On Being Royally Rejected…and Being Okay With It

Hola, cooperthefam! It’s your girl Phoebe, and I’ve recently had an epiphany.

On Saturday, January 23rd, I found myself out on a very large limb – I decided to go to an open call audition for NBC’s The Voice. As a big fan of the show – and an even bigger fan of Adam Levine – I had always wanted to try out, but I had just never gotten around to it. Aside from the fact that I thought it was a long shot, being in high school, having a part-time job, and performing with a fantastic band keeps a girl pretty busy. Nevertheless, when The Voice had their open call in Memphis, I decided that life was too short to not just go for it.

So, when the day came, I stood in a line for at least 27 years, and then finally got to sing my little heart out for a very nice woman who harbored an uncanny resemblance to Penny from The Big Bang Theory. Long story short, I got a callback. When Penny handed me the little red card with my name on it that said “Congratulations on your callback for NBC’s The Voice! We look forward to hearing more of you,” my eyes read, “Congratulations on your first sliver of validation! We look forward to helping you rub this big success in the faces of your many oppressors!” Looking back, I remember feeling like everything I had ever done had led up to that moment. Every note I had ever screamed at the top of my lungs, every ounce of ink that had ever spilled out of my fingers and onto wrinkled pieces of notebook paper – it had been for this little red card.


My callback was scheduled for five days later. In that time, I picked four songs that I loved to sing, and recruited Cooper(theman) as my sidekick/accompaniment. On the hour-long drive from Jackson to Memphis, I was definitely nervous, but I felt confident. After all, I’d gotten a little red card, and Penny said I had a lot of potential. I was wearing a bowler for heck’s sake! It was going to go swimmingly. Remember this moment, I thought. This is the moment before your life starts. 


We arrived at the callback location and were led back to a dimly lit studio room. There, Cooper and I faced a panel of very friendly faces. I sang my two songs, and then the lady at the table said, “Well, thank you so much for your time and your courage to come out and do this, but it’s gonna be a no for this season…but you’re well on your way! Thanks again, and Jeremy will show you out.” I heard, “Well, thank you so much for painting your face with makeup and putting on a hat, but it’s going to be a big, massive, definite no. You’re just not what we’re looking for this season…or any season…ever. Jeremy, get this thing out of my sight.” I smiled, thanked them all for their time as well, and walked out, my heart sinking deeper and deeper each step that I took.

I was devastated. I thought that this was it. I thought I would finally be living my dream. What had I done wrong? Did I pick the wrong songs? Did I not belt enough? Did I belt too much? What could I possibly have done differently? After I had my tears and my microscopic fit of bitter anger, the aforementioned epiphany began to take place.

I may not be the next winner of The Voice, and I may not be any closer to Adam Levine than I was before January 23rd, but this is not the end of me, even though it felt like it at the time. I’m going to be successful because I’m going to put the work in. I’m going to put my blood, sweat, and tears into everything I do, because that’s what I’ve always done…and if I need validation from a casting company to be strong, fearless, and ready for the world, I’ve got a longer way to go than I thought. The truth is, I have a lot to be grateful for. I’ve got a wonderful group of people (looking at you, CTB) who lift me up, encourage me, push me to do better than my best, and rock out with me when I need it the most, and I wouldn’t give that up for any red card – little or big. Cooper, Matt, Will, Joe, Trish, RP – you guys are the only trophy I need.


Dankest regards,



P.S. I recently had a conversation with my English teacher about the word “dank” and how a word that’s so fun to say shouldn’t have such a derogatory connotation. So, “dank” now means  “pretty great.” Tell your friends.

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