A year later, Casey Weston reflects on 'The Voice'

David Albers/Staff
- Casey Weston performs at the 13th annual Celebrate Bonita festival on Saturday, March 31, 2012, at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs.  The event celebrated the city's 13th year of cityhood with a carnival, food and live music, including Casey Weston and Tanya Tucker.

Photo by DAVID ALBERS // Buy this photo

David Albers/Staff - Casey Weston performs at the 13th annual Celebrate Bonita festival on Saturday, March 31, 2012, at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs. The event celebrated the city's 13th year of cityhood with a carnival, food and live music, including Casey Weston and Tanya Tucker.

David Albers/Staff
- Casey Weston signs autographs after performing at the 13th annual Celebrate Bonita festival on Saturday, March 31, 2012, at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs.  The event celebrated the city's 13th year of cityhood with a carnival, food and live music, including Casey Weston and Tanya Tucker.

Photo by DAVID ALBERS // Buy this photo

David Albers/Staff - Casey Weston signs autographs after performing at the 13th annual Celebrate Bonita festival on Saturday, March 31, 2012, at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs. The event celebrated the city's 13th year of cityhood with a carnival, food and live music, including Casey Weston and Tanya Tucker.

From reality TV to learning about the gritty realities of making it in the music business, what a year it's been for Casey Weston

There's something about 19-year-old Casey Weston that people just like. When she took the stage Saturday night at Celebrate Bonita — guitar in hand, with her big, belting voice on full display — the crowd got into it.

One year ago, the singer-songwriter was wrapping up the taping of hit reality TV show "The Voice," and gearing up for graduation from Gulf Coast High School. For week after week on the show, Weston was always just a few more episodes away from stardom — one more song away from having her life changed forever. And then she lost.

The good news is that just barely missing a record deal and a seriously large cash prize hasn't disheartened her.

"Honestly, I was never expecting to even make it this far. Everything I do is moving forward, I take it day-by-day and realize every opportunity is another step in my journey," Weston says.

In fact, since the show ended last year, she's devoted her life completely to the pursuit of rock stardom. While her friends moved into college dorms around the country, Weston moved into an apartment in Nashville.

"I've got this great little apartment, it's from the 1930s and has this rustic, vintage cool feel that I love," she says, adding, "I'm just trying to write every day and work on my music.

"It's a hard thing to call your friends up and they're in this very different place having 24/7 fun."

But don't get Weston wrong; she wouldn't change what she's doing for anything.

"I've embraced everything that's happened to me," she says. "I try to remember the experiences, but not dwell in the moments. It's just not realistic to win every time. Things don't always go the way you want them to go."

Weston discusses how her music has matured as she's gotten older, moving away from pop-country to a more, as she describes it, "bluegrassy-country sound." On Saturday night the crowd seemed to enjoy teenage Weston's "big girl" sound. Fans clapped along during the upbeat songs, with a few couples even getting up from their lawn chairs to dance.

Kris Holsworth and Brian Smith of Naples drove up to Bonita just to catch Weston's set, and they were not at all disappointed.

"It's funny, we came here because of her, I was surprised to learn she wasn't the headliner," said Smith. Holsworth added, "I think it's really nice that she came back to do this, a free concert for the community."

The two agreed that, although they're not generally country music fans, they plan to follow her career.

Weston's set ended just as the sun was setting over Riverside Park in Bonita Springs. As she headed from the stage over to her merchandise booth, Weston was mobbed by a gaggle of tweenage girls. Wanting her autograph, wanting to talk to her, just wanting to see her.

Breakout on "The Voice"

The live shows in the second season of "The Voice" start Monday night, and Casey Weston answered Naples Daily News questions about what really goes on behind the scenes of the smash-hit reality show.

NDN: So the competition is supposedly all about your voice and not your appearance, but we couldn't help but notice the contestants get a little sparklier as the season goes on. Are there backstage conversations about appearance that we don't see?

CW: Absolutely. It's a cool concept but obviously once the chairs turn around the coaches are thinking how can I market her? How can I win? There's a lot that goes on beneath the surface.

NDN: Are there basic casting calls like "American Idol"? How come we never see the chicken suits and really bad singers?

CW: There are casting calls, but it's a bit different. "The Voice" is really looking for working professionals who already have singing experience. Some of the contestants, like Javier Colon, have already had recording deals. So, it's not really the same as the mass open calls that "American Idol" has.

NDN: Were there ever differences in opinion when producers tried to change the looks of some of the more interesting-looking contestants?

CW: Actually, it's funny; I think they really liked working with the zanier contestants because they could have more fun with them. In fact, the zanier outfits were often easier to find in L.A. than trying to find pieces for my low-key look.

NDN: What surprised you about the filming process?

CW: How good they made me look. Seriously, I am not that pretty. They put makeup on your arms and legs, just to make sure you look flawless. Now I understand why stars on the red carpet look so amazing.

NDN: What would surprise us, the viewer, about the filming process?

CW: You know, I don't want to ruin it for you. My mom loves watching "Survivor" and my dad always used to tell her, "you know it's not real," but, if she loves watching it, then who cares? So, sorry, I'm not ruining it for everyone.

NDN: Tell us about how song selection worked — how much input did you have?

CW: Almost none. I only chose one song the entire time I was there, and that was one I picked off of a list of 50 choices.

NDN: How was working with Adam Levine?

CW: Actually, it was great. In reality, he and I got along great, especially on the music side of things. We definitely clicked when it came to working together.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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