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Meet Our Finalists!

Last week we announced the Semi-Finalists of the VoiceCouncil Singing Competition Summer 2017

9 of them have made it through to the final round, let’s have a listen!

Jayna Brown

Meet Last Year’s Winner

Jayna Brown won our competition last Winter. Despite being busy with school exams, she has still found the time to form her new band Fifth Note, perform around the U.S and write new material! You can follow her adventures on Facebook and Twitter

The Final Round

Our finalists have had to submit a brand new video for us, which we will be using to make our choice for an overall winner. We asked them to perform a song – the catch being we wanted it to be a unique interpretation; for example:

  • Sing it in minor if it’s usually in major
  • Sing it slower or faster than the original
  • Sing it in a different genre/style to the original

Here are the finalists who were brave enough to take on the challenge:

Kirsten Collins

Final entry: Rise

Self critique: I love doing genres outside of my box even though I don’t really live in a music box it’s important to challenge what’s in front of you. This song is super fun and relates to me in just trying to understand who we are and life itself without the pressure of someone else’s opinion. So that is why I picked it.

Original entry: Hello

Milena Bianco

Final entry: All By Myself

Self-critique: I always chose challenging songs, songs that cannot be performed by everyone. I think this suits my range very well and it is currently my favorite song. I sang it in a slower tempo, changed the key of the original song, gave it more rhythm, used more high pitches and also produced some riffs. The only difficulty I found in this song was the timing of breathing. But I focused and worked hard on it until I managed to keep the long notes for more than 13 seconds.

Original entry: Forever Young

Connect with Milena here.


Final entry: Closer

Self-critique: It was a song that I really enjoyed and liked at the time. I sang the female and male leads of the songs and accompanied it with a piano instrumental. Getting the takes right of course is the biggest difficulty when recording a cover song.

Original entry: One Republic Medley


Final entry: Runnin’

Self-critique: I chose this piece because I love the original. I wanted to mess around with a more relaxed version, which really highlighted the emotion of the piece. Obviously the piece has been slowed down, and a piano part replaces the upbeat electronic style. I changed some of the melodic phrases towards the end, and timing of the phrases throughout. Naturally, I have a pretty high voice so I struggled with the low notes in the song. Even though when with the correct technique for that part of my range (which is taking me a while to get to grips with) I can get down there and it sounds fine. 

Original entry: If I Ain’t Got You

Connect with ELENA here.

Harini Padmanabhan

Final entry: Aao Balma/Swasame

Self critique: This is a mash up of two Indian songs in Tamil language by the same film composer A.R. Rahman. It is an experimental recreation of Aao Balma and Swasame from the movie Tenali. I chose this piece to showcase the variations in my version of these two songs. I made them jazzy and also in minor as opposed to the originals that are in a major key. There was a tight deadline for this project and this was recorded and the video was shoot together in less than 3 days.

Original entry: Me, Myself and I

Tina Franklin

Final entry: A Broken Wing

Self-critique: I related to the song’s deep emotional message that no one can take away your dreams. We took out a little of the “country” sound, slowed it down creating a slightly rockin’, bluesy acoustic version; all the while keeping the emotional message of the original.

Original entry: 2 From the Heart

Connect with Tina here. 

Timothy Christian Liu

Final entry: People are Strange

Self-critique: I also chose this piece since this song resonates very deeply to me, especially since I have been through the situation the lyrics are about personally. I sang it in a higher key to get those notes right within and above my bridge  since I felt that I could then nail the emotional depth of the song slightly better by bringing more chest resonance up. I improvised near the end in order to heighten the climax  of the song.  I added a few vocal harmonies  in the second chorus as a tribute to psychedelic rock harmonies of the mid-late 1960s, while I also improvised the guitar solo and replaced the keyboard solo with several guitar harmonies.

Original entry: Blackbird

Connect with Timothy here.

Michael Jantzen

Final entry: Bird on a Wire

Self-critique: I think this song allows me to express my full vocal range, particularity the deeper aspects of my baritone. It also lends itself well to varied dynamics when delivering the story in the lyrics. The original is in ¾ time (or maybe we could say 6/8). My version is in 4/4 time. Even though the strumming is faster and more syncopated than the original, I actually sing the melody at a slower pace. I feel the slower melody allows me to bring out the emotion of the chorus by sustaining the higher notes longer, which does justice to the most desperate part of the song. Getting the timing right on the chorus melody was a challenge. 

Original entry: In the Cool of the Night

Ruth Anna Mendoza

Final entry: One Day

Self-critique: I chose to cover Matisyahu’s One Day in connection to what’s been happening to the world. With the wars, chaos and everything that’s been happening now. Most specially here in our country, the Philippines. The song tells us that we should never give up hope; hope for a better world, hope for world peace and that people will no longer live in fear. I just really want to share positive vibes to my listeners/followers that is why I chose this song. I played the song using my ukulele so it made it more cheery and lively.

Original entry: How Deep is Your Love

Connect with Ruth here.

Choosing a winner

We will be basing our decision on the final round of video submissions – but we will also be taking your comments into account.The VoiceCouncil team will be choosing and announcing a winner in a special article very soon!

Who do you think is the worthiest winner?

Comment below!

  • Jessie Hammett

    Very well done Milena for making it to the Finals in such a very hard competition. Although at just the age of 14 you are a very good contender for the final prize. Another stunning live performance. Keep up the good work! You have a very bright future!

  • Charlo

    Hi Milena Bianco. Reaching the final in such a tough competition from all around the world, competing against all ages, is another great milestone at a very young age of 14…This is an awesome interpretation of ‘All By Myself’ !! Dream Big Girl…keep flying :)

  • The Game Mainiac

    Milena Bianco..both ‘Forever Young’ and now ‘All by Myself’ gave me goosebumps all over. Way to go young lady! Incredible voice x

  • Nellie Taylor

    Loads of talent highlighted here. MIchael Jantzen’s voice and style draws out my own inner strength – it’s grounding and peaceful but not sleepy. This is an important experience for me a receiver of the musical gift being offered up.

  • Christine

    So great to see a talented and dedicated somwriter/singer such as Michael Jantzen in the finals here. I love his sound!

  • Tony Ivan O’Hara

    Very much enjoy Michael Jantzen’s warm, evocative take on a Leonard Cohen classic. His rich baritone gives each verse emotional weight culminating in the soaring notes of the chorus. His heartfelt interpretation convinces me that he believes every word he sings!

  • Trish Smith

    Yeah! Well done Michael Jantzen. Love the heart felt passion you put into your music which tugs at the heart strings. Pure clarity in your sound.

  • KJ Mortensen

    Congratulations to all the finalists. Many talented people in this final selection. While all the performers are talented, the two performances that struck me as having fulfilled the the instructions given were Platinum and Michael Jantzen. Both of these performers opted for what I consider to be raw videos of their voices without the added technology of reverb, microphones, and glitz. Don’t get me wrong – those things are important in music performances but if you are going to judge someone on their talent it is, in my opinion, better to do so in their natural state. Platinum took a duet and sang both parts with great emotion and depth while Michael Jantzen took a risk with a well known song from a revered deceased icon, changed the timing, and added his own soulful sweetness to it. That brought a new perspective and listening value to this song for me. If I were a judge and had to choose a winner between all these finalists, I would choose Michael Jantzen. He has fabulous vocal range, a soulful rich voice that captures attention and hearts. He is someone I can picture myself listening to on the radio or in my car, or enjoying seeing in person at a concert.

  • James

    The clarity of Tina Franklin’s voice is amazing! Very strong and passionate. Great job!

  • iseeabee

    I’m loving Tina Franklin’s version of “Broken Wing.” Gorgeous!

  • SarahJ

    What a great performance by Tina Franklin. Sincere emotion and her vocals are spot on. Especially soaring at the end.

  • Meredith

    Loved Tina Franklin’s “Broken Wing”! I like that it’s clear and powerful and soulful

  • Veronica

    You can hear the passion and feel her emotion in Tina Franklin’s voice in “Broken Wing”. I am not surprised that she is one of the finalist.

  • Jessie Hammett

    Hi All. Is this competition over yet? If not, when is the winner going to be announced please? Thank you

  • Linda Carroll

    Enjoyed ALL the contestants but I felt Tina Franklin was AWESOME!!

  • Louise Peterman

    Loved Tina Franklin’s version of “Broken Wing”. Her voice is so strong and sung with so much emotion. Just beautiful.

  • Robert King

    Enjoyed all the finalists. As a vocalist there are so many things to remember to do and not do and only until all these things become natural to you some can be noticed more than others. Breath control, timbre, intonation, smoothness when changing notes and especially when going from one register to another and so many other considerations.

    Taking all into account I really enjoyed Timothy C. Liu’s choice of song for his voice. It suits his voice extremely well as well as his obvious creativity on the tech side, drew me in. I listened to it three times to make sure I was hearing it right. Great job Tim, keep up the work.

    My second choice is also someone who no one else has chosen so far. I was captivated by Harini Padmanabhan voice, smooth, at times breathy, sultry. I do enjoy someone who is not afraid to offer westerners something a little different to listen to. The Asiatic influence is there and yet not over done as I have heard it in the past. Over done it actually becomes boorish and downright offensive, but, not here, this is just right.

    Special mention to Ruth Mendoza, nice arrangement, your voice is perfect for what you choose and I have not heard the Ukulele used to accompany a full song since Tiny Tim and Tip Toe Through The Tulips LOL.

    Good luck to all.