Mitchell Lee Impresses Blake Shelton with his Blind Audition
From sneaking out of the barracks to The Voice stage, South Carolina native Mitchell Lee is ready to show America what led him to move to Nashville and pursue a career in music.
Music was not at the forefront for Lee but it always remained in the background. Music took a front row seat for Lee towards the end of college. After entering an open mic competition with encouragement from a friend. Lee got the attention of a booking agent and began playing shows around Charleston. Lee who attended a Military School in South Carolina would sneak out of the barracks to play gigs. After college Lee started a band called Southwood, which led to a move to Nashville.
“Well I definitely believe in going big or going home, so if I was going to put that much energy and focus into music I [needed to move to Nashville]. I started a band after I got out of college and was able to garner some success with the band. After we garnered enough success opening for some national acts I tried to convince them to move to Nashville. But Charleston is such a beautiful city I guess I couldn’t convince them,” said Lee
“The point of moving to Nashville was not to say that I thought I was the next best thing. It was that I knew coming into music at the end of college I had a lot to learn. I felt like being in the mix, being in Nashville where it was all happening was the best place for me to have a crash course in learning all the things I needed to as quickly as possible,” continued Lee.
The move to Nashville ultimately led Lee to The Voice stage. For his blind Audition Lee sang “Hold My Hand” by Hootie & the Blowfish. Lee’s Performance led to the chair turn of three of The Voice Coaches; Jennifer Hudson, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton. The talented artist admits that choosing his coach was an extremely tough choice. Lee would end up choosing Blake Shelton because of one very important thing the Country Music Superstar said.
“You know it was really tough because each time they spoke I felt like they sold me. I changed my mind so many times up there. The one thing that was kind of the nail in the coffin I think for me for Blake was when he said, I think it’s going to be important to pick the right songs. That is like a rock thing with a southern vibe about it, and song selection was going to be really important. and I did agree with that. I thought that same thing going in to this competition. So he kind of got me on that line. And I ultimately decided to go with Blake there,” said Lee.
While Lee chose to be on Team Blake, going into his Blind Audition he was hoping coach Miley Cyrus would turn her chair. Lee felt as though he and Cyrus were at similar points in their careers with Cyrus returning to her roots.
"I felt like I was catching her at a really cool crossroads of her coming back to her roots from a pop career. In a way I felt like I identified with that because I didn't identify so much as a classic country artist. I felt like I was more a pop rock guy that had a folky or rootsy southern undertone. I thought that the two of us together being similar in age, kind of in the same lane. At least what I thought she was coming back to. I thought that would make a good pairing for a team," said Lee.
Lee chose to sing “Hold My Hand” by Hootie & the Blowfish because he felt it best represented him as an artist. Lee grew up listening to Hootie & the Blowfish, Matchbox 20, Counting Crows, and Carolina artist Edwin McCain. For Lee singing “Hold My Hand” gave him the best opportunity to land on a team.
“For me I knew it was going to be on the biggest stage that I had ever been on. In front of celebrities and the tv audience. I did not want to have to worry about remembering new lyrics. So I went with a song that I knew I was comfortable with, that I had played before, and that meant something to me. You know as a Carolina Kid Hootie & the Blowfish was a huge band. I felt like that was authentic to who I was and how I kind of got started,” said Lee.
Like many artists who compete on The Voice Lee auditioned because of the encouragement of his friends and family.
“What brought me to The Voice was, overwhelming support from my friends who always encouraged me to do something like this. It was a little outside of my comfort zone coming from a military school background. [After] moving to Nashville there was certain venue I played at regularly, and the guy who booked me there actually sent in a video clip of me playing to The voice. I received an email from The Voice asking me if i’d like to audition and I figured why the heck not…” said Lee
Lee will now move on to The Battle Rounds where he will face one of his teammates for a shot to move on to the Knockout Rounds. With each performance on The Voice Lee hopes to inspire fans to follow their dreams.
“My hopes for The Voice are to show people if you just have a dream and you have the courage to work hard enough to chase them, and courage not meaning that you're not scared meaning that you're terrified. You make sacrifices but you do it anyway. I want to show that anything can happen as long as you have the courage to just go for it. Like I said I love to go big or go home.”