By Colin Hogan
Fulton native Josh Batstone stepped into the spotlight on NBC’s “The Voice” this week, having made it through the first round of blind auditions and securing his place with the vocal coach of his choice.
The 18-year-old singer was featured on the program Tuesday, March 3 in a 30-second clip singing “Amnesia” by Australian pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer. The clip then shows celebrity coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton vying to have Batstone on their teams, with him ultimately choosing Levine.
Speaking to The Valley News from Los Angeles Thursday, Batstone said, regardless of what happens in the competition moving forward, getting through the blind audition has given him all the validation he needs as a performer.
“It’s an incredible feeling getting this far, at all,” Batstone said. “Not a lot of people get to make it this far. It’s an incredible feeling of accomplishment and validation for all the hard work that I’ve put into this… If I was to go home today, I would be beyond happy with my results so far.”
Batstone has been involved with music since he first fell in love with singing in church as a seventh-grader. As a high school freshman, he decided to get involved with school’s choir, and later started taking lessons from his local voice teacher, Carol Jacobe of Baldwinsville. But it was later in his teenage years when he became a home-schooled student that he says he really hit his stride with music.
“If I didn’t make the choice to be home-schooled, I don’t think I would be where I am today,” Batstone said. “I would spend hours and hours alone in my room singing and playing guitar, and listening to people and being inspired, and learning and writing. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I was in school.”
Few moments in life can match the feeling Batstone had when Levine and Shelton were battling it out for his pick, he said. While he went into the competition hoping to land a place on Team Adam, he said after his performance he had to put some thought into it before making his final decision.
“I definitely contemplated choosing Blake because of the nice things he was saying, but Adam brought it around and said what I could improve on, which was exactly what I was looking for,” Batstone said.
Beyond his place in the television spotlight, though, Batstone says “the coolest feeling ever” was seeing himself on the iTunes charts after his performance. Downloads of him singing “Amnesia” on the show are currently available on iTunes for $1.29.
As he progresses through the competition, Batstone will “continue to dabble” with songs in the same vein as “Amnesia,” but he said he would also like to stray a bit from the pop-rock realm and perform some acoustic singer/songwriter-style tunes.
While the show is designed as on ongoing competition, Batstone said when he’s backstage with his fellow contestants, the competitive nature is nowhere to be found.
“The first thing we do is say ‘good luck,’ and ‘break a leg’ and ‘have a great time,'” he said. “Whatever happens we’re still gong to remain best friends. There’s no competitive nature at all. We all hang out and jam and sing together because we’re all doing what we love… We’re really a family.”
And his support system doesn’t end there. Batstone’s actual family is also in Los Angeles providing round-the-clock encouragement. He said its through their continued support, and having them with him now, that he’s found the confidence he needed to get over the first hurdle.
“It’s really great to have my family here. I don’t know if I could do it alone,” Batstone said.
You can see more of Batstone in future episodes of “The Voice” this season, Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.