Will West Palm teen singer win ’The Voice’?
You've heard Allegra Miles before.
Her voice reverberates throughout Palm Beach County, from independent coffee shops, to bars, restaurants and local concerts. She’s hard to miss. The 17-year-old pop and soul singer-songwriter is regularly seen clutching her acoustic guitar or strumming the piano, performing original songs and covers, and networking around the local music and art scene.
And now, the whole nation will be seeing her like we have.
Last Monday, after four separate attempts at trying to make it on the show, the West Palm Beach resident made her debut in the blind auditions on season 18 of NBC’s “The Voice.”
And Miles killed it with a moody, piano-based version of “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon -- prompting both Nick Jonas and Kelly Clarkson to turn their chairs and battle for her to be on their teams.
“I’m honestly shocked you’re not a four-chair turn,” Clarkson told her.
“It’s so clear you’re a real musician,” said John Legend, who seemed to be kicking himself for not turning his chair. “I’m so excited to see where you go.”
Clarkson pleaded with Miles to join her team, tempting her with a sparkly Team Kelly T-shirt. But after Jonas pointed out their similarities -- both young songwriters from musical families -- she chose Jonas.
“We’ll make it to at least the finals and maybe all the way,” Jonas declared.
Miles’ performance got a lot of traction online -- Billboard’s web site used this headline: “The Voice Contestant Allegra Miles’ Voice Is So Stunning, You Won’t Believe She’s Only 16.”
Before the show aired, Miles told The Palm Beach Post in an interview that she “never thought it would happen for real.”
“After every audition that I didn’t get further in the process, a lot of times I’d be like ‘Maybe this is not meant for me’ - I’m just not meant to do this,” Miles said. “But I had a little voice in the back of my head - ‘This is something that would be really cool and really good for you, and would mean a lot.’”
“Use Somebody,” by Kings of Leon, is one of her favorite songs to cover. From E.R. Bradley's Saloon to Common Grounds coffee shop, fans in West Palm are often mesmerized by her stage presence, vocal skills and poise. (And the Kings of Leon song is one of her favorite covers.)
Preparing for ’that big moment’
Miles was confident and ready. But that wasn’t always the case.
“It’s almost like preparing for the impossible,” Miles said. It’s “a mental thing” and the nerves never seem to go away, on and off the stage, before and after the show, because “there is really nothing that can prepare you for that moment.”
But Miles, who is originally from San Diego and the Virgin Islands, was born for this moment. Her dedicated music family moved to West Palm Beach six years ago and kept the rhythm going. “Music has always been in my environment - it’s just been a given,” she said. She doesn’t recall when she actually set out to be a musician because it was just “innate.”
“I started playing guitar and writing songs when I was 12,” a fact that Jonas used to bond with her on the show Monday night.
It was just kind of a natural progression because of my mom - she was always playing gigs, and I always saw her and my dad playing together.”
Music and writing is also Mile’s personal refuge - the stage and page, she says, is where she finds her peace during her darkest times. It’s where she could “put into words what she was feeling.”
“In my lowest points of depression, when I was really questioning why I’m even here - the only thing that was a solace for me was music,” Miles said. “That’s the only thing. The only thing.”
Miles says that despite her many attempts at making the show, she always kept the faith and understood that individual “process” and “journey” is regulated by “timing.”
“If I had lost faith, I wouldn’t have done this. I wouldn’t be here,” Miles said.
“To realize in the back of your mind every time you get a rejection or something happens that's part of your journey. That’s making you stronger. That’s preparing you for your moment when it finally comes.”
“The Voice” airs Monday from 8 to 10 p.m. Eastern on NBC.
This story originally published to palmbeachpost.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.