As a contestant this season on NBC's hit music competition "The Voice," Shreveport's own Dez Duron was chosen by superstar Christina Aguilera to be one of her team who she would mentor and coach .
Duron made it through five weeks of the competition before being voted off the program November 27 . Before leaving leaving the show , he became a fan favorite , not only for his incredible voice but for his looks and personality as well . Throughout his many appearances on the program , Duron demonstrated the stage presence of a seasonal professional with a seemingly innate sense of how to work the audience and the camera .
Of all his performances on "The Voice" his favorite was "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." That was passionate but playful , Duron said . "But every song had a different approach , so every one was a different lesson in how to work the stage , he said .
Duron was briefly on the show in its second season , but to a blind audition , no judge turned around to choose him , the format of the show is the four judges hear the preformers sing without actually seeing them . If a judge likes what they hear and wants to work with the singer as a mentor and coach , they turn their chairs around .
Though nobody got it the first go round , he was allowed to come back and compete again in this seasons program . After what happen the first time on the show , when Blake turned his chair around , it really took the pressure off , said Duron . In the end Duron chose to work with Aguilera . I had listen to Christina for years , Duron said . I felt stylistically , we would be a good fit .Seemingly at ease in front of a television audience in the millions , Duron feels like his football background was a big help ."My time in church had helped me develop my singing," Duron said . "And my time in football helped me learn to deal with pressure ."
Duron had actually been attending Yale University and playing football there , as he had done all through high school , when he made the brave decision to focus on his music career . "I think I was fooling myself for a while , that I could do both ,he said . "The Voice' gave me the courage to leave school , to focus on what I wanted to do , which is sing."
When I first got here , I will admit I had been a little naive ," Duron said . "However , I have been fortunate to be surrounded by helpful caring people who are looking out for me . Coming from Shreveport , I was used to being aroung people with good hearts , but I have found people here too . I'm certainly not paranoid , but out here where the focus is so much on business , you just have to judge sometimes why someone wants to be your friend ."
"Still , I really love living in Los Angeles ," Duron said . "It helps remind me that music is my life .
That was evident from an early age as Duron was in a pop group at the age of 12 with two of his siblings and had his first manager by the age of 18 . During the ensuing years , he performed in musical theater and at his famiy's annual Christmas pageant , "Songs of the Season." Longtime family friend Lauren Ross , who directed Dez in a number of theatrical productions through the years , thinks he has what it takes to suceed . "He is extremely hard-working ," said Ross . "And he is so humble , kindhearted and a gentleman . He is so deserving of the sucess ,I'm sure will come his way .Duron has been writing songs himself for the past 10 months , sometimes by himself and sometimes co-writing with friends or other writers he meets through business connections .
"My family knows my heart and they are the type of supportive family that is happy when you are happy . My family has had an influence on my life and career , Duron said . "Also , the support from the community in Shreveport has been amazing .
"I don't know if there will be a tour with this season's contestants ," Duron said . "But I would be up for it if it happens .
With a background in theater , one has to wonder if Duron has been thinking about jumping from music into movies as so many singers do . "It would be amazing at some point to do some acting ," Duron said . "But for the time being , I want to focus on my music "Christina really helped me develop a lot more trust in myself and my instincts . When I struggled , she kept me lifted up . We will definitely stay in touch . The best advice she gave me was to have fun .
Duron knows the music industry is serious business , but he remains grounded in a foundation of faith and family and will certainly take Aguilera's advice and find that time to have fun .
A resident of Los Angeles since September , Duron has already secured a contract with a high profile management company . Sara Ramaker of Career Artist Management , an affiliate of Irving Azoff's Front Line Management Group , will guide Duron's career .
Thanx Karl ... NEE
Karl Hasten writer for The Forum