Seven seconds into Maelyn Jarmon’s rendition of “Fields of Gold,” she had the attention of three of “The Voice’s” chart-topping judges. Twenty seconds in, she’d gripped all four.
“I was halfway through the song before I realized they were all looking at me,” said Maelyn Jarmon, 25. “I actually blacked out.”
The Washington Heights resident chose new judge John Legend as her mentor, solidifying a place on the 16th season of the NBC competition series. But first, she let the judges work their flattery.
Blake Shelton said her voice “literally moved” him; Kelly Clarkson said she had a “God-given gift” that’d make her “unstoppable” in the music industry; Adam Levine said she “had it all”; and Legend simply called her voice “magic.” All the while, her parents cried backstage.
“That moment was priceless,” she said. “My parents are the most supportive. They’ve sacrificed a lot for me to be where I am. They gave up a lot.”
Eight years ago, Jarmon’s parents packed up their home in Texas and moved to Manhattan so she could immerse herself in the city’s music education scene. Initially hoping to study classical music at Juilliard, she settled on “making New York her school.”
While taking music and theater classes at Barrow Group Conservatory, she was poached by a scouter and asked to perform a residency at the former Toshi’s Living Room lounge in the Flatiron District. She asked her dad, Steve Jarmon, to be her backup guitarist.
“I grew up playing with him,” she said. “It was really fun giving back to him. Through that, we started doing covers of pop songs and I started rearranging things.”
After the residency ended five years ago, her dad taught her to play the guitar herself and she began performing her own songs at open mics around the city. “It’s hard. It’s oversaturated now, there are a lot of DIY musicians,” she said of the local scene.
After about eight years of struggling to break into the industry, Jarmon said she was about to quit and move away from the city when she was scouted by a casting producer for “The Voice” who saw her videos on social media.
“A lot of people had told me to audition for ‘The Voice’ for so long, but you hear 63,000 people audition. Those cattle-calls just seem so daunting,” she said. “It really came at the right time. I was like, ‘I have nothing to lose and this might be something that will help me.’”
After being praised by “The Voice” judges, and landing a spot on the show, Jarmon said she’s “excited again” about the vision of becoming a touring solo artist.
“Everyone was so encouraging and collaborative. It’s been a wonderful, crazy process,” she said.
Jarmon is filming “The Voice” in Los Angeles. Due to a network contract, she’s unable to perform locally until the series ends but hopes to release an EP and head out on tour.
ON TV: “The Voice” airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.