Monday, February 20, 2012

Jordis Unga's Journey from Rock Star: INXS to The Voice

Photo by Lewis Jacobs/NBC 

If you're a fan of reality competition shows, chances are you watched last week's episode of The Voice and listened to Jordis Unga sing "Maybe I'm Amazed" and thought, "She looks awfully familiar to me." There's a slight possibility you recognize her from an appearance as a young girl on Star Search, when Dweezil Zappa gave her three out of ten stars. But more likely you rooted for her on Rock Star: INXS in the summer of 2005. She made it all the way to fifth place but the title eventually went to J.D. Fortune.

In a recent conference call interview Jordis admitted that in her time since appearing on Rock Star she's had some highs and lows. She stated, "All those years in between Rock Star and The Voice there were ups and downs. There were record deals. There weren't. There were poor jobs. It's been such a journey for me to keep doing this for a living. Not a lot of people get as many chances as I've gotten."

She continued, "To be in this position again, I'm so thankful and overwhelmed and it means a lot to me to be here. It means a lot to people who have followed me throughout the years and all my successes, all my failures. I'm just holding on tight to this one and take it as far as I can for sure."

The singer said a lot has changed – from her music to her hairstyle — since her first reality competition series. "I was really young when I did Rock Star. I think I was 22. And it's been a lot of years. There's been a lot of growth. There's been a lot of changes. I've experimented with different types of music and different genres, different looks. Everybody's wondering where the dreads are? I haven't had those in years. I don't think the core of what I do as a vocalist has changed."

But she is thankful for a second chance now that she has grown as an artist. "My only interest now is to go back to why I started doing music in the first place — singing songs that are meaningful and trying to make people feel, because that's always been my gift as musicians to really pull at people's heart strings. And that's what I enjoy about doing what I do, is the emotion and everything about that. So what would I do differently? I really just want to do me right now — that's it. And hopefully I can come out of this with music that my fans can play in their homes because I haven't gotten there yet. It's ridiculous. So that's my goal."

Jordis revealed that she was not looking to get on another reality show when she as approached about doing The Voice. "It really wasn't on my radar. It was so fate the way that it happened. I had just gotten released from a record deal and within a few weeks the opportunity to audition came up. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to do it. I love this show."

The singer was at a point in her career that she was not pleased with, "What I was doing up until this point totally had more to do with image than it had to do with music. We were getting songs written for us and labels weren't interested in what we had to say or write or sing. We were given everything. So I was exhausted from that experience. I was exhausted from being in the gym 24 hours a day because that's all they wanted."

Jordis said The Voice helped her remember what's important. "This show, I wanted to do it for myself to remind myself that I've been doing this for this long for a reason. My voice is what has always been the driving force and I, after that experience, needed that reminder. And to be honest I was terrified. I spent a lot of time in L.A. and I don't care who you are, it can brainwash you a little bit. So when I hit that stage I just wanted to do what was in my heart and it came off really well."

She did so well that three judges fought to have Jordis on their teams. Still she couldn't help but wonder why Adam didn't turn around. She recalled, "It's pretty funny when I watch it because I'm like, 'I can't believe I just said that to him. I was rude. What was I thinking?' But before I went out there, Carson actually told me that 'Maybe I'm Amazed' was one of Adam's favorite songs. So I was like genuinely curious as to what I missed for him. And when Carson told me that, I thought I would have Adam for sure. And then I guess my head swelled a little bit because I got the rest of them. I had to ask him why he didn't turn around."

She added, "But if that is one of his favorite songs, it really makes sense to me that he would hold it close to his heart and really listen carefully to what I was doing and be critical with that. So I can't believe I challenged him on stage but I did."

Watch how Jordis does on The Voice, Monday nights at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. Central on NBC.

For related stories check out:
An Interview with The Voice Winner Javier Colon
Mark Burnett, Blake Shelton & Cee Lo Green from The Voice

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