Photo courtesy of Josh Formica
Players of local music scene weigh in as Formica advances on ‘The Voice’
By KAITLIN LEMBO
ALBANY — As Moriah Formica prepares for the last round of “The Voice” before the live shows, she ponders what genre of music she might want to experiment with.
“I think I might want to try an R&B song with a rock ’n roll twist,” the 17-year-old contestant said. “I don’t have a song in mind, but I think that would be super fun.”
Formica has effortlessly advanced through each round of the popular music competition so far. Her blind audition with Heart’s “Crazy On You” caught the attention of all four judges, ultimately earning her a spot on Team Miley. She beat teammate Shilo Gold in the battle round with a powerful rendition of Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman,” showing off her impressive range even more. Last week, she wowed judges (and guest judge Kelly Clarkson) in the knock-out round with one of Clarkson’s own smash hits, “Behind These Hazel Eyes.”
“I’m feeling good right now,” Formica said. “It’s all so surreal. I know a lot of people say that, but it’s the truth. Of course I’m a little nervous because I want the fans to continue to love me, but I’m feeling good.”
Some of Formica’s fans are local music legends in their own right. Vito Ciccarelli, a radio personality for Siena’s WVCR, has been aware of her skill long before she ever hit the national radar. Ciccarelli specializes in playing local music and bringing attention to talent around the area. He’s had Formica and her family on his show multiple times.
“Moriah was brought to my attention about a year and a half ago. We have been huge fans since day one,” Ciccarelli said. “It’s obvious her talent is shining through on the big stage. We at WVCR only see big things in her future.”
Ciccarelli is not the only music personality Formica has caught the attention of. Jim Barrett, owner of River Street Beat Shop in Troy and a music producer in the Capital District, is also impressed with her. As longstanding host of the radio show “Kaleidoscope,” now broadcast on WAIX 106.1FM The X, he is a wealth of knowledge on both contemporary and local music. He said Formica is an example of the “amazing” talent the area has to offer, including “Voice” winner Sawyer Fredericks and duo Sirsy.
“Talent is ageless. [Moriah] has the talent to do this,” Barrett said. “She has potential.”
Not only is Formica gaining attention for herself, but the Capital District’s music scene is increasingly in the spotlight since her debut as well. Greg Bell, owner of local major music producer Guthrie Bell Productions, said Formica is definitely creating waves. While Bell is not a fan of shows like “The Voice” as he believes “music shouldn’t be a competition,” he cannot deny Formica’s powerful voice.
“She has an amazing voice,” he said. “She’s talented enough with the right resources.”
Those resources, Bell said, include a group of people who will ensure her success.
Bell said that he has noticed that with many of these shows, these kids will have a couple years of major success before they fade into obscurity. It’s super important that Formica has people that will not only keep her on the right path, but will make sure she continues to make decisions that will benefit her in the long run.
Luckily, Ciccarelli said Formica already has that in place. He has met Formica’s father’ mother and brother and says that they are incredibly supportive of her career and ambitions.
“Moriah’s family keeps her grounded and humble,” Ciccarelli said. “She has a strong family unit with genuinely very nice people. I’m so happy for her.”
Formica will perform at Jupiter Hall on Friday, Nov. 24. She said they have already sold over 400 tickets for the concert, something that she can’t wrap her head around.
“Everybody here has been so excited to share this moment with me,” she said. “I’m thankful and humbled.