One of Santa Clarita’s own is making her mark in the music industry as she sailed through the first round of the Blind Auditions on NBC’s “The Voice” last week.
For 20-year-old Karli Webster, a current student at University of Southern California’s (USC) Thornton School of Music, the experience was both surreal and exciting.
“The last couple days have been very overwhelming but in the best possible way,” Webster said. “I’m just so grateful that the community has come together to support me and support the show. It’s truly been far more than I could have ever expected.”
During her Blind Audition, the singer-songwriter caught the attention of coaches Miley Cyrus and Adam Levine during her rendition of “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon.
Both coaches turned their chairs for Webster within the first 10 seconds of her song and fought to have her on their teams. Ultimately, Webster chose to take a spot on Cyrus’ team.
“I loved ‘Hannah Montana’ when I was little,” Webster said. “She was my absolute idol and she was the reason I started writing my own music.”
Even weeks after the experience, Webster is still in shock over the opportunity she was given to be on “The Voice.”
“I never thought that I would be in this place. I never expected that I would be on Miley Cyrus’ team. I never expected that I would be signing with her, working with her, learning from her,” she said.
Passion for Music
Born and raised in the Santa Clarita Valley, Webster grew up with a passion for 1970s music and classical piano.
“When I was younger I wanted to be a classical pianist. I wanted to go to Julliard to study classical music,” she said. “It wasn’t until I started writing my own music that I wanted to be a performer… I had this quick switch when I was younger from wanting to be this classical piano performer to wanting to be my own musician.”
Webster also found her passion for singing when she began participating in musical theater at about 5 years old.
“I loved watching the way that music could make people smile and that really pushed me to continue performing,” she said. “If I could make people smile that’s exactly what I wanted to do and if I can do that with my voice, that’s even better.”
After graduating from Canyon High School, Webster went on to College of the Canyons (COC) where she took a songwriting class and discovered her interest in writing songs about people she knows or meets.
“My experience at COC really opened me up to a community of songwriters and musicians who also want to do what I want to do,” Webster said. “I love taking other people’s experiences and turning it into a song because someone can relate to it.”
After she transferred to USC and continued her studies of the music industry, Webster decided to “go for it” and attend for the show’s open call audition in February.
“Music has always been my number one passion,” Webster said. “It wasn’t until I finally decided there’s nothing to lose if I just auditioned for this show… and that’s what brought me here today.”
The Voice Stage
Before she took “The Voice” stage, Webster said she was surprisingly calm due to more than a month’s worth of preparation with the show’s team.
“There’s a whole month of work that’s put onto this show before we even hit that Blind Audition stage so it’s just very rewarding to be able to have that opportunity regardless of what happens,” Webster said. “I was so grateful to stand on that stage and sing for the audience and sing for the coaches. I was very clam and excited for whatever was going to happen.”
And Webster left it all out on the stage in a performance that reached the top of the iTunes charts last week.
“I’ve had dreams come true in the past couple of days,” she said. “My Blind Audition song made the iTunes charts which is something that I would have never expected for myself. It’s a dream that I’ve had since I was a little girl and this show helped make that come true.”
Both on and off “The Voice” Webster hopes to use her platform to empower young people, especially young girls, to sing and make music.
“What I wanted to do on the show was to represent all of the strong women who have revolutionized music for women,” Webster said. “That’s what’s inspired me my whole life and that’s what I want to do outside of ‘The Voice’ as well.”
She also hopes that her own experience encourages others to not give up on their dreams and to continue to work to become the best they can be.
“I would have never expected anything like this to happen to me, but, because my family believed in me and kept on pushing me, I still believed in myself and had that little fire in me,” Webster said. “Any dream that anyone has is so capable of being achieved and I’ve learned that in the past couple of days.”
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_