Local Singer Trying to Hit it Big on 'The Voice'
Oct 08, 2015 05:01PM
● By Steven Jack
Fox Valley singer Keith Semple will next appear in the battle rounds of NBC's 'The Voice.' (Photo courtesy of ScreenCap)
Regular viewers of the TV show The Voice know it’s usually pretty easy to find one contestant to support.
Well, that got even easier this season when Fox Valley rock singer Keith Semple made it through the 'nerve-wracking' blind audition round Sept. 21 after chair turn-arounds from coaches Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani. Semple chose to join Team Adam through the battle rounds and hopefully onto the upcoming live shows. The eventual winner of The Voice will win $100,000 and a recording contract.
“I just did what I do, and hoped someone would turn around,” said Semple, who performed Bon Jovi's hit ballad I'll Be There for You during his blind audition. “The thing that people who watch the show don't see is that there is so much time from when you first walk out on the stage until you perform. … The audience is just dead silent until you start, and you have these four judges who you can’t see. In any other situation, this sounds like a nightmare scenario.”
Semple, who lives near Wolf’s Crossing Road in Aurora with his wife and 2-year-old daughter, is the former lead singer of PrairieFest favorite 7th Heaven and is currently playing all over the area with his latest band, Semple. He was asked to audition for the show after producers saw an online performance on talent-hosting site reverbnation.com.
After an initial audition in February, Semple has been back and forth to Los Angeles several times for more performances just to make it to the blind audition stage.
“Something else that people don’t see is all the work it takes just to get to the blind auditions,” he said. “The public doesn’t get to see the struggle we go through. If you’ve made it to the blind auditions on that show, you deserve a big pat on the back just for that.”
Semple is used to hard work, though, and his success could never be described as overnight. The 34-year-old emigrated to the United States from his native Northern Ireland 12 years ago, leaving everything behind for a shot at making it in the music business. He spent six years touring with 7th Heaven, but officially left the band in 2012.
“I left the band because I was still striving to make it in the music business,” he said. “They didn't really have a desire to continue the struggle, and I knew I still had a chance to make it.”
There’s no doubt Semple’s local family believes in him, too.
“We’ve known since the first time we heard him sing that this guy has an amazing amount of talent, not just as a singer, but also as a performer,” said his sister-in-law Colette Liska, who lives in Montgomery. “So, we can’t wait to see him in the upcoming battle rounds as he shows the world what he can do.”
The battle rounds of The Voice, which have already been taped, begin Monday and continue into the following week. The national spotlight isn’t stopping Semple from performing locally, though. Thursday night he played a show at Suzy’s Bar and Grill n Yorkville, and will perform at Tommy Nevin’s in Plainfield Oct. 17.
“This is my job,” Semple said, “I don’t make money any other way. So, if I’m not playing shows, the mortgage isn’t getting paid.”
Continuing to play local shows is also a way for Semple to keep in touch with his large local fanbase, which since his appearance on The Voice continues to grow.
“One thing about Chicago area fans is that they are so loyal,” he said. They are crazy about making sure they support you. … I love going to the shows and seeing their reactions.”
Semple will need that local support if he makes it past the battle rounds into the live rounds where fan voting determines who stays on the show. No matter what happens on this season of The Voice, Semple said he hopes the national exposure will help propel his music career even further.
“I’m hoping that I come out of it with some form of record deal and some form of publishing deal and start getting my stuff out to a larger audience,” he said.
To see Keith Semple’s blind audition on The Voice, check out the video below. Catch him in his battle round performance coming up in the next two weeks. Producers are not allowed to say on which episode Semple will perform.
The Voice airs on NBC on Mondays and Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
KEITH SEMPLE BLIND AUDITION