Her audition: Ashley Levin, 23, of Nashville, auditioned with the Dixie Chicks “Let Him Fly,” showing off a wonderful bluesy, country tone that prompted chair turns from Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys and Gwen Stefani. Ashley decided to join Team Blake.
Her background: From Miami, Fla., Ashley says she’s been singing since she can remember. She has two older sisters and a younger brother and says it was “always like a huge musical happening at our house.” But her parents, who are 20 years apart in age, separated when Ashley was in eighth grade. Her dad, now 76, started showing signs of early Alzheimers. Ashley said writing songs helped her cope with that as she helped him. Now her sisters are committed to watch after their dad while Ashley pursues her singing and song-writing dreams.
What the show didn’t show:
* During a conference call with the media, Ashley said she started performing in musicals in elementary school, then attended a fine arts school in middle and high school. There, she sang in jazz choir and performed in musical theater.
* In her senior year of high school, she was one of eight singers chosen for the Grammy Foundation Jazz Choir, which meant she got to perform at the Grammys. “That kind of opened my eyes to everything I could learn through jazz.”
* As a result, she attended the University of Miami, where she studied music business and jazz vocal performance and got involved in a “ton of emsembles,” singing country, soul, funk, jazz “and everything,” she said.
* Ashley graduated in May 2016, then performed in the Miami area for a while before deciding “you know, what, it’s time to move to Nashville.”
* Other than the Grammy Foundation performance, she said her biggest pre-Voice performances came when she had the opportunity to sing with artists like Gretchen Parlato and Esperanza Spalding when they visited The University of Miami.
* Ashley has six originals — all songs she wrote — on Soundcloud. She said they’re pretty much first takes. “‘Irresponsible’ probably has one of the strongest stories,” she shares. “It’s about a break up I went through during college. The song starts pretty stripped down and continuously builds stronger and wilder throughout, just like the fight that ended things in my relationship. Just shows you how a single word or comment can spiral into a huge fire that you never meant to start in the first place.”
* Ashley was well into her blind audition with no chair turns and admits she had given up hope of landing a spot on the show. “Right after I had accepted that no one was gonna turn, boom! They started turning. It was absolutely wild. It’s funny that right after I kinda ‘gave in’ and just sang because I loved singing, rather than singing to get someone to turn around, that it’s when they all decided to turn.”
* Being a country singer, she went into the audition wanting a spot on Team Blake, but admits Gwen and Alicia made tempting arguments for joining their teams. “But I knew that I love country music. I moved to Nashville for my songwriting and singing, and that Blake would be the best choice for me to continue cultivating all of that. I will say though, I woke up in the middle of the night for about a week after the blinds, thinking, ‘Ashley .. you turned down Alicia Keys.'”
“For You” (original)