Schenectady family cheers on ‘Voice’ semifinalist
SCHENECTADY He’s not quite a hometown boy, but the family of one of the semifinalists on “The Voice” lives here in Schenectady.
They threw a party at the Van Dyck on Monday night to watch the show together and cheer on the boy who sang on their family camping trips and always traveled with his guitar.
Tony Lucca, 36, is competing on the singing show, which leads to music contracts for the best performers. He’s made it into the top eight, which guarantees him a small contract. Now he’s hoping to go even further.
Results from Monday’s show will be announced tonight; viewers can vote until 10 this morning.
There was no question how the group that packed the Van Dyck would vote. They plan to throw another party tonight for the results show, and keep partying next week if he stays on.
“I think this will be his break,” said his aunt Linda Lucca. “We’re all just hoping for his big break.”
His grandfather, Tony Lucca, recalled that all the boy ever wanted to be was a singer. Lucca tried to persuade his grandson to go to college first.
“When he was in elementary school I told him, ‘I’ll make a deal with you. You give me two years of college, I’ll take care of it.’ ”
He recalled that the pre-pubescent boy shot back: “I’ll make a deal with you, after two years I’ll go to college.”
The grandfather accepted the plan. But when his grandson was 14, he was chosen to be on “The Mickey Mouse Club.” Two years after high school, he was acting in “Malibu Shores,” a short-lived television show. There was no thought of college.
“I saw him after two years went by and said, ‘Well?’ ” Tony Lucca said. “And he said, ‘Gee, I’m on TV!’ ”
So the young man never went to college, Tony Lucca said with a sigh. But, he added, at least his grandson is happy.
“I tell you, that’s all he ever wanted,” he said.
But after “The Mickey Mouse Club” and “Malibu Shores” were canceled, the young Lucca’s career never took off. He opened for ‘N Sync in 2001 and 2002, and self-released several albums. Two albums were commercially released and he had occasional TV spots.
One of his aunts, also named Linda Lucca, said he was close to giving up.
“Before ‘The Voice,’ he was thinking of moving to Nashville and writing songs,” she said. “He was saying, ‘I’m 36, how long can I be on the road?’ It’s no life for a family.”
This might be his last big chance for Tony, who is married with two children. But for some family members, he’s already proved himself.
His uncle Dan Lucca said he was proud of the way the young man accepted the sometimes-biting criticism leveled at him during the show.
“It goes without saying that the music, we’re very, very proud of him,” his uncle said. “But what impressed me is the way he’s handled himself. I think he’s been very humble. He’s always taken the high road.”
His mother’s family gave him his musical talent, Dan Lucca said, but he hoped his father’s large Italian family gave him something, too.
“Something about family, about values — he’s very grounded. Whatever happens, happens,” he said.
His cousin Nicole Lucca said she’s glad he chose “The Voice,” rather than “American Idol” and other television competitions.
“ ‘The Voice’ seems a little more in sync with his personality, his goals and values,” she said. “He definitely has his own style. A lot of his peers went pop from “the Mickey Mouse Show,” but that just wasn’t him.”
She looked up at the big screen.
“It’s a little bizarre,” she said as she waited for her cousin to appear on national television. “But it’s very cool.”