Where Are They Now? - Q&A's With Notable Jenks Grads
Madi Metcalf - Country Singer and Former Contestant on "The Voice"
A new season of NBC’s hit show The Voice is underway and one recent Jenks grad knows exactly what it’s like to sing in front of famous recording artists and millions of people watching at home. In only a few short months, Madi Metcalf, one half of the country duo Alaska and Madi, went from singing on stage at the Jenks Performing Arts Center to the biggest stage of her life. Read more about how the teachers and students in the Jenks Vocal Music department helped shape Madi’s passion for performing and how she is pursuing the next step in her career.
What are your fondest memories of attending Jenks High School?
Metcalf: I have a lot of good memories! During my senior year, I was asked to get a group of people together and make a video of us singing the school’s Alma Mater so that we could have the whole school learn it! I made a lyric video for it and every teacher played it for their advisory class. It was really cool to be a part of that, and it was awesome to hear everyone singing it at games and pep assemblies!
Was there one particular teacher or principal who inspired you or made a lasting impact in your life?
Metcalf: Mr. Downey and Mrs. Hester made a HUGE impression on me. The vocal music department at Jenks is incredible! My two brothers (graduated in 2009 and 2010) were in the Trojanaires and musicals, and I remember growing up going to all their performances and wanting to be on that stage! When I was in the 8th grade I was selected for the All-State Honor Choir and got to go to OKC with the high school students, Mr. Downey, and Mrs. Hester. The trip started a really great relationship between the three of us. Mr. Downey has even come to a couple of the shows I have played recently!
How did performances and competitions with the Trojanaires prepare you for singing on “The Voice” and in front of large audiences?
Metcalf: It helped me tremendously! The two years I was in Trojanaires I had a solo in our competition show. It really helped me get rid of my stage fright!
Did you always dream of being a singer/performer when you were growing up? Can you see yourself doing anything else down the road?
Metcalf: When I was younger, I was a competitive gymnast. I thought that was what I was going to do for the rest of my life, but at the age of 11 I was injured and had to quit. I had to find something new to do so I joined a singing group. Alaska joined about a week later, we started singing together, and now I cant imagine doing anything else!
How did you become a contestant on “The Voice”? What were the steps in the audition process?
Metcalf: After high school, I moved to Texas with my parents and Alaska stayed in Tulsa trying to figure out her next move in life. We auditioned for the X Factor when we were 15 and it was an awful experience, so we weren’t really into the idea of trying out for another TV talent show. Our moms told us if we auditioned for The Voice in Austin, Texas in July (2013), they would take us to Schlitterbahn (a huge water park in New Braunfels, TX). We didn’t expect anything from our first open call audition but we ended up getting through to the next round and going to a call back in Austin about three days later. After three weeks, we got a call saying we had made it to the next round and they were flying us to L.A. for a week! When we got home from that we got an email saying we had been chosen to film a blind audition for the show and we went back out to L.A.!
Can you describe the nerves and the feeling of being on stage in front of the audience, the judges, and millions of people watching on TV?
Metcalf: It was pretty scary! It definitely helped that every time I was on that stage, I had my best friend standing right next to me! It was the chance of a lifetime and we feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be on the show.
What was it like being coached by Blake Shelton?
Metcalf: Blake is awesome! He is exactly how you expect him to be! He is super funny and sweet and just an awesome person to be around. I got to see him a couple months ago at CMA Fest in Nashville and it was like we had seen each other the day before. He’s a great guy!
Can you see yourself pursuing a solo career in the future?
Metcalf: I have kept the idea in the back of my mind that if “Alaska and Madi” doesn’t work out, I will still sing no matter what. Whether it be at my church or singing backup for someone, I’ll always be a singer.
How would you describe your style or brand of music?
Metcalf: This is one of the hardest questions we get asked! Country music these days has so many “sub-genres”. You’re either pop-country or rock-country or folk-country or red-dirt. We have always tried to stay true to traditional country music. I’d say we are a mixture of Miranda Lambert and western swing.
Which artists or bands inspire you?
Metcalf: I’m inspired by all genres of music, so my list of inspirations is very interesting. From Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys to the Pistol Annie’s to Dolly Parton to Sarah Vaughn to Sara Bareilles to Metallica. I’ve learned that I can be inspired by just about anything I listen to.
What is next for you both personally and professionally?
Metcalf: That is the question of the year for me. Being a musician, I never have a specific answer for that. So basically we are going to keep doing what we have been doing, performing, going to Nashville for meetings and events, recording and pushing our music! We still hold the hope of one day being “called up” to get a record deal. I guess it works the same way for me personally! We’ll see where life takes me ;)