Western Voice 2019

Hosted by the Chinese Student’s Association, Western Voice is Western’s largest singing competition and the club’s flagship event. The annual event provides Western singers with the opportunity to showcase their talents and win a $500 cash prize. This year’s contestants include Talal Al-Sharif, Esther Chang, Mark Cam, Destinie Ly, Stefanie Tom, Patrick Clark, Audrey Cullis, and Madison Phanthavong.

Each year, CSA brings in a special celebrity guest star for a meet and greet, and to perform at the show. Past guests include Timothy Delaghetto, Kina Grannis, David So and Sam Tsui. This year, Western alumnus Simu Li and CantoMando will be guest-judging and hosting the event. Attendees will have the chance to attend a meet and greet and get a photo with the guest judges by purchasing a VIP Meet and Greet ticket.

This year’s event will take place in the Mustang Lounge on January 31 with doors opening at 5:30 PM. This event will feature performances by all of the contestants as well as performances by WOOF and Hip Hop Western. Prizes will also be given out at the event in order to raise money for CSA’s chosen charity, which will be announced during the show.

I sat down with three of this year’s contestants to hear more about their Western Voice experience so far, and why students should check out this year’s event.

Name: Madison Phanthavong

Photo courtesy of Madison Phanthavong

Year: 4th

Program: Chemistry and Biochemistry

What inspired you to audition for Western Voice?

“I knew some friends who had auditioned and performed at Western Voice in previous years and I heard great things about the event based on their experiences. Edmond, the director of the event this year, actually reached out to me last year at a Spoke coffeehouse and recommended that I audition next year. I didn’t do very much performing in my third year and I really wanted to get back into it. So, when classes started up again I started looking for opportunities to perform on campus and Western Voice was one of those opportunities!”

What are your musical influences and style?

“I take a lot of inspiration from artists of almost every avenue of music, but pop and Top 40 tunes are where I have the most fun when it comes to building a setlist. Sounds from people like James Bay, Scott Helman and Ed Sheeran are where I’d like to say my style lies, but I have influences from country and R&B artists like Thomas Rhett and The Weeknd. I feel most comfortable with just me and my guitar and really love making stripped down, listen-while-you-are-looking-over-lecture-notes kind of acoustic covers.”

What has been your favourite part of the Western Voice process so far?

“My favourite part of Western Voice so far has been the amount of creative freedom the event has let me have over the past couple of months. From the music videos they produced for us to our own stage direction and design, us as contestants have been given so many opportunities to put ourselves out there the way we want and I’m really excited to showcase everything we’ve worked on so far!”

Why should people come to Western Voice?

“People should come to Western Voice to hear some seriously talented performers do what they do best. We have a very diverse sounding group of contestants which will also make the duet battles very intriguing and from what I’ve heard at rehearsals, I’ve got some stiff, ridiculously vocally-capable competition ahead of me in the solos round. Also, awesome guest judges CantoMando as well as Simu Liu (from one of my favourite shows, Kim’s Convenience, eek!) will be there to add some star power to the event!”

 

Name: Destinie Ly    

Photo courtesy of Destinie Ly 

Year: 3rd    

Program: Popular Music Studies

What inspired you to audition for Western Voice?

“What inspired me to audition for Western Voice is that I wanted to challenge myself as a singer and performer and do something I normally wouldn’t go for, as in take risks and be in a competition. I also auditioned because I thought it would be a great learning experience in terms of knowing how to put together an entertaining performance and learning how to develop my own persona on stage. Lastly, I just want to have fun and get an opportunity to sing for everyone!”

What are your musical influences and style?

“My musical style is R&B and soul, and my musical influences definitely come from my love of old school ‘80s and ‘90s R&B. This includes my favourite artists like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys and Marvin Gaye. Some of my newer musical influences are Childish Gambino, SZA, Kehlani and H.E.R.”  

What has been your favourite part of the Western Voice process so far?

“So far my favourite parts of the process so far is definitely recording and filming the music video, as well as meeting and working with other super talented contestants. Also, being able to work with CSA members so far has been awesome because they’ve been super supportive and really helped me bring my vision to life in my music video and also my performance I’ve prepared, especially shout out to my manager Joseph!”

Why should people come to Western Voice?

“People should definitely come to Western voice because not only can you expect to see a great and exciting show, but most importantly, please come out and support the musicians! It is always amazing to see others show love to local musicians who are really working hard at their craft and I know we would all really appreciate if people come out and enjoy the show we all worked so hard on. You won’t be disappointed!”

 

Name: Patrick Clark

Photo courtesy of Patrick Clark

Year: 4th

Program: Popular Music Studies

 

What inspired you to audition for Western Voice?

“Some friends of mine had won in years prior so it was a well-known contest within my program. I’d always been meaning to audition for it but I just kept missing the deadline, haha.”

What are your musical influences and style?

“I primarily perform country music but my biggest musical inspiration is hands down John Mayer. His first album came out when I was six, so I’ve basically spent my whole life listening to his music.”

What has been your favourite part of the Western Voice process so far?

“I’ve really enjoyed working on the duet. Madison is a super talented singer and I think we work really well together.”

Why should people come to Western Voice?

“For me, it all comes down to the voices. There are some absolutely incredible singers performing this year and it’s something you won’t want to miss.”

 

More information about Western Voice 2019 can be found on their Facebook page or on their event page.

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