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VOCAL Boy makes Good

Dylan Gerard puts Macclenny on the map

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Hailing from Macclenny, singer Dylan Gerard got some national exposure through his appearances on this season of NBC’s The Voice. Season 13 turned out rather lucky for Gerard, 28, who made his debut on Sept. 26. He was one of an estimated 6,000 people who took the trip to Nashville for the blind auditions featured in episode 2, and one of only 60 to make it onto the show.

Gerard has lived his whole life in Macclenny, where he was born in December 1988. “I grew up performing in theater/drama (my parents ran the drama department at our local high school) so I always loved that,” he says via email. “It probably wasn’t until I was in high school and learned how to play the guitar that I wanted to be a singer/songwriter and do what my musical heroes were doing.”

The first albums he ever bought were greatest-hits comps from Sinatra and The Eagles, but as his musical interests blossomed, his tastes evolved in turn. “I got my training on the streets from a group that used to hang out on the corner around a fire barrel, singing doo wop,” he says. “More accurately, I just picked up little things here and there singing songs by artists like Sinatra, Otis Redding and Richard Edwards of Margot & the Nuclear So & So’s.”

What makes his success on the show more interesting is that it wasn’t even his idea. “A friend of mine signed me up for it and told me when and where to be to audition,” he says. “It was stressful and exciting to do it, but it was humbling and encouraging to have someone believe in me enough to sign me up.” That kind of earnest approach and humble attitude about his skills endeared him to judges Jennifer Hudson and Adam Levine, who embraced his version of James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go.” They both pressed the magic button that would advance him to the later rounds.

“Until I started working with vocal coaches on The Voice, I hadn’t really had any training,” says Gerard, who signed on as a member of #TeamAdam (with the dreamy Joe Jonas as special advisor). He sang Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes” in episode 8 on Oct. 17, advancing to the next round, where he got to work with Kelly Clarkson, who brought this genre of TV to prominence as the original American Idol 15 years ago. “Adam is my favorite coach, but getting to work with Kelly Clarkson in The Knockout rounds was an awesome experience. I really like her as a coach and she’ll be one on the next season of The Voice.”

For Dylan Gerard, a country boy in the big city, it was truly a Cinderella story, and for him, the clock struck midnight three hours early, around 9 p.m. on Nov. 6. Unfortunately, his sterling version of Ed Sheeran’s “All of the Stars” that night wasn’t enough to save him, and he was voted out of the knockout round in episode 13, but not before winning praise from the judges and getting his name out there in front of millions of viewers around the country, not to mention raising his asking price back home.

Dylan Gerard has now returned to Macclenny, and to his day job as a certified nursing assistant at St. Vincent’s Hospital, while resuming a music career that’s been given a significant boost, thanks to the show. He’s not sad about not winning; in his view, he won plenty, starting with tons of useful advice from seasoned professionals. “I got a lot of useful advice and really great compliments,” he says. “I’ll continue to work on my mix and head voice, switching between the two, and strengthening them. I also learned a little bit about not over-singing that will definitely be useful in the future.

“At the end of the day, though, I sound the way that I sound and to a certain extent I just have to continue to sing the way that I do and be true to myself as a vocalist. I will definitely heed the advice and tips that were given to me, but I’m not going to drastically change the way that I sing.” And why should he? The man is friends with Adam Levine; clearly, he knows what he’s doing.

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Learn more about Dylan Gerard at dylangerardmusic.com.

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