Marina Chello got a chance to perform in front of some of music’s greatest talents on NBC’s The Voice. Now, she is on Team Blake Shelton and ready to move forward in the competition.
Chello, a Plainview resident, has enjoyed singing her whole life. Music has long been a part of her household as her father was a singer himself. She grew up in Uzbekistan before her family moved to the United States when she was 11, settling in Queens. Listening to American music helped her learn English, which helped her get involved with school plays and concerts.
“I think I always wanted to sing and be able to do it 24 hours a day,” said Chello. “After high school, I had to make a choice whether to continue with my studies or try to shop around for a deal and do it professionally. [The latter] is what I did.”
A few years after high school, Chello received her first record deal from a sublabel of Warner Music Group, Sire Records. Founder and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Seymour Stein signed Chello to the deal. Through that, she kept writing and developing as an artist, including recording as much material as possible, but never put out any music for them.
In 2007, Chello signed to Crazy Joint Entertainment, which is owned by President of Bad Boy Records Harve Pierre. She published a single entitled “Sideline” and recorded an album as well.
“That was amazing,” said Chello. “I got to work with so many amazing people and make music. There was a lot of shifting within the label during that time. Bad Boy Records moved away from Atlantic Records into Interscope Records. A lot of artists ended up being left behind and I was one of those artists. My contract didn’t go anywhere, but nonetheless a great experience there.”
It was after the deal fell through that Chello decided to take a break from her music career since she felt like she didn’t have anything to show for it. She decided to put her energy into having a family as she got married, had a son and moved to Plainview. She is also a manager for a catering hall, where she got to keep her connection to music. But she never really wanted to give up on her singing dream and wanted to find an opportunity to get back in it. Enter The Voice.
“The Voice actually reached out to me through Instagram,” said Chello. “I participated in this hashtag promo called ‘12 Days Of Voice’ last Christmas. I tagged my video so they can hear me sing. They reached out to me and that’s how I ended up in Los Angeles.”
The Voice, the singing competition show now in its 17th season, is known famously for its blind auditions at which the four coaches, including Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani and John Legend, face away from the stage as performers sing their song and are judged purely for the sound of their voice. If they like what they hear, they hit a buzzer and their chair spins around, which means they are interested in having the singer on their team.
Chello, who performed “Walk Me Home” by P!nk, wasn’t nervous about it until right before she got on stage.
“I thought ‘Oh my god, this is real,’” said Chello. “I saw the audience there and I saw the back of the chairs. But once the music started, my nerves kind of went away. As I’m singing, I’m looking to see if any of them turn but also concentrate on the song and connect with the audience a little bit. It’s nerve-wracking for sure but it was a lot of fun.”
Shelton and Clarkson both turned around during her performance, and after some thought on stage, Chello decided that she would like to be part of Team Blake. She now moves on the battle round, which is expected to start the week of Oct. 14.
“When I chose him, he came up and gave me the biggest bear hug ever,” said Chello. “That was amazing. He said he’s so excited to have me on his team and he thinks I’m a really great, strong singer. Everyone from production to fellow artists have made this such an incredible experience. Everyone is so helpful and they want you to do your best.”
You can watch Chello on The Voice when it airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC. She thanks all those that root for her.
“I’m really grateful for the support,” said Chello. “To have my neighbors come up to me and say ‘I think I saw you’ is very humbling and to have support means everything.”