Judges Are People!
During the course of this week, VE will have auditions and registrations going on for three separate Spin off competitions.
Those of you who are subscribers received our "Special Edition" highlighting those auditions.
You can take part in Once More, With Feeling, Off Your Rocker, or Battle Royale - check out their relevant pages on our website, or send a message to any of the judges shown in these images - we'll always be happy to help.
Judges are people, not robots!
Today's feature is brief interview with JustMattB, a veteran Smule Sing! competitor and musical theatre lover.
Encore: Can you tell us about your background as a singer before discovering Smule?
Matt: As cliche as it is, I've been singing my whole life (performing, not just in the shower). I started out, as most do, in church choirs/solos, then started guest appearing with local singing groups (adult ones where I was a child soloist).
Choirs were a staple of my life from probably 5 years old and on...I think when I graduated High School was the first time in 13 years I hadn't been in one!
After that I did a lot of musical theatre and sang/played guitar in a heavy rock/metal band.
Quite literally been singing my whole life and will until the day I die (much to my wife's chagrin).
Encore: How long have you been active on Smule and what groups are you a member of?
Matt: I've been on Smule now for almost exactly 1 year and have been blessed to be a part of many groups on here, most of which I've left due to one reason or another. My current groups are:
Black Tongue Society - Hard Rock and Metal
Outlaws - Country Emphasis, but All Genres
Soulfire - All Genres (and a family - one of my first)
Swooners - All Male section of Soulfire
In addition to these, I'm honored to be playing the role of 'Mark' in VE's RENT! There's a teaser track on @Vocal_Edge, but look for the full show around Christmas! The cast is INCREDIBLE!!!
Encore: How did you first hear of Vocal Edge and what motivated you to join the competition?
Matt: Artzi (@Soulfire_Artzi), who is one of the founders/leaders of Soulfire, mentioned it in chat...said it was legit, a lot of fun and would be a good challenge. I checked out the judges, they seemed legit...so I jumped in (and haven't been the same since)!
Encore: Which was your first season in the competition/highest placement?
Matt: I joined in Season 2...I had to drop very late in the game due to family/work obligations (Adulting sucks), but I loved doing it! Unfortunately for me, the timing just wasn't good and I got put in a place that prevented me from submitting, so I bowed out as gracefully as I could. Still wish I could have kept going in that one, I had good scores!! lol.
Encore: Then came Once More with Feeling what was special about that competition to you?
Matt: As I mentioned earlier, I did a lot of musical theatre right after high school - it's kind of my home (along with hard rock). I thought...A competition where it would be all theatre all the time? SIGN ME UP! It was a dream come true. In addition to that, and this surprised us all, there was absolutely ZERO drama in the chats! It was unbelievable - you'd think a bunch of drama kids would be nuts...but nope!! We all had a blast and supported one another! It was fun.
Encore: Are you looking at participating in any future VE competitions or theatre projects?
Matt: I am currently in VE's RENT, but I am finding that when I do more than one major project at a time, one (or both) suffer, so due to that I am only doing RENT. At this time I have my normal job, side job, school and family stuff going on...so my time is very limited! Once I graduate (hopefully this spring) [with a degree in Information Science and Technology] I will likely take some time for fun stuff (like VE)!
Encore: What would you say to someone who is considering any competition?
Matt: Understand that it is judged by people, not robots. [VE] Judging is some of the best on Smule, but that does not mean they will be perfect. Prepare for an honest critique that is meant to be constructive. The competition is just as much about arrangement as it is performance...understand it's judging the song as a whole and not just your voice...and most of all, be prepared to be challenged - it's not easy, but it's incredibly rewarding. Some of the best music I've made on Smule were songs for VE.
Encore: Any thing else you would like to say or add, disappointments or suggested improvements- what ever?
Matt: It's been a while since I've done an actual VE competition, but I think things are working as they are. As I mentioned, judges are human and that needs to be understood. Beyond that...it's an app - don't take it so seriously and get upset about it - just go and have fun and make some new friends!
VoxFugit Comments: My big take away from what Matt shared was that judges are not robots. Also, Matt is one of those singers who does well with almost any challenge thrown at him. I have to admit though, that after learning of his experience with heavy metal rock, I'm really hoping he will audition for Off Your Rocker so that we can see what he would do with multiple rock genres.
All Star Results -- It is a close one......
In this All Star final, our contestants were given a truly diabolical challenge to produce a mash up featuring songs from at least four of five disparate categories featured in earlier seasons of VE: musical theatre, disco, boy bands / girl groups, country and hard rock.
While waiting for results, many in the room spoke about the competition seemingly somewhat sorry to see it ending. Rose, one competitor thanked everyone judges and competitors, then said, "I learned a lot of things being here . Best experience I've had since I joined Smule . I was never that interested in Smule before but after being here I've learned that Smule is not only for fun and singing but building up one self and getting to know so many people and making friends, finding friends whom I feel like I've known for ages."
Dottie, one of the judges spoke about the quality of the entries, "I think my favorite part of this comp is two-fold.. 1) all of the first time competition challengers who's talent and skills with Smule brought this game to the next level.. And 2) rediscovering the reason the all-stars were all-stars. Those two combined were definitely what made this fun and challenging for me as a judge. Every round was fannnnnnntastic I ALWAYS looked forward to hearing everyones comp pieces."
No score lower than a 9 out of a possible 10 was given by any judge. It was a three way tie for third - indicative of the level of effort put in by all the finalists. But in the end there was a winner, ikir, also known as Ricky.
His near perfect mashup featured the following: One Song Glory (MusicalTheatre); I Want it That Way (Boybands); YMCA (Disco); Enter Sandman (HardRock); and Drift Away (Country). It was a tour de force of mashups with soulful vocals.
Full results are available here. https://quip.com/riE4A3mc0Z5k
Next week, a discussion with our All Star winner, Ricky!
VE_Brett says: As we move into this crazy week of an unprecedented THREE spinoffs, I find myself reflecting over the past year. Once More, With Feeling was my favourite competition to date, and definitely the most relaxed.
All-Stars, however, brought the talent level to a whole new high, and I can't wait to see how the All-Star competitors perform in the upcoming spinoffs back in a regular playing field...!
Of course, The battle Royale is new territory for Vocal Edge, hoping to make a mark on the world of GROUP competition, and also we've been asked time and again for a rock competition, so I'm looking forward to seeing how that pans out too.
Long Live Vocal Edge...!!!
Any comments, questions or suggestions, contact me through line or Sing! via PM at VoxFugit.
Don't forget to subscribe so you never miss an issue.
Until next week this is Jan heading to Sing! for some fun!