Scituate native and Berklee College of Music freshman Caitlin Michele Ford is causing quite a stir with her performance on NBC's "The Voice," where she was chosen Monday to advance in this year's competition.
The experience has been surreal for the 20-year-old singer and songwriter, who had both Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine and country superstar Blake Sheldon fight over her in the last round of the blind audition.
With the pre-taped battle rounds soon to be aired, and a potential live round airing in November, Ford said she is ready for the ride.
Boston Globe: Did you ever expect to be singing on a competition show like this?
Caitlin Michele Ford: Absolutely not. I had never even watched the show until this season because I'm on it. And I don’t really like TV. I'm not into the whole pop culture scene, I'm not trying to be too cool for mainstream, I'm just not into TV, I don’t have a TV, I grew up that way. I loved reading growing up. So I'm still like that. So I had only heard of 'The Voice' because I had a friend from Boston who was on it the first seaaon, and she recommended that I do it.
She said just add the producers on Facebook, and I said, 'Fine, I'll do it.' So she said post a video and 10 seconds later I got a message from one from the head producers who was like, 'Do you want to audition?' And then I was like, 'I guess.'
But doing it, I'm so happy I did it. It proved me totally wrong. It's everything I didn’t think it would be.
Being a singer, I know other singers...especially at Berklee, [and they said] they tried out for 'American Idol,' and said they treat you like crap. That’s what I expected and it wasn’t like that at all.
When I got to go to LA to do the show, the production was so nice, I consider them my friends, and all the contestants were so nice, there was no drama…And Adam [Levine] is so genuine, he really cares about us. Even then I was in awe, I can't believe he knows who I am and knows about me...
I was preparing for the worst and it was the best experience of my life.
BG: So you had several rounds of auditions, finally made it to the stage, and are singing. What went through your head when not one, but two, of the judges turned around?
CMF: I was, that audition, I've never been so nervous. Usually when I perform I don’t get stage fright, and I've never gotten it like that before...
I've been getting positive feedback [on my audition]....they don’t get that I was so nervous. Having them turn around made me more nervous.
I don’t think it was awful. Based on the situation, I'm really proud of myself, but I was so nervous, terrified the whole time. Once I was done...it was unreal. It was like, 'I'm going to pass out.' I was so worked up. But it was awesome…
I can't believe Adam and Blake Sheldon just fought over me. In my heart I wanted Christina to turn around…I grew up listening to her … I just wanted that validation from her. But ... she had nothing but nice things to say, that was also so crazy.
BG: So what is your background in singing?
CMF: I’m only in my second semester [at Berklee]. I used to go to Hart school (at University of Hartford) for musical theater and took some time off.
BG: Has this sunk in?
CMF: No. I only have one class on Tuesdays, and I just spent the rest of the day responding [to messages]. People have been reaching out to me. It makes me happy but this hasn't set in.
People are saying I'm an inspiration…that’s my whole purpose. I want to help people, as cliché as that is, I want to rescue pit bulls and help people. Having all these people everywhere reaching out to me, adults, younger kids…it will set in, it takes a while to set in...
BG: What’s the next step for you in this competition?
CMF: Live rounds happen in November. That’s the next round and everything else is pretaped, but that’s what the next step is. Next is the battle rounds that are airing starting next week. I don’t know when I’m on, either…
They cut out half the people, and people can get stolen this season. That’s the next step.
BG: Is it weird going through all this when you'd never seen it?
CMF: They brief us, and expected us not to know about the show, they explain what happens. But having it actually happen, it's weird…
But it was cool. I get why people like the show…even the show, I know how TV works, a lot is pre-set and have a set winner, but that is not the case with this show. It's truly what the coaches want…they’re like, 'We as producers can hope for certain outcomes, but it's up to America and these coaches.' I like that…
BG: Are you optimistic in what this could mean for your singing career?
CMF: I’m hoping. I hope it's not just right now. I went from having 100 Twitter followers to 800-900, 1,000 Facebook fans. Because I only did musical theater before this, I wrote songs for myself, I had never really [seen this kind of success]…a lot of people are already [successful]…I don’t have anything or anyone. It's cool. I’m just hoping it's not 15 minutes of fame. I just want to ride this wave.
The Voice is on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.