My story of my experience on The Voice of Poland Kid’s Edition and how it inspired me to apply for the FLEX Program.
Written by Amelia Janiak '19 (Poland/CA)
Last year I took part in the first Polish edition of The Voice Kids. This show changed my life and led me to apply to the FLEX Program. If I hadn’t been on the show, I wouldn’t be here in the U.S. today.
How it Began
It all started just before holidays in 2017. I was 14 years old then, attending middle school in the afternoon and going to the music school I have been learning piano at since I was 6 years old. My life was changing constantly in that moment.
I changed into a more advanced class, which forced me to meet new people while studying hard to get caught up. I also took part in my first exchange. I went to Spain for a week and it was an amazing experience. In Spain, I got to know a new culture and see from a different point of view. All of these experiences helped me grow, but it wasn’t until I participated on The Voice; an impossible idea at the time, did my life really change.
Just before holidays, my sister saw information about castings to The Voice of Poland. She wanted to take part in it, but she was to young, so instead she signed me up for it. Up until the very last moment, I wasn’t sure if I should go through with the audition. At the time I didn’t take any vocal lessons and I had no performing experience. I didn’t know what to expect.
Eventually I decided to go to pre-castings and I just sang first song that came to my mind that day, which was “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele. I was really stressed, and I still remember my legs and hands shaking and my voice cracking a bit. I was sure I wouldn’t get a call back, but surprisingly I did.
They wanted me to be on the show, but not on The Voice of Poland. Why? Because I wasn’t 16 yet so I was too young. However, this year they decided to make a version of this show for kids and they wanted me on it! I couldn’t believe I succeeded. It was like a big dream coming true. When I was young I used to watch it on TV and in that moment, I would actually stand on the famous stage!
The Blind Auditions
The blind auditions were held in the capital, Warsaw, two hours from my city. We had a few rehearsals and practices. I still remember the first one. I met a few kids, who already have their own recordings on YouTube. They have already taken part in other singing competitions. Most importantly, they had already been taking vocal lessons for a several years. I didn’t have any of those experiences which made me more nervous and unsure of myself. Nevertheless, I worked hard, and I prepared the song I was going to sing on the show, the best I could.
On the 23rd of August 2017, I went to the studio for the blind auditions. If you have never seen the show, the judges are not facing you when you perform, they can only hear you sing. If the judge likes you, then they hit a button and their chair turns. This means they want to be your coach during the competition.
I was so nervous. This was my first performance and it would be for people whose opinions mattered to me– the icons of Polish music; Edyta Gorniak, our first representative on Eurovision; Tomson and Baron, who are part of a rock band; and Dawid Kwiatkowski, a young, aspiring singer, who has performed in 500 concerts and received an MTV award for the best Polish singer twice.
When I entered the studio, they provided us with different activities to do to keep our mind off our performance. However, when the big moment came it didn’t help at all. I climbed a stage and saw all the lights pointed at me. I couldn’t really believe I was on a stage just about to start my performance.
I was a little scared, but in the same time excited and ready to face that challenge. I looked in the corner of the stage, where my family was standing. They kept their fingers crossed for me and cheered me up. In that moment, I knew I could do it and that’s when the song started.
—– See Amelia’s performance here: Amelia Janiak – “If I Ain’t Got You” – Blind Audition – The Voice Kids Poland —–
I sang, at first a little bit unsure, then louder. I sang without any vocal training, but I sang right from my heart, I sang what I felt. One coach heard that and turned his armchair. It was Dawid Kwiatkowski. The funny thing is that I wanted his armchair to turn the least. I was never really interested in his music or life. However, once I got to know him, he turned out to be a really amazing person and perfect coach for me.
He was only 7 years older than me, so he understood what we were going though. He motivated us and made us believe in our dreams. I remember when he invited us for a grill party at his house. He gave a mini concert and just talked with us about life and that we should never give up. The most important thing he taught me though was the quote, “If you can dream it, you can do it”. With Dawid as my coach, I made it all the way to the sing off; which is the semi-finals.
When I wasn’t chosen for the finals my coach and I had to say goodbye. He cried, and I cried too. Our whole team cried. Not because we were sad. We were just so thankful and happy for the unforgettable experience.
After that we met a few times with our team. I had the chance to perform with my coach at one of his concerts. It was an amazing experience. I could see what the rehearsals look like, short breaks between the songs, and all the work happening on the backstage. What I enjoyed most was the music and my time performing.
Leading to FLEX
The Voice Kids lit a passion in me I didn’t know I had. I started taking vocal lessons after it and I became more confident. I continued to believe that everything’s possible, “If you can dream it, you can do it”. That’s why two months after this TV show I sent an application to FLEX.
If not for The Voice Kids and the other challenges and experiences I had in the past year, I wouldn’t be writing this today. I wouldn’t be in USA, having this amazing year to enjoy new things – new school, friends, family and new challenges. I am ready for all of it!
Furthermore, this year I am planning to do as many things as possible connected with my passion to music. Although I am not taking choir as a class, because I wanted to improve my piano skills through Jazz Band; I will still perform with my school’s choir and do activities, like singing songs from all over the world in different languages.
Currently, I am looking for some competitions and possibilities connected with singing somewhere near Visalia, California, hoping to take part in them and gain new experiences. Next week I am going to perform a few of my country’s national songs at the Rusty Root Show and share my culture with others. Keep Your fingers crossed for me 😊!