JACQUIE LEE : The Voice’s season 5 Youngest Contestant
She's pretty, young, and amazing. Yeah, she's still 16 years old, oh god youngest lady in The Voice season 5, she's really really perfect, great, her voice is amazing.
Seated at a Starbucks on a cool October afternoon, Jacquie Lee illuminates the otherwise bleak shop, radiating a seemingly boundless youthful energy. She giggles breathlessly between bites of her Bountiful Blueberry Muffin, silky brunette locks falling onto her fresh face as she reveals the mysterious designer of her black, studded boots—of Cee Lo Green did-you-buy-those-boots-from-Aldo fame. “Vera Wang!” Lee exclaims. “I didn’t want to say, ‘No, Cee Lo, they are not Aldo’ on stage, so I just laughed it off!” Clad in a loose-fitting peach T-shirt, gray athletic shorts and shin guards leftover from afterschool field hockey practice, she is, upon first glance, almost unrecognizable from the -adorned, folk-soul singer, whose sophisticated tone earned her a spot on the fifth season of NBC’s “The Voice.” It is in these candid moments when Lee reminds the world that, beneath her astonishing vocal range and control, her advanced stage presence and poise, she is still a 16-year-old girl on the journey of a lifetime
While walking away with the title of Freehold Idol was certainly gratifying, it was nothing in comparison to what was just around the corner for the young artist. While singing The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends” in Pier Village with Rockit—a Count Basie Theatre program that provides young musicians with the opportunity to collaborate and play rock music— Lee’s powerhouse vocals caught the attention of Monocentric Music President and Creative Director Marc Swersky and singer/songwriter Brielle Brown (who Lee now endearingly refers to as her “soul sister”). “[Swersky] was in the audience and I guess he heard something in my voice that he really liked,” said Lee. “We didn’t formally meet then, but that was when we first knew about each other. Then later on he came to me with the idea [to try out for ‘The Voice.’]” Lee took him up on his offer without hesitation, and the duo began vocal training.
Lee prepared for her “Voice” audition just as she would for any other performance: rehearsing constantly, eating countless gummy bears—“I eat gummy bears a lot because I like candy, and they soothe my voice!”—and playing one of her original songs the night before as a reminder of her personal, artistic style. However, as soon as she took “The Voice” stage for her rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black,” faced with nothing but the broad backs of ruby, leather armchairs, concealing four of the music industry’s top artists, she came to a sudden realization: “There’s no way you can prepare for the exact feeling that you have when you walk on [‘The Voice’] stage.”
The music started, and the rest was a blur. “I just remember my eyes being glued to the back of their chairs…I saw Christina’s hands waving up above her chair and I was like, ‘Why is your hand there and not on the button? Come on!” In fact, it was not until the final six seconds of Lee’s performance that, in unison, both Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton turned their chairs. “It definitely helped me stay focused throughout the performance,” said Lee of the coaches late chair turns. “If they turned in the beginning, I don’t know what I would’ve done—I might have laughed my way through the rest of the song!”