When Mitchell Brunings took the stage of “The Voice of Holland,” he thought it would be the single high point of his career. The singer had been singing in Marley tribute bands — as a backup singer. Even as a Bob Marley tribute artist, he never expected his love of reggae would transition into an unlikely career.
“I figured this was as far as I was going to go, music-wise,” said Brunings.
But his friend convinced him to audition for The Voice. So, Brunings took the stage in a performance that immediately made the judges turn their chairs.
The Voice starts out with blind auditions, meaning the judges can’t see the performer.
It’s a way of keeping them from drawing conclusions based on the performer’s appearance that could cloud their judgment. Singers aren’t judged based on the way they look or how charming they are onstage. Instead, they’re judged based solely on their vocal skills.
Brunings has an amazing voice.
It’s not surprising that the judges turned their chairs within mere seconds of the start of his audition.
His choice was the “Redemption Song,” one of Marley’s more powerful pieces that stray away from the bouncy, beachside reggae he became famous for. Instead, the song verges on being a ballad — and Brunings performed it with power and gravitas that’s reminiscent of Marley himself.
As he sang, one of the judges gasped aloud, while a member of the audience interjected, “Wow!”
It was clear that they were blown away by the tribute to the king of reggae.
The performance landed him on Tea Ilse DeLange for the season, but he was wrong about one thing: it was far from the end of his career. Instead, his years as a singer were just beginning.
For the first time, Brunings had the chance to be more than a backup singer.
He started getting gigs everywhere, doing more than just Marley tributes. For the first time, he seemed like he really had a future in the music industry. Then something even more amazing happened: he got cast as Marley in a musical about the singer’s life.
Even more amazing is the fact that Brunings had no acting experience. Performing as Marley in New York meant learning the ins and outs of stage performance as well as honing his depiction of the man who is an idol for so many.
“It is a heavy responsibility to play somebody like this and not everybody will agree that I’m the right person,” said Brunings.
“But I’m trying to stay true to what my vision of Bob Marley is, what the man means to me and what his music means to me. Is it a big responsibility or challenge? Yeah, it probably is, but I love doing this and I will keep on doing this until they tell me I can’t.”
It’s unbelievable that this man’s career started with a powerful performance on The Voice of Holland. But one thing is certain: Bob Marley would be proud.
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