Galway will be represented in the RTE series The Voice on Sunday next when Claregalway native Ailbhe Hession auditions for the four judges with the aim of winning a recording contract with Universal Music.
Ms Hession is one of the most accomplished young singer songwriters in the Galway region, She was the winner of the Coyote Factor competition several years ago and is a regular on the Galway live music circuit.
She says she is looking forward to the experience of what is a unique talent show concept.
“ It is a singing competition unlike previous competitions of its sort, in that the first round of auditions are blind. The four coaches sit with their backs to the singer and so rely only on their ears when it comes to selecting a voice for their team. “The singer comes out on stage and has the length of their song to impress one or more of the four coaches. If the coaches like what they hear they press their button and their chair turns around to face the singer.
“If two or more coaches turn their chairs around, the tables turn whereby the coaches pitch to the singer what they can offer them and the singer then chooses which coach he/she would like to have mentor him/her,” she said.
“ I see it as a singing competition with far more integrity than any previous competitions in that it is based on your vocal abilities alone. There are absolutely no gimmicks, it is not a show based on drama surrounding the coaches or contestants.
“Only genuinely good singers get through. All of the coaches have roots in music. I entered with the view of getting some good exposure, meeting other singers and musicians and learning as much as I could from these people. I also saw it as a challenge as I have never entered a competition on this scale before and saw it as an opportunity to boost my confidence and gain further experience.
The four coaches for The Voice of Ireland are Brian Kennedy, Kian Egan, Sharon Corr and "Bressie" (Niall Breslin, lead singer of The Blizzards ). The coaches pick 12 singers each for their team, after which the blind auditions are complete.
The next round is called The Battles. In this round, the coaches pair up their 12 chosen singers and give them a song to duet. The pairs go on to sing the duet in front of an audience and for the four coaches, who give their feedback before their coach makes the ultimate decision as to who will stay and who will go. The next and final stage is the live show which will be broadcast in March The first prize is a recording contract with Universal Music Ireland.