Mount Shasta singer Camryn Brooks points to her roots during 'The Voice' blind audition
When Camryn Brooks selected the song she'd sing for her blind audition on NBC's "The Voice," she had her hometown of Mount Shasta in mind.
"The minute the spotlight went on and I saw those four big red chairs, I was like, 'this is real life,'" said 21-year-old Brooks, who sang a little-known Adele song, "Hometown Glory," for the show's four judges: Blake Shelton, Ariana Grande, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson.
Although Brooks didn't move on after the blind audition, which aired on Tuesday, Sept. 21, she said she plans to take vocal lessons — something she's never done before — and return to the show next year "with a vengeance."
"It was the biggest, scariest thing I've ever done, and I'd do it all over again," said Brooks, who grew up singing the National Anthem before many Siskiyou County sporting events.
Clarkson commented on Brooks' "beautiful" voice, and encouraged her to incorporate more of her own style into future performances.
"If Camryn can really tap into who she is, I think that she's gonna make an incredible vocalist," said Clarkson, who won the first season of American Idol in 2002 and went on to become a Grammy winning vocalist.
"The reason why you will succeed when you return is because of the way you handled this moment, and you are clearly not afraid to do to the work," said Grande, also a Grammy Award winner. "And I love that about you. Please come back."
Brooks said she would have been happy for any of the coaches to turn around to see her during her song, but she knew that if she had a choice, she'd pick Grande to work with in a heartbeat.
Brooks has auditioned for "The Voice" every year since she was a freshman at Mount Shasta High School — even getting a call back when she was 15 — but this was the first time she's been able to see herself on the nationally televised show.
"A lot of factors decide if it's your time," she said. "This was the one that finally landed."
Brooks said it's easy to watch the show from the comfort of your couch and imagine how you'd perform, but it's a different experience actually doing it. And after spending her life listening to the judges' music, to have the chance to perform for them was a special experience.
Brooks' favorite thing about NBC's "The Voice" are the segments about each contestant. "I love how they really emphasize the contestants' lives in such a positive light," she said.
Brooks' segment was taped in the Mt. Shasta area in May, in advance of the blind audition taping in June. It featured local scenes, and she told the story of growing up in a small, supportive community. It also highlighted her eldest brother Corben's 2008 football injury, which left him paralyzed.
"Corben had to relearn how to live," said Camryn's mother, Ronna, in the segment. "Cami, in particular, stepped up and was right there, hands on with Corben."
"She gave up being a little kid," said Corben, "to take care of me and do things that, as her older brother, I should have been doing for her."
While Brooks grew up in Mount Shasta and attended Mount Shasta High School her freshman year, she moved to Los Angeles with her mom and Corben, where she attended Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, with Corben's constant encouragement. There, she had the chance to perform with professionals and concentrate on her singing career.
Brooks said many contestants select a song that reflects the story they're telling in their introductory segment. She said she resonated with Adele's "Hometown Glory" because it "really embodies what it's like to come from a small town."
"It seems like it would be a sad song, since it's a ballad, but it's really about how much Adele loves her hometown," said Brooks.
"Being from a place like Mount Shasta, where everyone is so tight knit and supportive, it's amazing. The outpouring of support and love is something that you don't see in LA. When you live in the middle of it, you don't realize how special it is."
Skye Kinkade is the editor of the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and the Siskiyou Daily News. She is a fourth generation, lifelong Siskiyou County resident.