Addison Agen sings the national anthem Sunday before a Komets game at Memorial Coliseum. “The Voice” runner-up will perform two shows at Embassy Theatre this month and a concert at Sweetwater Sound in February. (Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette)
Addison Agen returned to Fort Wayne on Dec. 20. A crowd was waiting to greet her at Fort Wayne International Airport. (File)
Thursday, January 04, 2018 1:00 am
Addison Agen where she wants to be
COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette
If you go
What: All-Star Benefit Concert for 89.1 WBOI with Addison Agen, Sunny Taylor and Michael Kelsey
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 17
Where: Sweetwater Sound, 5501 U.S. 30 W.
Admission: $75 VIP tickets; www.wboi.org or 260-452-1189
Indianapolis has been chosen as one of four cities to hold open-call auditions for "The Voice."
Talent scouts will be at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Jan. 14. Registration is open to anyone who will be at least 13 by March 26 and is "legally present" in the United States, according to a news release from Visit Indy.
Go to www.nbcthevoice.com/auditions/opencalldates to register.
If you've followed Addison Agen on social media since she placed second on “The Voice,” you might be fooled into thinking she's just another 16-year-old hanging out with friends and family.
But most 16-year-olds don't sell out two shows at Embassy Theatre. Heck, most 16-year-olds don't sell out a show anywhere in any amount of time.
“It just proves how great Fort Wayne has been on backing me up and supporting me and actually loving the music, not just because I'm from Fort Wayne,” Agen says. “I couldn't be in a better place city-wise because they have been unbelievably gracious and loving towards me.”
The success of ticket sales for the Jan. 21 afternoon show at the Embassy prompted her to add a second concert that night. Tickets for the second “Welcome Home” show also sold out. Agen will also be part of the lineup for a Feb. 17 concert supporting the 89.1 WBOI public radio station at Sweetwater Sound.
On New Year's Eve, she sang the national anthem at the Komets game and later that night was a part of the ball drop festivities downtown.
Plus, she's been catching up with family and friends that she was away from while competing in “The Voice,” which wrapped up Dec. 19.
Agen says she's happy with her second-place finish because though she is still under contract with the show she isn't locked into as many deals for a long period of time as the winner who is awarded a record contract through a label within Universal Music Group.
“Of course you want the big moment of ... winning 'The Voice,' but coming in second is actually more of a blessing, at least in my case,” Agen says. “It seems confusing because you think that (the winner) has the best shot at a music career – and I think all of the top 12 have a great shot at a great musical future – but second place is literally the perfect place.”
Many former winners of “The Voice” have struggled to launch successful careers, and some have left the label without releasing an album. Agen's “Voice” coach Adam Levine has expressed frustration with the label's handling of “Voice” winners in the past.
With her runner-up spot, Agen gets all of the exposure of being on the show up until its final moments, but gets more freedom to make recording decisions.
“I remember at the beginning of the season, if I'd had to choose a spot, it was either second or third. So I got exactly where I wanted to land,” she says.
Agen spoke more with The Journal Gazette on Tuesday about the results of “The Voice,” what it is like being home and what's next in her career. The conversation has been edited.
When we spoke before the “Voice” semifinals, you said new music and an album were on the way for 2018 regardless if you won or not. Is that still the plan?
For sure. That's definitely what people have been wanting, and that's really what I want to release as soon as possible. It's really just figuring out the team of people that are going to help me do that.
Have you had a lot of interest from record labels and managers?
Sweetwater Sound has been interested, and we're probably going to be working with them for the next album. Nothing is set in stone at all, but why not use what's right in your backyard, you know?
They've given great input on managers, booking agents and awesome people that make an amazing team, so that's what we're working on.
It's interesting you say “why not use what's right in your backyard” because there have been some young local artists – who obviously have not been as popular as you've been in the past year – who have said “to really make it in this business, I have to leave Fort Wayne and go to Nashville, New York or LA.” Is a music career something you really see yourself being able to pursue from Fort Wayne?
I think Fort Wayne is such a great home base, and Sweetwater is such an amazing place that ... why not take what you already have and use it to your advantage?
Fort Wayne is a great arts city, especially when it comes to music. There's, like, geniuses in this city. So, I would love to continue to work out of Fort Wayne. But in the future, I would love to be traveling and working in and experiencing different places.
I'm a minor, so it's very convenient for me to stay in the same city and still get things done and make great music. That's the plan. Fort Wayne's a great starting place.
I imagine you're getting local invitations that you have to turn down. How are you choosing which to accept?
I've already made it further than a lot of artists have ever made it, so I have to remember to give back, especially to the city.
So balancing what I can or can't do, I will do as much as I have time for. If I can't do something that people offer to me, it's literally because I have no time, it's not because I don't want to.
It's just balancing the amount of paid things that I can actually live off of and help my family and the people around me with, and then just giving back to the community through music.
Adam Levine was a huge supporter of yours on the show and said many nice things about you. Do you expect to keep in contact with him and keep working with him?
Oh, 100 percent. I don't think he's going anywhere, and I'm not going anywhere. “The Voice” ended, but he did not – that's what he texted me right after the season ended. He said, “Hey, I'm not gone. I'm here for any questions.”
I'm still under contract with “The Voice,” and we're figuring out what I can and can't do and who I can work with and who I can't – and all that jazz, but he's really smart and knows a lot of people. So, after that contract, I'll definitely be talking with him about what the next step is.
When we spoke last month, you hadn't been home to see the signs and posters in person. Did you get to see any of that when you got back?
I did! Yesterday, we were driving past the Embassy, and there's a huge sign with my name on it and there's been a bunch of stores that have signs supporting me and it's just crazy to drive by.
I haven't met these people, but they're just so proud that I'm from where I'm from that they're supporting my music decisions and every path that I'm taking. It's just absolutely amazing to visually see it.
Will the Embassy concert be all original songs?
We're still figuring out with the show contract if I can sing songs from “The Voice.” (Agen said she was meeting with an attorney this week to go over the contract and get questions answered.)
If we can, I'm singing as many as people allow me to because they love the songs, I love the songs, I love performing the songs. But other than the “Voice” music, it would be all originals from either (her 2016 album) “New Places” or unreleased music.
Have you had time to do any songwriting since you got back?
I have a little bit. I wrote one song. There have been a few moments where I've been able to relax and get back into what I love doing most.
From watching your social media, it looks like there's been a lot of hanging out with friends and family.
Yeah, it's been amazing. Last night I saw a bunch of my friends I haven't seen in months. Reconnecting with a bunch of people, telling them what's up in my life and catching up on their lives because I've been very out of the loop in their lives.
It's been really good to catch up, and family over Christmas has been great. I'm feeling back to normal.
Speaking of “back to normal,” school starts soon. Do you think that's going to be different?
I'm actually not going back to Concordia this semester. I'm going to be doing online school, just because I'll be in meetings and eventually touring and making a record.
Luckily it's not new because I was home-schooled up to eighth grade. (Agen also took online classes and worked with a tutor while in LA for “The Voice.”) I'm not sure about next school year, I might go back. It really just depends where I'm at at that point.
Let's finish up with some random questions. What is the last song you had stuck in your head?
I was just listening to Fleetwood Mac's “Go Your Own Way,” which I sang on the show (with Levine and fellow team member Adam Cunningham), actually.
What from 2017 would you put in a time capsule?
Probably all the Polaroid pictures that I and the people from “The Voice” took during the Blinds month. My friend auditioned on the first day and went around taking pictures of everybody and writing down names.
If I chose one song from the show to put in there, I would choose “Both Sides Now” because that was my favorite performance. Also, the red ticket I originally had auditioned with.
What is the last thing you do before you step out to perform?
I always pray.
And I like to end the shows with a Christian song and a lot of the times it's “How He Loves” (written by John Mark McMillan) and hopefully I'll be able to end with that for the Embassy shows because it's an important song and it's good for people to walk out knowing that He loves them more than anything.
That's the way I live life, and I want to show other people that also.
Do you have any goals for 2018 other than putting out the album and going on tour?
I would love to be able to perform with Brandi Carlile. That's always been a dream of mine, and she did tweet at me during “The Voice” and said she would sing with me any time, so hopefully we could set something up with that.
That would be a huge mile marker in my life, knowing that I made it to that point because she's the person I look up to in music most as an artist.
Think back to being onstage with the final four in LA ... and the zombie apocalypse breaks out. What happens? Do you survive? What do you defend yourself with?
Oh my gosh. You know how if you sing a really really high note, it'll break glass? I'd just have to do that and hopefully it will destroy the whole building and we'll all walk out safe.