By Tammy Scileppi
“Yeah, I got issues… one of them is how bad I need you…”
Charismatic competitor Miya Bass (pictured left) belted her rendition of Julia Michaels’ song “Issues,” when she performed on “The Voice” for her blind auditions March 12 on NBC and snagged a spot with Team Adam.
Pushing his button to select the up and coming songstress, sight unseen, judge Adam Levine was the only musician coach to turn his chair for the passionate contestant from Queens, who was coiffed with a poof of pink hair. After swiveling around to face her, it was clear that Levine was impressed; so much so that he told the excited contestant she was “super, super dope,” and commended her for having so much control.
As for choosing “Issues,” Levine told Bass: “Look, that’s a great song. You happen to be doing a song by an artist that I just worked with, that I think is an absolute genius…”
The singer shared a bit about her interesting backstory, as the only musically-inclined member of her NYPD officer family, with the audience.
“The Voice” continues its 14th season with a line-up of great new vocalists from across the nation, invited to compete in the blockbuster vocal competition show hosted by Carson Daly. Superstar singer-songwriter Kelly Clarkson, makes her debut as a coach, along with season 12-winning coach and musical icon Alicia Keys, who joins returning coaches Levine and Blake Shelton.
“The feeling is incredible! To be chosen to sing on ‘The Voice’ means that I have been set apart from tens of thousands of other people who have pursued this very same dream. That makes me feel special,” said Bass, who has been crossing her fingers in the hopes that she’ll make it all the way to the live shows.
A four-time Emmy Award winner, the show features five stages of competition: the first begins with the blind auditions, followed by the battle rounds, knockouts, playoffs and, finally, the live performance shows.
During the blind auditions, the decisions from the coaches are based solely on voice and not on looks. The coaches — sitting on rotating chairs — hear the artists perform, but don’t get to see them till they turn around.
If more than one coach pushes his or her button, the power then shifts to the artists to choose which coach they want to work with. If no coach pushes a button, the artist is eliminated from the competition.
“My experience has been life changing. I am living the dream since I get to work with such a superstar like Adam, and I’m receiving so much love online, it’s amazing,” said Bass, 29, whose talent, persistence and ability to make tough decisions led to her big break.
Though her intention had been to follow in her family’s footsteps and become an NYPD officer, in her final semester of training, the aspiring performer decided to switch gears and get cracking on her lifelong dream of having a music career.
She worked for a while as a dance and music instructor at an arts program for NYC’s Sports and Arts School Foundation and, later, as a program director for the New York Junior Tennis League. In the past year, Bass quit her job to sing with an 11-piece funk band called Funktion11, while also returning to college.
“I decided to quit my job because pursuing a music career requires 100 percent attention. Working other jobs was just a distraction and stole away precious time from me. I turned down a lot of auditions and music opportunities because I had to go to work at a job that I most likely did not care about,” she said. “I decided, as an artist and single woman with no husband or children, there’s no better time than now to pursue music. There is nothing and nobody holding me back.”
The determined go-getter has already performed at several large venues, including Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia, in front of an audience of 10,000 people; The Apollo Theater in Harlem; and in The Steve Harvey Radio Star show in Las Vegas. She has shared the stage in New York City with popular singer, Brandy, opened for Bill Cosby, and sang background for Idris Elba.
“My upcoming shows are local gigs in New York: Weddings, talent shows, and bars. I would love to get booked for another musical, since I have a strong background in musical theater. I also have an agent that I work with who is currently working on getting me commercial and movie work in film,” Bass said.
Looking back on her childhood growing up on Jamaica’s south side, where she has lived her entire life, the singer talked about her favorite borough.
“I love Queens because it’s raw. There is a beautiful honesty about my neighborhood. We are all unapologetic about our culture and community,” Bass said.
She recalled doing typical kid stuff as a young girl, playing double dutch, hide and seek, dodge ball, and riding bicycles with friends. She said she first realized she had a gift during elementary school, when she started singing.
“I actually impressed myself,” Bass said. “Aside from people showing me praise, I knew there was something different about me.”
As a spiritual person, Bass said her faith plays an important part in her daily life. She uses a bible app with inspirational scriptures that she reads each day.
“I pray every single night and every single morning before I even leave my bed,” she said. “There is no point in using my gifts if I’m not going to show appreciation to the God who gave the gifts to me.”
Between gigs, the rising singer — whose musical influences are Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder – gets funky with Funktion11, as one of the lead singers in the band.
As she moves forward in her musical career, Bass said her future plans will include creating new music for her fans and making her way to TV.
As for her fans’ reactions to her newfound success, she said her family is “stoked.”
“They scream, shout and jump for joy. They have been sharing my news at their jobs and they represent me very well,” Bass said. “My phone has pretty much exploded because of all my messages.”