BY TOM LAVIS
Jeremy Bigelow is chasing a musical dream, and he is working hard to be discovered.
The 22-year-old Southmont Borough man answered an open-call audition July 28 in New York City to appear on NBC’s singing competition “The Voice.”
Bigelow, who has studied nursing and works as a server at Chili’s Restaurant at Town Centre Drive in Richland Township, traveled to New York City’s Javits Center to join thousands of hopefuls who wanted to land a spot on the popular reality show.
To his delight, he made it through the first round and was asked to return to New York for a second look.
The opportunity presented itself to become a contestant on “The Voice” and reach for the golden ring.
“I had the time and the drive to give it a try,” he said. “I answered an open call and was scheduled to sing at 2 p.m. on July 28, the second of two days of auditions.”
Bigelow walked into a room with nine other people and a single producer stood at the back and listened.
Bigelow wanted to shock the producer so he sang an a cappella rendition of “If I Ain’t Got You,” by Alicia Keys.
“It was a gamble, but I wanted to separate myself from the others,” he said. “I wanted to catch everyone’s attention.”
He had second thoughts about his song choice when the producer cut him off after singing one verse and half of the chorus.
“Others got to sing their verse, a full chorus and a little more,” he said. “My audition lasted maybe 60 seconds.”
Bigelow said he had overheard a few of the contestants talking about being professionally trained and music majors in college.
Bigelow, who has had no formal training, can be best described as a raw talent.
He hones his skill by singing karaoke at area nightspots such as Bigdogz Grill in Stonycreek Township and Hurdles Bar and Grill in Windber.
The producer announced that he would like to speak with one person from the group and that singer would get a callback for the next round of auditions.
Bigelow was pleased to hear his name called.
“I had a short interview following the audition,” he said.
“I was asked about my background and to select one genre for my next audition.”
He chose country because two of his favorite singers are Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean.
Bigelow grew up in Huntingdon County and is the son of Michele Bigelow of Alexandria and Robert Bigelow of Spruce Creek.
This is not young Bigelow’s first rodeo. When he was 16, he traveled to Philadelphia to audition for “American Idol.”
“I didn’t get out of the first round,” he said.
But what his first experience did do was instill a passion in him to become a better singer.
He said that, to the best of his best of his knowledge, only about 1 percent of the thousands of people who auditioned were selected for the second round.
For his second audition for “The Voice,” he was asked to return to New York on Aug. 1.
His father accompanied him to New York’s SIR Studios in Manhattan for an afternoon audition.
His father never got a chance to hear his son sing at the audition because it was a closed tryout.
“For Jeremy to make it through to the second round is quite an accomplishment,” Robert Bigelow said. “I know he can sing, and I’m proud of him for trying to fulfill his goal to be a singer.”
Upon his arrival at SIR Studios, Jeremy Bigelow found only eight people there for the audition.
This time, instead of singing a cappella, Bigelow stood at a microphone where prerecorded background tracks and a video recorder were being used.
Bigelow felt fairly confident after the first singers sang one song and left and he was asked to sing three.
His selections were “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” by Jake Owen, “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” by Bryan, “Amarillo Sky” by Aldean.
His attitude changed when they didn’t tell him immediately that he would get a callback.
His instincts were correct. On Aug. 8, he got a call that said he would not make it to the next round.
“I’m not sure where the next round would have been, but I was hoping to break into the business,” he said.
“That would be my dream – to be onstage and sing my music.”
He also wanted to get to the television segment to see who the judges were going to be in the upcoming season.
Bigelow said he enjoys singing all types of music and would like to find an area band where he can showcase his voice.
He’s going to follow his father’s advice.
“He told me if this is what I want to do then follow my dream,” Bigelow said. “It’s nice to know that my parents support me no matter what.”
Tom Lavis covers Features for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at Tom Lavis @TomLavistd.