So No Coaches Turned Around For Malford… So What?

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Last night my buddy Malford Milligan’s “Blind Audition” aired on The Voice. He came out swinging with a smooth version of Al Greene’s “Let’s Stay Together” but it wasn’t in the cards for him to make a team, and no coach turned their chair. Afterward, I quickly hopped online and posted a positive note to my Facebook to Malford and went about my evening. Then the word started getting out online and the “armchair coaches” all came rushing in. Not all of them were negative but it quickly started to get ugly.

So, after pouring through tons of comments and tweets regarding Malford’s “Blind Audition” on last night’s episode of The Voice and resisting the urge to reply, I felt compelled to instead say something here about how quick people are to get so negative and hateful regarding The Voice and it’s coaches. Many wrote how outraged they were that the coaches didn’t know Malford had released many albums before, some recorded on a major label. I myself even sent a personal tweet to Blake Shelton with a link to Malford’s catalog on iTunes in hopes of a retweet to spread the word about a solid recording career by my fellow Blues singer from Austin. (still waiting on that RT Blake!) But what folks need to remember is the premise of the “Blind Audition:” It handicaps the coaches by not allowing them to see the singer or know any of their backstory, and forces them to focus solely on vocal performance. I saw so many comments about how Malford had put out “more records than Blake or CeeLo,” or that Malford had “more talent than all the coaches combined,” etc etc. Yes, Malford has recorded a LOT of music and been on the scene for many years and by many people’s standards – mine included – has a TON of talent as a performer, but the fact that no one turned a chair for him had nothing to do with any of those things at that moment. All the coaches can do is listen and choose and after 4 seasons, they are pickier than ever. That means sometimes they hear a great singer but still don’t push their button. There are so many factors at work here but most of it boils down to personal taste and strategy. They each have strategies and are constantly “playing the game” to win. Adam Levine is notoriously strategic, having admitted after winning with Javier Colon in S1 that once he had convinced Javier to join his team, every decision he made after was to keep him in line to win. There are other things at play too, that I’m honestly not sure I’m allowed to elaborate on, but the timeline of when his audition was shot most certainly could have played a HUGE part in who wanted to press their button and who actually could push their button.

But even with all that being said, it still leaves no room for negativity or personal attacks on people that I know truly love what they do up there and do make a real effort to make good choices when they press that button and follow through with each artist the best they can. Say what you will about any of ┬áThe Voice coaches, but they have each put in a ton of work to get where they are today and are have a string of hits from here to high heaven to show for it. As an artist, when you sign up to audition for ┬áThe Voice – which has raised the talent bar SO high just by weeding out thousands of bad singers all over the country during open calls so that only the best possible talent steps onto that stage – by the time you are in Hollywood about to walk on that stage in front of CeeLo, Blake, Xtina, and Adam, you know what you are getting into. This wasn’t Malford’s first rodeo… He’s a pro. He made the cut, went on TV, gave a solid performance of a classic R&B song and left it out on the stage for the whole world to hear and almost the whole world to see, minus four celebrity coaches. And although he didn’t make a team, he represented himself like the true professional he always is, on and off camera. My friends in production have nothing but wonderful things to say about him and from the looks of it after reading an update from Malford’s Facebook page, the feeling is mutual. So, he didn’t make it onto The Voice.. So what!? It’s not the end of the line for him by any means and now a whole bunch more people all over the world know what we in Austin have known for years… Malford can sing his ass off. And knowing Malford, I’d be willing to bet he’ll be the first to say, “everything happens for a reason.” So quit with all the hating on the coaches and The Voice and be proud of the man for having the courage to get up on ANY stage to do what he does and be grateful that you can catch him live at The Saxon Pub on Friday, October 11th and hope that the exposure brings more fans his way.

Love,
Nakia

29 Comments

  1. Well said Nakia. I have had the great pleasure to enjoy Malford’s music three times so far and he is fantastic. Austin is so fortunate to have so many wonderful artists. And I still love THE VOICE as it introduced me to Nakia, Nicholas David and Michelle Chamuel, my past show favorites. Much success to you all.

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    • Thank you Linda!!

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  2. Well said Nakia, and thanks for putting the record straight. People are much too quick to rush to judgement, and frankly they don\’t know what to do with their disappointment that Malford wasn\’t chosen. Malford is going to be fine. He is a wonderful singer and a fine human being, and so are you.

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    • Thanks for the comment. Love Malford and Austin music!

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  3. I was saddened by no one turning around. I felt it was one of Malford’s best. The soulfulness and sweet sounds were wonderful and it reminded me of what I enjoyed about listening to him. I said on a FB Post that I was going to stop watching, but it was a feeling that I have had for a while. It is becoming too commercialized. Truthfully, from the audience perspective, I would rather see a back story once they are picked than before. I understand that the TV execs want to pull those heart strings.
    Best of luck to you and Malford. Maybe y’all should do a show together…. Now that would be something…

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  4. I don\’t know the show, but thanks for posting. It was great to see Mal sing his heart out on national television. Maybe it was the song selection, or the raspy (lovely) tone of his voice that didn\’t catch the favor (bankable) of the judges. But we know and love Mal here in Austin. Thanks for putting some of us straight. Especially those of use who don\’t watch this show. I\’d love to learn more about what you mean about the timing of his performance.Peace. John

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  5. Well, I\’m disappointed but no hate here. Would have loved to see Malford on the voice. Way I see it is The Voice lost, not Malford. But then, I still win. I can go see Malford at the Saxon. :)

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    • Much love Jon!

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  6. Malford nailed it, as always. And, every one of the coaches were grooving to the performance. I agree with you, Nakia. Everything does happen for a reason, and as rockin’ and amazing as Storyville was, I think this opportunity has been able to allow Malford to reach an even larger audience than before. And, knowing Malford’s approach to music, that just means he is gonna go out and kick booty and have no time to take any names!

    He, and you, both rock! Thanks for putting the positive into it. Much love to you. And much love to Malford! Always possibilities on that next horizon!

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  7. I wish The Voice and American Idol and all their like would go away . Worst idea for a tv show ever . I’m extremely sad that people I know have been on these shows. It demeans their whole career . Play shows , make fans . What ever you do , don’t go on tv and try to ” Make It” . Horrid Idea . The winners always end up just as bad off as the losers . Better yet everyone should stop watching tv . Turn on the radio , go see a show , read the newspaper , anything but turn on a tv .

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  8. I love to see my Austin faves on the music reality shows, but I know the coaches on The Voice choose candidates based on a game-winning strategy. I can\’t imagine Malford caring at all if he landed on a Voice team, but I would have loved to watch him throughout the competition!

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  9. Who are you? I don’t mean to be rude but what credentials do you have to speak for the judges or The Voice and why and how they make decisions? … and it just so happens you have tour dates on the same page. lol.

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    • Welcome! Maybe take a look around my website. Haha

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  10. Ha Ha Not impressed. I\\’m from Austin myself

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    • I don’t give a shit if you are impressed, nor does anyone else. Keep hiding behind your fake email address and anonymous comments and maybe you’ll impress yourself.

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      • Well said! Pathetic that someone from Austin would not even know about one of the best musicians in town. We love you Nakia – keep on making awesome music!

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        • Thanks Kristen!

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  11. LOL… Guess you haven’t been around very long. If you only knew, asshole

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    • If we only knew what, your name? Oh that’s right – anonymous. Carry on.

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  12. Quit making comments about Malf on your website. Ignorant

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  13. I agree. So what? Malford doesn\’t need some TV reality show to validate him as one of the best soul singers out there. But I will disagree with you on some things. Maybe I\’m so jaded by the industry, that to think producers don\’t have input on who gets picked by providing input on who\’s more \”sale-able\” in their opinion is absolutely silly. Let\’s face it… Malford doesn\’t meet their cookie cutter definition of a voice contestant, and they would have had no idea how to handle a person and voice of his caliber. Would we want Malford to change because of that? Absolutely not. Let him be him, and let them pick the person they think they can sell. It is unfortunately the way the industry works (and some would say why its failing.. but thats another conversation for another time).Just my 2 cents though.. who am I to question success.

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    • Producers only have input about who gets to audition, not who gets chosen. It’s a true “blind audition.”

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    • Brad, I think you hit the nail on the head. Imagine the absurdity of one of those pop stars trying to coach Malford. I am disappointed that he didn’t get to benefit from the huge exposure of being on the show for numerous episodes, and that more people didn’t get to witness the fabulous person that he is.

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      • Let’s not forget that The Voice chose to air Malford’s entire audition (not something that they do often) to MILLIONS of people who now: 1. Know his name 2. Know he can sing his ass off and 3. Go buy his music and see him live. Again… Trying to keep it positive.

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  14. If anyone has an “insider” view on what happens on The Voice, it’s you… and anyone who’s actually watched a season… or even the “Blind Auditions” with some understanding of the game (and it IS a game… that they’re playing to win… a game to win while promoting good musicians to the next level).

    I am a BIG Malford fan… but I can easily see why he wasn’t chosen… he sang the HECK out of that song.. that wonderful 41 year-old song. My thoughts (worth what they cost you) are.. he’d have had a much better chance to get on the show if he’d chosen a more recent song. Something current that has that old-school soul.

    Kind of like a certain other Austin bluesman did… and got on the show… and did fairly well on the show, too. ;)

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    • Thanks Sean. Hope you’re well.

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  15. NakiaI appreciate your insider point of view very much, and understand that the judges are really trying to play fair and honor the musicianship of the participants. I do wonder, though, about some of the inconsistency I\’ve seen in their choices. Seems like the timing and placement of certain singers really makes a difference in the choosing. I\’ve seen some singers get chairs immediately turned and the performance can be rather mediocre, and some singers that get serious listen all the way through with no chairs (like Malford), but who are obviously really good. So I\’m thinking mood and placement play a huge part… Do they ever revisit the decisions? Any chance for a second chance?

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    • The only chance he’d have now is if he went back on the show another season.

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  16. Sean you may be right about the song being old but the producers do pick the song that you get to sing on the show not the contestant. I\’m not sold that it\’s truly A blind audition.. It\\’s blind in that the coaches have their backs to you but I\\’m sure producers could give suggestions on who they\\’d like to be on the show.. Let\\’s face it personality plays a huge role as well as looks, story and of course talent.

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