When Kelly Clarkson asked Queensbury native Delaney Silvernell to join her team on NBC’s “The Voice,” Silvernell became a part of more than Clarkson’s posse.
She became part of a growing group of young musicians from the greater Capital Region who have found success on “The Voice,” the Emmy-award winning singing competition. There was Sawyer Fredericks from Fultonville and more recently Moriah Formica from Latham
But during the blind audition, all that Silvernell could think about when Clarkson turned her chair was that THE Kelly Clarkson was looking at her and she was clearly happy with what she was hearing.
“For lack of a better term, I think I blacked out a little bit. It was so overwhelming and very intense so I really just tried to assure myself that I’d been preparing for a moment like that my entire life and I was the only thing that could get in my way in that moment,” Silvernell said.
For her blind audition, Silvernell sang “In My Blood,” by Shawn Mendes. It seemed like the perfect song for Silvernell to sing and obviously, Clarkson agreed because she shouted “I love this song,” during the audition and got up from her chair to dance.
“They didn’t show this on TV, but she said that she was listening to that song in the car on the way to the blind auditions that day,” Silvernell said.
It was kismet. Though Silvernell, who is 21, seemed perfectly at home on stage, she doesn’t come from a family of musicians, but a family of wrestlers.
“The past three generations of my family have all grown up in Queensbury. My grandparents were very involved with the wrestling community and my dad wrestled in high school,” Silvernell said. But it’s not just the men. Her mom, who is the principal of Glens Falls High School, also managed the wrestling team and Silvernell herself wrestled until she was about 11 or 12.
“Basically because it was a co-ed team and it got to the point where boys wouldn’t want to wrestle me because if I beat them then they got beat by a girl but if they beat a girl then that looked bad,” Silvernell said.
Instead, she started to transition out of sports and into music.
In middle school, she got involved with the Lake George Youtheatre. Although she’d been singing for as long as she could talk, working with the Luce family, who run the theater program, was incredibly influential in her career.
“That was the biggest turning point for me as a musician and [it was] when I realized that this is what I wanted to do,” Silvernell said.
Starting at age 12, she also took private lessons from Meredith Reed at the Glens Falls Music Academy. At Queensbury High School, she took all the music classes she could and graduated a year early at the age of 17. Silvernell went on to study music at Berklee, where she graduated a year early as well, in December of 2017.
“[Graduating early] was an accident but it ended up being a blessing,” Silvernell said.
Come January, she had moved out to Los Angeles, taken an internship at Kobalt Music Company and got called in for an audition on “The Voice.”
It wasn’t the first time she’d auditioned. She’d tried once in New York and once in Philadelphia, but this time was different. Silvernell was called in for two other auditions after the first one in January and things seemed hopeful.
At the same time, she was working for Kobalt and trying to settle into her new place in Los Angeles. However, she got another callback, only this time they asked her if she wanted to be on the show. Because of the show’s schedule, she wouldn’t be able to keep her schedule at Kobalt.
“It was an entry level job and I just learned that I am not a desk job kind of person through that experience,” Silvernell said. Needless to say, she took the spot on “The Voice.”
They filmed the blind audition in June and her parents got to be there. However, they were all under very strict contracts that stipulate they can’t say anything about what happens with the show.
“We recorded that back in June and just weren’t allowed to tell anybody. We’ve been sitting on this all summer,” Silvernell said.
It was difficult to keep quiet about it mostly because she was so excited to tell people who have worked with and supported her musically. But having the episode air this week came with its own difficulties.
“Especially when things start airing on TV, it gets a little crazy,” Silvernell said, “Part of the vetting process to cast for this season, [was] psych evaluations.”
“You’re just thrown into the public eye so I think mostly I’ve grown emotionally and mentally and learning that you can be the most talented person in the world or the least talented person in the world and people will have their own opinions no matter what. . . . I think everything happens for a reason because truthfully speaking I don’t think I would have been ready when I auditioned three years ago so it’s a good thing that it happened now and not back then,” Silvernell said.
While the rest of the world waits to find out what will happen on the next episodes, Silvernell is looking forward to working on her own music once the show has aired (she’s not allowed to record or play any gigs while the show is on). But she’s grown to love songwriting and already has a few pieces written, mostly a mix of pop and R&B, inspired by musicians like Adele, Demi Lovato, Kehlani, and SZA. Another influence is, of course, Kelly Clarkson.
“[It’s] so funny that I’m on her team now because I remember listening to ‘Miss Independent’ with my Walkman in second grade,” Silvernell said. That was quite a few years before she started songwriting, but it shaped the way she thought about making a good song.
“I’ve always been a writer but I really didn’t channel that writing into music until I went to Berklee,” Silvernell said, “To write a good song you really have to emotionally connect with it and I just wasn’t really in touch with myself enough to know what I wanted to write about until I started expanding my world a little bit.”
That’s certainly happened over the last year both personally and musically. According to Silvernell, the band that plays on the show is incredibly musically and technically talented so it challenged her to perform to that level. Many of them are Berklee graduates so it was also a unique experience to play with alumni.
“I’m still finding my footing but it’s been an incredible experience so far and I’ve grown a lot,” Silvernell said. She’s also proud to be representing Queensbury on the national stage and to join the group of Capital Region natives who have gone on “The Voice.”
In the next episode she is in, people can expect a battle round, according to Silvernell.
“Everybody on [Kelly’s] team has to battle another person on the team and fight for a spot,” Silvernell said, “It’s pretty high stakes.”