First-year Columbia student performs on ‘The Voice’

By Amina Sergazina, Staff Reporter

Vivian Jones

Gracie Nourbash used to have an Instagram fan account for Ariana Grande and has been to many of her concerts, but she never thought that one day she would perform in front of her idol on national television.

Nourbash, a first-year fashion major, was willing to miss prom, fill out a lot of paperwork and travel from Glenview, Illinois, to Los Angeles to perform on “The Voice,” an American singing competition on NBC, in June of this year.

Nourbash graduated high school two weeks early in the spring of 2021 to go to Los Angeles and do blind auditions for “The Voice” in June. Nourbash’s audition aired Sept. 20.

“Walking onto that stage was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” Nourbash said. “I said to myself, if I could do this, I could do anything, because I sang for four extremely famous people in front of an audience and then millions of people at home.”

Roxanne Nourbash, Gracie’s mother, said they started the audition process in December 2020. After auditioning, interviews and the associated bureaucracy, her daughter finally received that desired callback from the producers to perform at blind auditions.

“Oh my god, we started screaming. We were not together — I was at the grocery store and she was at home,” Roxanne Nourbash said. “It was probably the best phone call of her life, of my life, of my family’s life. I mean, can you imagine what that feels like?”

Nourbash has been singing her entire life and never had professional training until recently when Cheryl Porter, who worked with singers like Mariah Carey and Andrea Bocelli, started doing lessons with her to prepare for the competition.

Porter has been a vocal coach for 20 years and currently works with three vocalists. She doesn’t take many students, but said she saw talent in Nourbash and helped to prepare her for “The Voice.”

“She does things with her voice so naturally, things that you have to teach someone, but the gift that she has at singing is truly rare,” Porter said. “I can honestly say that she’s at a really high level of singing compared to anyone. … The potential that Gracie has is truly impressive. ”

During the blind auditions, none of the judges turned their chairs for Nourbash, which means she was not able to continue in the competition. Porter said contestants do not choose their own songs and that Nourbash would have performed better if she could have selected what to sing. Nourbash performed the song “Control” by Zoe Wees during her audition.

Nourbash had many people reach out to her on Instagram supporting her after “The Voice” competition. At Columbia, Nourbash is a fashion major and said fashion is something she has always wanted to pursue. She continues to sing and plans to write and perform her own original songs, but she also hopes “The Voice” will invite her again in the future.

“I know it’s super cliche, but don’t give up and keep going, because [the] last thing I thought I’d be doing is going on ‘The Voice’ and singing for Ariana Grande,” Nourbash said. “If I told my younger self that, I would not believe that at all. Keep going at your dreams and don’t give up, because you never know what could happen just like what happened to me.”

You can listen to Nourbash’s covers on Instagram @gnourbs.