His audition: Mark Isaiah, 19, of Mount Pocono, Pa., auditioned with Shawn Mendes’ “Mercy.” By the time he hit the chorus, Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani had turned around. Gwen said his voice “sounds like radio.” Adam also complimented his pop vocals. Mark joined Team Adam.
His background: Mark says he was into music at a really young age, but was nervous about performing. He was always overweight “and it was just a really hard time for me.” At age 14, he heard about a contest for Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never” film. He says he was hesitant about going, but learned the song “Baby” and wound up winning the contest. Once in college, he lost 40 pounds, which has him feeling more confident.
What the show didn’t show:
* He previously lived in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., and says he was involved in musical theater in middle and high school and “usually lucky enough to get a main lead in plays,” though they were typically reserved for seniors.
* He then attended a performing arts high school in the Bronx called TAPCO (Theatre Arts Production Co.), joined the choir and landed a couple of solos while performing with that choir.
* Mark graduated from East Stroudsburg South High School in Pennsylvania, where he participated in piano class and choir.
* It was in college that he began recording covers and making beats. He had posted some material to YouTube, but says he took it down “because I wanted a new identity for myself. I wanted to start over.”
* That fresh start included losing weight by eating better, playing lots of basketball and working out, he said.
* Prior to The Voice, he said his biggest musical performance was the Justin Bieber contest he won at Garden State Plaza.
* Mark said he considers himself a pop/R&B singer, who can throw some soul and gospel into his performances.
* During a conference call with the media, Mark said he was hoping to work with Alicia Keys or Adam if a chair turned. As for picking Adam, he said: “He’s really experienced on the show. I think it was a good choice. So far, it’s been great working with him.”
* Mark said he really doesn’t have a strategy for the show, other than pouring heart and soul into every performance. “I just want to get that message there that, no matter what you do or how you look, just go up there and follow your dreams … Just follow your dream and don’t let anything bring you down.”