Craig and me with Chevonne putting our paws up before
her performance at the Lady Gaga concert in Houston.
This is the case with Craig's cousin, Chevonne, who I believe I can stake a claim to as my cousin also, since I'm married in, and because I have only one recently acquired (finally!) cousin of my own. As Craig and I have been together for 12 years, I've gotten to watch her grow up, was there celebrating Bat Mitzvahs and at her family's home for many a Chanukah gathering.
She has a ridiculously incredible voice and has been honing her talent for years, studying music in college and coming out of school with a bang. I remember Craig and I going to see her play at a dive bar in Danbury, Conn. years ago. She told us how she had to drive all over the boroughs of New York City to pick up the members of her band and get them together for the gig. Band members were pulling out on her all the time and she was constantly having to adapt and regroup. She was lugging all of her own equipment, making her own staple fashions to wear, but all the while lighting up the stage like she owned it – because she did. She belted out her original songs and accompanied herself on her keyboard. I was so impressed then, leaning on a bar stool watching her performance beside her parents and Craig.
Fast forward to 2010-11 when she landed a gig touring as a backup vocalist with Lady GaGa on her Monster Ball tour. What?!? I know. This was after performing with another pop star, Estelle. She went after it and she got it and I love that. Craig and I happened to be living in Houston when she was on tour there and we got to see her perform. I couldn't even wrap my brain around it and was like a sappy proud mom watching.
Fast forward to today when she is competing on NBC's The Voice, viewed by millions on network television. Her "battle" aired Monday night, the last in the battle segment of the competition. I was all sweaty palms and excited belly knowing that she was going to be on. Craig and I watched eagerly and fist pumped at the TV when she stood up strong to her also-very-talented competitor. She belted out her own rendition of "Titanium" by David Guetta featuring Sia. As Christina Aguilera – pop diva herself – said before stealing her onto her own Voice team, Chevonne's "stage presence was ammmmaaaazing." She worked the crowd, the stage, and her opponent. She may be a petite little thang, but her voice packs a huge punch and her energy and aura is boundless. Oh, and that hair, I love it so! My own curly mane is envious.
She is dynamic, tenacious, focused, intelligent, sweet, driven, and talented beyond words. That's what it takes to make it. Her combination of passion, individuality and serious pipes has already taken her so far at just 26 years old. I've been honored to follow along and learn from her steadfastness. It lights a little fire under me to push harder in my own craft, and I'm grateful for the inspiration.
Check out her battle below and tune into The Voice Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC.
Join the #chevonnetourage on Twitter: @listen2chevonne and on Facebook: Facebook.com/listen2chevonne
Download her solo rendition of "Titanium" on iTunes: https://t.co/A3FANnu6