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The Journal Gazette

  • NBC Local singer Addison Agen will next perform live on Monday's episode of "The Voice."

  • Addison Agen, third from left, is one of the top eight in the semi-finals of "The Voice."

  • NBC Local singer Addison Agen calls support from Fort Wayne "the most amazing feeling" while she performs on "The Voice."

  • NBC Local singer Addison Agen is a junior at Concordia Lutheran High School.

Thursday, December 07, 2017 1:00 am

Agen says city's support is 'greatest feeling ever'

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

Ahead on 'The Voice'

Agen will perform two songs on Monday's live episode of “The Voice.” One will be a solo, and another is a mashup duet. Though she knows who her duet partner is, she wasn't allowed to share details on Wednesday.

“But I can tell you it's not someone that's expected at all,” she told The Journal Gazette. “Probably the least expected person.”

Fan voting Monday night and Tuesday morning will include both songs. On Tuesday night's live episode, the field of eight singers will be cut in half. The top-ranked singers move on, and several will perform again to earn an “instant save” spot in the final four.

The final four will perform live Dec. 18, with the audience results announced the following night.

The winner receives a recording contract and spot in the “The Voice: Neon Dreams” show in Las Vegas in the spring.

Agen's songs

Here are the songs Addison Agen has performed so far on "The Voice":

Blind audition: "Jolene"

Battle round: "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"

Knockout round: "Beneath Your Beautiful"

Playoffs: "Angel From Montgomery"

Live top 12: "She Used to Be Mine"

Live top 11: "A Case of You"

Team Adam: "Go Your Own Way"

Live top 10: "Lucky"

The singers also prepare last-chance songs they must perform if they rank in the bottom to earn a spot in the following week's live show. Agen has not had to perform her songs and is not allowed to say what she has prepared.

"Yes, we all have our last-chance songs prepared and ready to go if needed," she says before laughing. "But let's hope not!"

When Addison Agen talks about her time on “The Voice,” she says with enthusiasm, “It can't get any better than this.”

On Tuesday, the 16-year-old singer secured a spot in next week's semifinals as part of a journey that has spanned months, including a blind audition, being eliminated from coach Miley Cyrus' team only to be picked up by Adam Levine, and now performing live on the NBC singing competition for millions of viewers each week.

Local residents, businesses and organizations have been throwing their support behind the Concordia Lutheran High School junior with everything from signs to viewing parties and social media posts. Some businesses have even gone so far as to offer discounts to customers who bring in proof they purchased Agen's latest single on iTunes during the Monday/Tuesday voting window.

Agen hasn't been home to see the signs in person since work on the live rounds began in mid-November, but she calls the support from Fort Wayne “the most amazing feeling.”

Her mother, Kristine, has been in Los Angeles with her the entire time, and other family members and friends have been going out to visit. She's hoping her next group of visitors includes father Morrison Agen, who owns Neat Neat Neat Records & Music on South Calhoun Street.

Of course Agen's days are filled with music right now, but there is also school, in the form of online classes and a tutor for the show's minor-age contestants, of which she is now the last.

“I have school every day, at least an hour,” she says in a phone call from Los Angeles. “Throughout the week I have 15 hours of school just so I can stay on track.”

Agen spoke with The Journal Gazette on Wednesday morning, the day after securing herself a spot in next week's semifinals. The following conversation has been edited.

There's been a lot of support for you around town – a lot of local businesses, and of course the fans. What has that meant to you?

Oh my gosh, that's the greatest thing, and I wish I was there to see it, but hopefully in two weeks I will be headed home to see that and the signs will still all be up. I've been sent pictures of all the billboards and of people in front of their stores or their homes with posters for me. It is the greatest feeling ever to have that much support.

From watching your social media accounts and seeing behind-the-scenes videos on your Instagram stories, it seems like you have been building a lot of friendships with your fellow contestants.

That's easily the best part of this whole thing, growing so close to so many people from around America.

Building friendships through music is one of the most beautiful things about the experience. Each person is passionate about music, so we really connect on that level, and I just get along so well with each and every one of them. And I think everybody would agree.

You're a songwriter as well as a singer. What are you learning during this process that is going to help you with that?

I'm a songwriter that likes to write about the people I meet, the places I've been going and the experiences I've had. This is a perfect experience – to be full of so many songwriting ideas, to be writing about my life or other people's lives that I met.

It's really exciting that I have so much material to be writing about. Hopefully when I get home, I'll have some time to just sit down, relax and write.

Your coach, Adam Levine, has called you inspirational several times. What do you hope you're inspiring in people?

That there doesn't have to be an age limit on talent. I don't think that has to be true at all.

I'm 16, and I know that at the beginning of the competition, the oldest person was three times my age. So it's never a too-late moment and it's never a too-early moment.

Also, that hard work is what will get you there. I worked hard for this, and so has everyone who is here. Hopefully I'm showing people that if you put work toward what you love, eventually there will be a good result.

Being able to connect with your fans through social media with messages and video has to be a big boost to you.

Social media is great because this whole thing wouldn't be happening if there weren't such great platforms on social media to be building a fan base.

It's been amazing to be able to connect with so many people from not just America but from around the world that have been following my journey and want to be a part of it.

That's an incredible feeling just to have people that you don't even know say, “Hey, I'm here to support you. You're inspiring me, and I will stick with you through your whole journey.”

And they've definitely been showing up on iTunes, where you've been in the top 10 each week.

That's been so crazy, too. Top 10 three weeks in a row now, which is not something you expect to say at the age of 16 and know that you have worked so hard for it. They are definitely backing me up on this one.

What from your life in Fort Wayne have you held with you while you've been out in Los Angeles?

Probably the biggest one – and this is definitely from Fort Wayne and just my family in general – is to stay humble in what you're doing and know you're doing it because you love it. No matter if people choose to support you or choose to hate you, do it because you love it.

That's really how I've stayed level-headed and calm throughout this whole thing, knowing that this is just what I love and that week after week, I get to do this on such a great platform. I'm just beyond grateful for that.

What is next for you after “The Voice,” win or lose?

Well, first I'm going to celebrate Christmas. (big laugh)

But I have enough songs to be put into an album again, so hopefully I'll be working through that. If I win the show, then that's a whole different thing because I'll have a record deal and we'll be working with that.

Hopefully there will be a tour this summer. It really depends on where I end up placing.

Are those original songs for your next album?

Yes, all original songs that I've been writing. Because the last album I made (2016's “New Places”) was all songs written before I was 13.

I have plenty of new songs to be put out that I've been working on for a while.

What from this experience will you carry with you as you go forward?

I've grown so much as a musician, and I think people that I used to do music with back home had no clue I could do stuff like hit high notes.

I've learned so much about my voice and being an artist and knowing I can get what I want. I used to think people that force what they want are the worst people ever, but there's a way of doing it in a kind, gentle way that will make people want to be on board with you. So I've learned how to do that so I can take control and really be the artist that I want to be and do the music that comes with that.

Another thing that I will always have with me are the friendships that I've been building throughout this whole experience. These people are family to me and probably will be until the day I die because these friendships and relationships are so strong.

Is there anything else you would like your fans in Fort Wayne to know?

Just that I love each and every one of you guys that have been voting and spending your time to support me and being proud of me. That's so huge to hear from such amazing people, so thank you guys so so much for all your love and support!

cmcmaken@jg.net