Dani Moz made a deal with aspiring musicians Wednesday at Bethlehem Central High School.
“If you sing for me, I’ll sing for you,” said Moz, who became a sensation on NBC’s “The Voice” this year.
Moz, who as Danielle Mozeleski graduated from the Delmar high school in 2005, listened as teens offered their renditions of “America the Beautiful” and the Beatles’ “My Life.” She took some time for questions and answers — and to dish a little about life on television — before returning the musical favor.
Moz has been on the go since late April, when she was knocked off the hit singing program during live elimination trials. She’s been hanging in Los Angeles, writing songs and preparing for performances. One gig will take place Saturday, when Moz will appear at FLY92.3 Summer Jam 2014 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
The 27-year-old blonde was glad for the chance to renew friendships with former teachers and meet students. She was dressed rock star cool in a short black leather jacket, black tank top, black and white print pants and short black leather boots.
“When I was in school, I just loved it when alumni would come back and talk to us about their experiences, whether it was something musical or really anything,” Moz said. “It’s just so nice to see what the future could hold for you as a high school student. The fact that I went to BCHS, graduated in ’05, and here I just came off ‘The Voice’ … it’s like, ‘You guys can do it, you’re just as capable, I’m real, I was a student here.’ ”
Moz can’t wait for Saturday — she will be third on the eight-act “Summer Jam” schedule. Her 3:35 p.m. slot is after Timeflies and before Icona Pop.
“It’s going to be so exciting,” she said. “I grew up going to SPAC, watching and idolizing all my favorite musicians and bands. The fact that I’ll be taking that stage, it will be a dream come true for sure. And I know I’ll have my family and friends and fans in the audience.”
For her goodwill appearance Wednesday, Moz was back in the choral room at Bethlehem High. About 80 members of the Choraliers — preparing for a concert that will be held tonight — had questions about life on and off the air.
“What are your favorite hobbies besides singing?” asked senior Greg Brazis-Eberle.
“Well, I’m big into yoga and I’m a huge skier,” Moz answered. “I know it’s not the season right now, but I’ll find any time to do that. I’m actually learning how to surf now that I’m in L.A. It’s really, really hard.”
“Be careful of the sharks,” warned Brazis-Eberle.
“Yeah, sharks,” Moz said. “In L.A., there’s actually a crazy amount of sea lions, if you’re swimming, which is really cool.”
“You know, they eat sea lions,” quipped Brazis-Eberle.
Others were more interested in people from “The Voice.” One girl wondered if any of the contestants were mean.
“No, none of the contestants were mean,” Moz said. “But I will say — if you guys watched Josh Kaufman, who won — he was such a sweetheart and so nice, but the entire time he never talked to anyone. He was always to himself, always had his headphones in, always had his nose in a book. He never really tried to be friendly and ‘kumbaya’ with everyone because he was super focused.”
Moz wanted updates about Jason Dashew, Bethlehem’s choir director. “Does he still do — it always used to make us so mad when we’d all be talking — and he’d just be, ‘I’ll wait.’ ” Moz said. “I don’t have any other funny Dashew stories. Does he still do the musicals? He was a great choir director, he’s huge-big on the warmups and those are super important. Even I do warmups every single day, even if I’m not going to be singing.”
Moz also let kids in on a “Voice” secret. Her powerful version of “The Edge of Glory” almost didn’t make it to TV. Moz’s coach, Shakira, and show executives wanted her to sing the piece the way Lady Gaga recorded it. Moz rebelled and won the chance to rehearse it her way.
“As soon as I finished, everyone was silent and Shakira started to cry and clap and she said, ‘You have to do it like that!’ ” Moz said.
None of the kids were silent after Moz belted out “Edge” for her part of the singing bargain. They all applauded.
Dave Norman, the Bethlehem school district’s music supervisor, thought Moz’s appearance was terrific.
“I think it’s important for the kids to see one of our BC grads who went through different aspects of our program and hit it big,” he said. “Being on a national program with such popularity as ‘The Voice’ … she’s still very much part of our hometown community, it’s just a really neat connection for the kids.”