angelic voice.”
Musical influences also include DeJean’s parents: a mom who often sang to her early on and a father who was a drummer.
DeJean has performed at Opening Bell Coffee, Union Coffee House, and Mudhen Meat and Greens, donating most of her tips to causes such as childhood cancer research and teen suicide prevention.
However far she goes on The Voice, she expects the experience to provide a boost to her musical career, because of the coaching and the exposure.
The YouTube video of her audition has surpassed 1.6 million views, and social media has intensified.
“I’ve been in musical theater all my life, but I’ve never been in the spotlight like that with people so intrigued with who I am, what’s my favorite color,” she said.
Her plans include recording music, playing shows around Dallas, and like other seniors, sorting out decisions about college. Potential majors include musical theater or music.
“Either way I think it’s going to be a great time in my life.”