By DeeAnna Rollins
Photo by Sylvia Pond Photography

A little bit about Yvonne:

Yvonne grew up in a musical family: her mother was a singer and her father played guitar. At a very young age, she knew that one day she would follow in their footsteps and become a musician; and at the age of 15, she did.

She joined the church choir that her mother worked at, and she was in that choir for 22 years. She always studied music in school, she learned how to play the viola, and she took vocal classes, but that just wasn’t enough, and so she took up private lessons.

“I want to be in a band … a rock band.”

This is what Yvonne said during her first ever voice lesson, so naturally, she was then classically trained. Her teacher always said to her: “If you can sing classical, you can sing anything.”

After spending five years with the same vocal coach, she hit a wall. A big, fat, brick wall of what seemed like defeat at the time. She never felt like her voice coach thought she would achieve anything – and with that, she stopped voice lessons.

Soon after that, Yvonne joined one of the biggest and most prominent choirs in Toronto, and she was sometimes a soloist and had other important roles within the choir. A choir in which her old voice coach was also in.

The Shot

Yvonne had met one of the judges, Nadia, at a live music venue in downtown Kitchener. This is where Nadia tried to convinced her, three weeks in a row, to audition for The Shot. Eventually she signed up for auditions, and they were not at all what she expected.

Auditions

It was two days before the audition, and Yvonne still wasn’t fully convinced that she was going to go through with it. The night before auditions, she finally worked up the courage, picked her song and made the choice to audition. When she showed up to the Holiday Inn in Kitchener, she was shocked to see people she knew at auditions, she was automatically more comfortable.

She had two thoughts when she walked into the audition room.

The first was “Wow, this is way more professional than I thought.”
And the second was “Holy sh*t! What am I doing? I can’t do this!”

She took a step onto the stage, and was immediately terrified. She was scared to death. So much so, that the judges joked about pretending they were in their underwear. It fixed the comfort thing, but she was still super nervous.

Yvonne has always had a confidence issue. She never once thought she would ever make it through auditions, let alone make it to the top eight, that was too outrageous to even think about in her mind.

When she received her feedback from the judges, she felt supported and not criticized, it was right then that she felt the connection to them and hoped, for the first time, that she would make it through.

And she did.

Favourite Part

The day of semi-finals, emotionally was very straining for Yvonne, but was still her favourite day of the whole competition.

At the beginning of the day, she was ready to go. She let her expectations go, and walked into the music studio with her head held high.

But when she got there, everything changed. She heard everyone else singing, and she again felt defeated. She felt like she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and she definitely felt like she was the wrong age.

When she was in the room with the rest of the top eleven, she looked around and was listening to everyone else sing, and couldn’t help but cry. It wasn’t a noticeable cry; she hid it well. But C.J. noticed and took her into another room – it was there that she began to cry hard.

The entire talk with C.J. was so positive and encouraging, that Yvonne knew she was meant to be exactly where she was at that moment in time. C.J. validated for her that she really did deserve to be there and that she wasn’t only there to fill in the “age gap”.

What she learned

“As cheesy as it sounds, it really was a life altering experience,” Yvonne said. All of the support, positive critiques and tips and tricks, it was enough to help her gain the confidence she needed. It helped her to realize that there really are people out there who want nothing more than for you to succeed.