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Apr 19, 2024

Meet Claudia B. – “The Voice” Contestant & former Bach to Rock McLean Student

Claudia B., former Bach to Rock student, and The Voice contestant.
Claudia B., former Bach to Rock student, and The Voice contestant.

Claudia B. is a Nashville singer/songwriter and was one of the top twenty finalists on Season 24 of The Voice. While on The Voice, she soared through the blind auditions with a 3-chair turn, and she chose John Legend’s team. After a stunning battle round, she was stolen by Niall Horan and transitioned to his team! She started piano lessons at a young age and spent several years attending Bach to Rock McLean, where she gained invaluable experiences that helped launch her career.

So, when did you start getting into music?

I have loved music for as long as I can remember! I used to mimic jazz and blues singers when I was young and would sit by the piano plucking out songs by ear before I could reach the pedal. My family has a rich musical history on both sides, so having music play such a big role in my life felt relatively normal. My parents put me in weekly private piano lessons with an amazing teacher, Martha Smith, where I learned to read music, play scales, and play mostly classical music. As I grew up and started to sing along to songs on the radio, my parents would take me into the local music store and let me pick out a book of sheet music for popular albums at the time. I remember loving the Taylor Swift and High School Musical books! This was where I switched from reading individual notes on a page to sight reading chords and playing mostly by ear. This progressed and I began to write my own songs in about fifth or sixth grade. My parents took note of this, although I would never let them hear what I was working on!

Claudia shares some of her tips and experiences here!

Why did you start lessons at Bach to Rock? How did Bach to Rock help you prepare for your career and your experiences on The Voice? Please share about the role your instructors played in your development while you were with Bach to Rock.

Promo poster for Claudia's Bach to Rock band.
Promo poster for Claudia’s Bach to Rock band.

I remember my mom mentioning Bach to Rock one night at the dinner table, and specifically the program they have which matches up students at a similar skill level in a band. So that is how my time began at Bach to Rock McLean, Virginia.

I was matched up with my first band, “Law and Disorder,” a group of all-boy instrumentalists looking for a new lead singer. A year or two later, after a few Battle of the Bands and original songs, that fizzled out. So, I joined a second and final band of young musicians, called “Out of Line.” The best part of the program for me was being able to walk into a room fully equipped with everything we needed – cables, instruments, microphones, even a stage, and the coach that we worked with every session. Matt Cummings was my coach, and he quickly turned into a trusted and hugely influential mentor, friend, and now (10+ years later) colleague. I got SO much experience in those years, from how to book my own shows, how to work with other musicians and creators, how to record in the studio, and so much more. Later, Matt would influence my decision to move to Nashville and even introduce me to my now fiancé.

I also took a year or two of vocal lessons with a phenomenal singer and bass player working at Bach to Rock at the time, Holly Montgomery. She took me seriously as a young adult and singer and pushed me because she knew I had potential. We picked classic songs by iconic singers each week (Ella Fitzgerald to Joni Mitchell to Earth Wind and Fire). She would accompany me as I sung through the new songs every week and give notes and advice (she was performing around the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area herself at the time, and still is). I am so grateful for my time with Holly! We are still in touch.

Claudia at one of her first Bach to Rock gigs back in 2013
Claudia at one of her first Bach to Rock gigs back in 2013

The volume of experiences, the level of coaching, and the musical material/catalog were the biggest ways in which my time at Bach to Rock helped my career and experience on The Voice. It in part enabled me to be confident enough to leave high-school early to study at Berklee, and by the time I went to Boston, there was almost nothing that felt “new” or super foreign to me – instead of starting from zero, I was able to put together a band and write/record my own album within a year and a half. It helped me take advantage of my peers and the amazing facilities Berklee had to offer. I totally texted or called both Matt and Holly multiple times asking for advice along the way, too!

Contestants enjoying their last night together on Playoff night.
Contestants enjoying their last night together on Playoff night.

What came next?

I started at Berklee in 2016, graduated in 2019, and moved to Nashville in the summer of ‘19. Though I was co-writing and putting out music from the time I got there, it took me about two years to start earning any sort of income from playing live. As the gigs picked up, I spent less and less hours behind the counter or serving at a restaurant, and more behind my piano on the stage, until I was able to pursue music full-time in 2022. This looks like lots of cover gigs, writing and recording personalized original songs for clients, and of course working on my own songs and artistry!

Why/how did you decide to audition for The Voice? What was your motivation for doing that? Tell us about the process and what it was like for you. Was it as daunting as it sounds on TV?!

I had auditioned for The Voice multiple times (two times in high school and at least two since then) before I was picked to be on the show. I had grown up watching American Idol and was enamored with the idea of singing on TV. After being turned down twice in a row, I decided that route was not for me. But every time a casting person would reach out in coming years, I would send in a video just in case.

Nothing clicked until October of 2023, when I sent in two videos and was picked to move forward in the process. After some interviews, testing, and lots of cuts later, I was part of the approximately 100 people to fly out to Los Angeles for the show. It was all virtual up until that point! I went into the process with a mindset of “what do I have to lose” which helped me along the way, because I knew my whole life did not depend on the results of the show. Still, it was incredibly nerve-wracking and taxing, emotionally and physically!

The whole experience takes way longer than you would think from watching it on TV, and I was away for over three months total. There were cuts happening all along the way (before filming began), and up until I walked on the stage for my blind audition, nothing was certain. I did not even really have a good sense of which teams still had spots open (I auditioned on the second-to-last day). It was crazy!

Claudia B. performing Human Nature during blind auditions.
Claudia B. performing Human Nature during blind auditions.

What was your experience like with all the contestants? Have you stayed friends with any – if so, who?

The Season 24 contestants were incredibly supportive of each other throughout the process. There was comfort in knowing that we were all in the same boat of being away from friends and family, and in a potentially uncomfortable and daunting environment together. There is nothing that will make life-long connections like a reality TV show! I made a few forever-friends, including Lila Forde and Nini Iris, who I am in touch with almost daily.

Sporting her Team Legend jacket from Season 24 of The Voice.
Sporting her Team Legend jacket from Season 24 of The Voice.

Tell us about your rehearsals, live performances and then working with John Legend and Niall Horan. How were you feeling throughout this whole process?

We briefly rehearsed with The Voice band and solidified the key and arrangement of our songs before going into rehearsals with our coaches. They were super professional, quick, and incredibly talented. I was lucky enough to work with both John Legend and Niall Horan. The rehearsals with my coaches by so quickly, and I felt like I was in a dream rather than in real life! I tried to take notes afterwards, so I would remember their feedback. Some things I did not remember until I watched them air on TV.

Any special memories that stand out?

One of my favorite experiences was the rehearsal with Dan + Shay (stand in ‘coach’ the week Niall was gone) and Winona Judd (guest ‘mega’ mentor). Meeting Nashville-based Dan + Shay was awesome and made me feel at ease, and Winona was a comforting presence with spit-fire humor and gave the most meaningful, genuine advice. They gave me feedback that I’ll carry with me forever (Winona said I was what she’d listen to and that I was a ‘singer’s singer’, while Dan and Shay said they wanted to come see me in Nashville and that I made them feel like they were in a New York jazz club when I played Norah Jones) and made me feel like what I did was “enough” in a sea of talented singers.

The ladies of Team Legend before Battles performance.
The ladies of Team Legend before Battles performance.

What are your tips for kids who want to know more about auditioning for The Voice (or Idol)? Elaborate as much as you want!

  • Remember that these shows are complementary to your career, not vice versa.
  • It will probably take a few auditions before you make the cut. This is more about what role you would be playing on the show that season than your talent or potential.
  • Being unique and having your own voice (literally and in terms of your story/perspective) goes further than being talented/able to hit all the notes.
  • Make sure you advocate for yourself and feel comfortable with the music.
  • The behind-the-scenes (lessons, staging, wardrobe) is just as valuable and important as your time with the celebrity coaches.

Describe the behind-the-scenes experiences – with judges, production crew, rehearsals etc. What tips did the judges share with you about your performances, artistry etc., that resounded with you, and you have continued to keep in mind?

There is an entire crew behind almost every aspect of the show who keep it running like a well-oiled machine. We each had a stylist that we worked with throughout the process, as well as producers who worked with us on our storylines and our interviews.

The coaches were equally wonderful, and all gave fantastic advice! Gwen always had her eye on staging, the “look” of her artists, and had a knack for finding unique performers. I loved how Reba focused on the “heart” and emotion behind every performance. John (in my opinion) gave the best, most specific musical advice, and he just has an amazing ear. Niall was so supportive throughout my time on the show; he gave excellent feedback and reminded me that storytelling is more important than a perfect vocal.

Performing "Don't Know Why" in the Knockouts.
Performing “Don’t Know Why” in the Knockouts.

For students who may not want to audition for a competition, but want a professional career, what tips or suggestions do you have for them?

You do not need to be on a singing show to have a successful career as an artist or musician! If I were just starting out, I would focus heavily on learning to song write and taking full advantage of social media (something I am still figuring out!). I would also recommend getting real-life experience as soon as possible. Play at the local coffee shop or nearby open mics. Work hard on your craft and listen to the music of your idols’ idols (e.g., This is advice I was given at Berklee. My favorite singer growing up was Amy Winehouse, so I not only listened to her, but to one of her inspirations, Donny Hathaway). Do not wait until you think you are perfect to start! Another piece of advice I was given that I love and think of often is “if you’re not embarrassed by your first try, you didn’t start soon enough.”

Claudia B., Julia Roome and Alexa Wildish bonding as their time on The Voice ended.
Claudia B., Julia Roome and Alexa Wildish bonding as their time on The Voice ended.

What was your biggest professional takeaway from the experience?

I had some really hard moments on the show, filmed and unfilmed, which no one got to see. I have done a lot of work processing and letting go – and that had nothing to do with my elimination! Even so, looking back on the experience, I am filled with pride and gratitude. It really was a bucket list experience, and I am very happy with how it turned out and how much it changed my life.

Do you think the exposure you gained from The Voice has helped with your career?

Being on The Voice has definitely leveled up my career. I am incredibly humbled by the amount of people who watched the show and then came online to find me and hear more. It makes me want to be more consistent than ever with releasing new music, because I know that there are people waiting to hear it. It has also been incredible to meet The Voice fans in real life at my gigs!

What are you up to now? What are your plans?

Since my time on The Voice, I have been working on a lot behind the scenes! I’m gigging and playing shows locally in Nashville, shooting videos and content to start to build up my YouTube channel, and finishing up a handful of original songs that will be released into the world in the coming months. I am also enjoying being home with my two cats and soon-to-be husband!

Claudia's kitties lounge during a rehearsal session at home.
Claudia’s kitties lounge during a rehearsal session at home.

Find out more about Claudia B. from this interview with WTOP radio, and also check out her music and socials here:

Website – (includes show information & contact info)

Instagram –

Spotify –

YouTube –