Kent State Students Pursue Musical Dreams on TV Singing ShowsPosted Mar. 3, 2014
Claudia Hoyser on The Voice
Claudia Hoyser, a Kent State University sophomore applied communications major, made it through one audition on her way to appearing on the NBC singing competition show The Voice. Hoyser is in the beginning stages of this audition process, but her singing ambitions go back many years.
“I’ve been singing my whole life,” says Hoyser. “I’ve always played in little restaurants, whether it’s alone or with my band at home. I’ve watched The Voice since the very beginning, and I’ve always wanted to try out.”
Hoyser forwent auditioning in 2012, when tryouts fell during her Kent State freshman orientation. She was inspired to go through with auditioning after a New Year’s Eve party. She listened to a girl singing at the party, who told Hoyser she was planning on trying out for The Voice.
“She sparked the idea,” Hoyser says. She researched upcoming tryout locations, and found that an open audition was taking place in Chicago on Jan. 19. She and her boyfriend drove six hours from Kent for the daylong event.
“It was a long day, but it was super fun,” Hoyser says.
Hoyser got a callback and returned to Chicago two days later. She sang three songs this time, including “American Honey” by Lady Antebellum.
“I went in, did my thing, and they said that I’ll hear from them,” Hoyser says. “It’s just kind of a waiting game from here on out.”
Hoyser says her friends’ and family’s reactions sweetened the deal. Her roommates welcomed her back from the audition by decorating her residence hall room with balloons and ribbons, and her parents were thrilled.
“My dad was just in heaven,” she says. “My mom is the nervous one. She wants me to stay up on school, but she’s also really excited.”
Hoyser says attending Kent State and being in the Delta Gamma sorority have given her exposure crucial to building her dreams. She’s racked up more than 61,000 hits on her YouTube channel since arriving at Kent State.
“That has really opened up so many doors for me,” Hoyser says of being in the Greek community. “People contact me all the time with gig opportunities. Even if some of those don’t work out, it’s cool that those opportunities are building.”
When it comes to managing schoolwork, songwriting and auditioning, Hoyser says it’s all about balance.
“It’s a little tough because I want to just be writing all the time and making YouTube videos,” she says.
Hoyser says she will continue to keep music a priority in her life and career.
“If this doesn’t exactly go as planned, I still think I can bring communications into the music business world,” she says. “I would love to move to Nashville and be able to play on the weekends and work during the week. I want to keep performing in my life for as long as I can.”
Whether or not she gets another callback, Hoyser has loved every minute of her journey.
“Even if it stops here — and hopefully it doesn’t — it’s just been fun and amazing,” says Hoyser. “I wouldn’t change it, and I would definitely go back and do it again.”
Nancy Wilson on American Idol
Nancy Wilson, sophomore visual communications design major, followed her lifelong love of singing country music to try out for American Idol three times.
This year, she made it all the way to Hollywood. She finally got the chance to sing in front of the celebrity judges: Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban.
“It was so nerve-wracking singing for them,” Wilson says. “And that’s crazy coming from me because I usually don’t get nervous!”
Leading up to the celebrity judge audition, Wilson says the process was “very lengthy and very much luck based.” She first auditioned in Detroit last July, followed by two callbacks during the fall semester.
“I decided to try out because even if it was a long shot, a chance is a chance, and I had to try,” Wilson says.
Wilson was sent home after “Hollywood Week,” but it was nonetheless a fulfilling experience for her.
“This experience has been phenomenal for me,” Wilson says. “It’s nice to be surrounded by people who love the same thing you do. I’m so happy that I’ve gotten this much publicity from this accomplishment.”
Looking ahead, Wilson plans to continue chasing her music dreams after graduation. She hopes to move to Nashville and release an extended play (EP) of country music. She says anyone with similar dreams of being on a music talent show should “definitely do it.”
“It’s very hard to get through on these shows, but go and meet people with your same dream,” Wilson says. “If nothing else, it’s a day well spent with music.”
Attending Kent State was pivotal in her American Idol process, Wilson says.
“I find myself gaining followers and getting new interviews every day,” she says. “It’s the best feeling to have my Kent State family have my back!”