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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Former UC Davis student has “The Voice”

It was a Monday night, the sixth of February, a night that would spark national recognition of former UC Davis student Lindsey Pavao.

A couple months earlier, while Pavao was working at Pinky’s Bar and Grill, the owner recommended that she audition for the second season of NBC’s “The Voice”. Pavao, who typically didn’t follow television competitions, soon found out that the auditions were only six days away. So, she decided that there was nothing to lose and headed to San Francisco.

After a long series of auditions, she was picked out of thousands of other contestants to perform for the judges on the second episode of the show, during the “blind audition” round. Judges Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine listen to the contestants facing the audience, turning their chairs around if they want a contestant to join their “team.”

Contestants are required to sing covers, so Pavao did a unique spin on the Trey Songz song “Say Aah.”

“I wasn’t trying to make it ‘better,’” said Pavao in an e-mail interview. “I just wanted to sing it the way I would, make it sincere. I guess I figured that if I was lucky enough to be on this show I was going to put it all out there.”

Shelton, Aguilera and Green turned their chairs around during Pavao’s performance. She ultimately decided to join Aguilera’s team.

Pavao will appear next on the show during the upcoming “battle round,” during which she will sing head to head against another member of Aguilera’s team.

From 2007 to 2009 Pavao was a psychology major at UC Davis, and in her spare time she played various gigs with a group called “Boxes” consisting of her and Matthew Torres. They performed all over the Davis area, playing their first shows at the ASUCD Coffee House.

“The energy of Davis shows is so cool and accepting and open. I didn’t feel judged, I felt like Davis embraced the kind of music we made,” Pavao said.

Pavao spent a lot of time in Shields Library studying, joking around with friends, pulling all-nighters in the 24-hour study rooms or sneaking into the music department to play the piano.

Although she was not able to continue her junior and senior year at UC Davis due to financial concerns, she looks at her first years of college as a growing experience.

“Living in the dorms and then living on my own was a big growing phase for me,” Pavao said. “I learned how to be independent and still do what I want with my life. It broke my heart leaving. The sense of community and intellectual curiosity at UC Davis was always so cool to be around.”

She connects with many of her friends on a musical level, like her roommate Simone Thompson. They met in a music theory class and have been collaborating on original songs ever since then.

Pavao also continues to perform her songs at local venues or open-mics while being true to herself during the process, Thompson said.

“She really is as cool and as genuine as she comes across,” said Lindsey’s boyfriend, Byron Anson. “This show has not and will not change the type of person she is.”
The support of her family has helped to shape the way Pavao connects with her own passion for music, said Michelle Pavao, Lindsey’s sister.

“Our whole family has been musically inclined,” Michelle said. “We have all influenced each other musically but with Lindsey, her passion for music and her creativity really comes from inside her. There’s something really unique about her songwriting.”

Lindsey’s brother, Earl Pavao, told her a long time ago that no matter what she does, whether it’s work or music or school, to do it whole heartedly, and Lindsey says that’s exactly what she’s doing.

Before the show, Lindsey never performed in front of large audiences or cameras, but at local coffee shops with friends. While her name is sprouting up all over the web, she said her passion for songwriting genuinely remains the same.

“I definitely feel like a rookie compared to a lot of people on this show who are already career musicians,” Lindsey said. “But I try to take what little experience I have and do my best, and stay true to who I am as an artist.”

Watch “The Voice” Mondays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

DOMINICK COSTABILE can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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