By Rob Buffum
“I have always loved the medical field as well as helping people,” said Audra McLaughlin, a recent contestant on “The Voice,” in a recent telephone interview. “In music you help people as well, but I
was unsure if I could make it in the music industry so I picked the medical assistant program so I could help people.”
Like many DCCC students, McLaughlin changed her major more than once. Her journey to find herself took her
from a psychology major to liberal arts and most recently back to the medical assistant program at DCCC.
McLaughlin said she never imagined she would be where she is today.
Most recently she has been in Nashville working on her first single, “Wish I Could,” with Sean Lacy which was released Sept. 22, the day before her performance at the Fall Festival.
Her career began in Delaware County, she said. Before “The Voice” McLaughlin joined the Delaware County “Let There Be Rock” school, founded by John and Melissa Daley. The school serves Delaware County as a combination community center and music school to empower kids to be the next generation of rock stars according to its website.Shortly after McLaughlin joined the Daleys, they asked her if they could send an audition video to producers at “The Voice.” Two weeks later, McLaughlin found herself in New York City for a private audition for the show.
The next thing she knew, she was in LA in front of the show’s producers.
They called her shortly after and told her she had made the cut to the blind auditions that air on national television, a privilege given to only 130 participants.
McLaughlin’s blind audition was recorded on the first day of filming. Her rendition of John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery” quickly won her favor from all four judges.
“I was so overwhelmed when I saw all the chairs turn around for me,” McLaughlin said of her experience on The Voice. “I was so nervous but definitely excited at the same time. It was a crazy experience. I was standing in front of four [music] idols. I remember laughing the whole time because I didn’t know what to say. At the time it felt like a dream.”
Back home, she had to keep quiet about how she did until the show had aired.
On May 6 the episode during which McLaughlin was sent home aired. She said it saddened her to leave the show, yet she was grateful for the opportunity it gave her to work with such talented musicians.
Since then McLaughlin has been working on writing songs for her debut EP album. Going between home and Nashville has become a regular part of her life, she said, but she welcomed the opportunity to return to DCCC for its Fall Festival.
At the DCCC Fall Festival McLaughlin took the stage after being introduced by Student Government Association president Roberta Kelly. McLaughlin played several cover songs, and a few originals she has been writing for her up-and-coming EP.
She played her song, “Wish I Could,” a duet she co-wrote with Shawn Lacey that was released on Sept 23. Also in McLaughlin’s set was her song, “Breaking Through,” written in support of her anti-bullying campaign. McLaughlin closed by saying thank you to her fans and offering the chance to meet with some. Approximately 25 people stayed to get autographs and pictures.“She was great,” commented Mona Nyree, a communications major at DCCC. “I felt proud to see that someone from my school was on ‘The Voice.’ She brought positive attention to our awesome school.”