“The first stage of auditioning was an open call,” Martinez recalled. “It was held at the Javits Center in March or May. My mom and I were on the way there when our car broke down right before we got to the Midtown Tunnel. We ended up hitchhiking a cab outside the tunnel and made it to the audition just in time.”
That wasn’t the only time Martinez’s pulse has raced as her “Voice” story has unfolded. She said she waited months to find out whether she had advanced beyond the initial audition, and when she finally got the news, she was at the mall with a friend.
“I hadn’t really told anyone about the audition,” she said. “When I found out I made it to the second round, I was at Roosevelt Field mall with my friend. I was ecstatic. I was really flipping out, and my friend didn’t know about any of this, so I had to tell the story.”
Martinez advanced through another round of “executive” callbacks, and then was told she had been selected to audition on the air before “The Voice’s” celebrity talent evaluators. Although Martinez appeared collected, if excited, when this audition was televised, she admitted that she was flustered during the process.
“People say, ‘You seemed so calm when you were talking to them,’ but really, my mind was going crazy,” she said, giggling. “They’re all very successful musicians and I didn’t want to seem crazy in front of them.”
Martinez says her musical influences are relatively obscure — she lists Neutral Milk Hotel, Feist and Kimbra among her favorites — and says they “wouldn’t have made sense for the show.” In the end, she chose the song “Toxic,” by Britney Spears, but gave it her own folksy spin by playing guitar and keeping time with a tambourine clutched between her feet. These choices were applauded by the judges and prompted her eventual mentor, Levine, to tell her, “You’re amazing,” and to compare her to Icelandic singer/songwriter Bjork.
Although “The Voice’s” format requires judges to draft singers onto their teams based on sound alone, Martinez’s appearance also engendered praise. The teen — whose audition hit iTunes’ top 10 in the alternative category last week — said her black and white hairdo had an unexpected inspiration: Cruella de Vil. “Even though she’s evil,” she said, “she looks really cool.”