Anatalia Villaranda, the 16-year-old singing Phenom from Temecula is one step closer to her goal of taking home the top prize on NBC’s popular signing competition “The Voice” after defeating her opponent Missy Robertson in the battle rounds of the show.
Villaranda last aired on the Monday, March 27, edition of the show performing Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope” for judges Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani and their coach superstar Alicia Keys. Villaranda blew the judges away with her powerful and energetic performance of the song that launched Monae’s career.
In an interview with Valley News, the high school senior still visits her friends at Chaparral High School even though she is doing online school so she can graduate on time. She said that she was beyond words when she got the chance to train with record producer, radio personality and king of Snapchat, DJ Kahled.
“They don’t tell you, it’s supposed to be a surprise. I walked in the door and I kind of flipped out,” she said. “It was too much to handle in that room. He is a big deal. He just did a song with Beyoncé. He has worked with so many incredibly talented people.”
Villaranda said it was a different experience for her as she worked to perfect her performance with both Kahled and Keys offering pointers throughout the practices.
“We were like all best friends, we were practicing, they were jamming and giving us tips. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said. “He was giving me tips and he got to hear me sing and he said it was, ‘So good it needed to be on a Grammy show.’ It was huge.”
Villaranda chose Keys to be her coach so she works with her weekly to fine tune her performances.
“It has been amazing. I am so blessed and honored to be a part of this whole experience,” Villaranda said. “She honestly has been one of my inspirations ever since I was little and her song ‘No One’ was one of the first songs I recorded. She is just so sweet and so down to earth and so real. I think that is why I chose her as my coach because I knew that she would connect with me.”
Villaranda said Keys has been instrumental in providing her with support and insights into the business and her performances.
“She is always available and exposes me to different things musically. She is just amazing,” Villaranda said.
Villaranda, who stands at only 4-feet, 9-inches and oftentimes is referred to as the little girl with the big voice, said she feels blessed to born with a voice like hers.
“It is a God given talent, it was just a matter of me discovering who I am as a person and grow with that,” she said.
Villaranda, who started singing at 10, said that she would advise anyone interested in following a path similar to hers to never give up on their dream.
“I didn’t know if I could sing at all,” she said, adding that she didn’t have a lot of self-confidence at first. “You never know unless you try and anything is possible. Never give up because I have had so many obstacles in my life, I have had my ups and downs but I learned from my mistakes and that is what has taken me to where I am today on ‘The Voice.’”
Villaranda said she is enjoying her time on the voice and the exposure she is receiving because of it.
“Everybody is so nice and so sweet,” she said.
After the battle rounds, which ended this week, Villaranda moves on to the Knock Out round.
“The Voice” airs on NBC Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m.