The Voice has claimed the throne of music-related reality television programming long held by American Idol, and as a result the vast majority of aspiring vocalists are now turning to NBC’s hit series to help take their careers to the next level. There is no denying that an appearance on a singing competition could potentially help your career, but just how much it aides you and what, if any lonterm benefits exist is something very few have taken the time to address. Today, in a very open editorial, singer/songwriter Jane Decker talks about her journey on The Voice and how she feels about the experience now that she’s spent some time away from the popular reality series.
Hello Haulix readers! My name is Jane Decker, and I’m a solo artist from Cincinnati. My music is more of an 80’s pop vibe – I like my tunes to be funky fresh and perfect for a dance party. I just turned 21 years old, and it’s crazy to think that I’ve been in the music industry this long. When I say “Music industry” I mean I’ve been hustlin, trying to get my name out there.
I started out in a pop rock band at the age of 14. We were called Delta Delta! and then renamed Formulas after being picked up by a management company. It was a really cool first experience for me. We recorded our first EP with Kevin Gates (Nevershoutnever, Cady Groves, Breathe Electric) It was the first time I was in a real studio recording music that would be sold. I learned a lot from the band. For instance, I didn’t know that people wouldn’t come to your shows if you didn’t promote them. To be honest, I was kind of an idiot back then. I just didn’t get anything (not that any 14 year old girl would.) While I was still in Formulas, my brother told me that if I was willing to record some of the other songs that didn’t fit for formulas, that he would pay for it. I of course took the offer, and then Belle Histoire was born. Belle Histoire did some cool stuff in my opinion. We toured, had interest from agents, were signed to a small label, and had good management.
I loved that band, it was important. In the middle of a tour, I was basically encouraged from an old manager to try out for THE VOICE. I thought it was lame, I didn’t get why I would do that. At the same time, It seemed dumb for me not to try out. I felt I had a decent chance, I was young, and my voice was at least kind of interesting. In July, my mom, brother, and I all flew to New York so I could go to this audition. I was terrified, every other girl in the waiting room was absolutely beautiful, and also seemed to have the “look” that girls on reality singing competitions have. I was kind of terrified, but also pretty confident in that fact that I wouldn’t be there unless I had something that was making sense for the casting team of the show. I sang my songs, and then they say thank you and let you leave. They don’t really tell you if you’ve made it or not, there is a lot of waiting for that.
Three months later, I was in Pittsburgh in the middle of a tour with Belle Histoire, I get a call from an unknown number basically saying “You’ve made it, you are gonna come out to this location and fulfill the rest of the audition process for the show. It felt pretty incredible, because I honestly didn’t think I would make it. Fast forward to my Blind Audition. I felt pretty confident, but I was also super nervous. By the time I auditioned in front of the judges, there weren’t many spots left on teams. So I honestly felt like the judges were being picky on who they wanted. It felt kind of crazy that I didn’t make it, but at the same time, I don’t feel angry about it. I followed my season, and I noticed a huge trend. Unless you win the show, you don’t get a ton of crazy opportunities. Yes, being on the show would’ve been best for me, but I also think that being identified as a singing competition show contestant isn’t the most prestigious form of "Making it”. I think if I would’ve kept going in the show, I would’ve felt a feeling identical to the one I had when I was initially asked to audition – Fake. I know it’s kinda silly to say “This is my craft, my art, blah blah blah” since I’m a pop singer, but it really is my CRAFT. I really like that I got to decide what songs were gonna be on my EP, and that I get to decide if a show if worth it for me to play.
It’s definitely gonna take me longer to get where I want to be, but I’d rather have an opinion on how I get there. What I want is to start building a bigger fan base, get a really good booking agent, and then use all of that as leverage to sign a deal with a label that I really feel confident in. I don’t want to ‘pre-sign’ a contract that a random attorney is looking at telling me it’s fine. This may seem like a very backwards way of looking at how I want my career to be, but I think it’s the most honest. I don’t really care about selling out stadiums, or being a celebrity. I want to be paid for writing good music. For me to do that, I need to get good licensing opportunities, play effective shows, have marketable merchandise, and have a lasting brand that people feel is able to be relied upon. I don’t fully know where all of that plays into the infamous “getting signed” that all artists want but know nothing about, but If a label can help me do that, then get this girl signed!
As for right now, I have a really great manager, and a great publicist that’s helping get my name out there. It been very helpful for the begininng of the Jane Decker journey. I’m already very lucky to be in the place that I’m in.