Emma Brooke Alley ‘25 is a current sophomore at Converse University majoring in Contemporary Music with an emphasis in Media Applications. She began voice lessons at Converse’s Lawson Academy of the Arts at age 8, and hasn’t looked back since. She is a current contestant on NBC’s The Voice, a four-time Emmy Award-winning musical television competition. During her blind vocal audition, Emma Brooke’s powerful voice turned the chairs of John Legend and Gwen Stefani, who both wanted her on their team for the competition. Emma Brooke says that she wouldn’t be where she is today without her training from Lawson Academy and Converse University’s music program.
“Dr. MacPhail was one of the main reasons I chose to come to Converse.”Emma Brooke Alley ‘25
How did you decide to attend Converse University?
“Well, I started singing at age 6 and started voice lessons at age 8 in the Lawson Academy at Converse with my first voice teacher, Lindsey Bennett, and then I began working with Dr. Valerie MacPhail, and she has been my voice teacher ever since. Dr. MacPhail was one of the main reasons I chose to come to Converse because I think the personal connections you have with your professors at Converse are really important and special. My favorite part of being a student at Converse is the history that I have here. I feel like I’ve grown up on this campus and it feels like home to me, so that’s why it was such an easy decision whenever I was accepted. It was a no-brainer for me. I’ve made so many friends and had so many great experiences here.”
What made you audition for The Voice?
“Around this time last year, I was on my way to class, and I got a call from California. They said, “We work for a producing company for The Voice, and we wanted to reach out and say that we found you on Instagram and were wondering if you would like to send in some audition tapes for The Voice?” Of course I said, “Yes” and after I sent in my audition tapes, I waited a few long months for a response until one day after choir practice I got a call from that same number and they said that they wanted to fly me out to L.A. at the end of May for a blind audition. So I finished out my spring semester of freshman year, and I flew out there all by myself.”
How has your experience on The Voice been so far?
“It’s been incredible. I was actually in L.A. for about a month preparing for the blind audition. When my blind audition came, they flew my parents out for it, and I’m glad they were present for the support. Then, I flew back home after the blind audition, and then flew back to L.A. for more filming. I’ll also say that being on Team Legend has been incredible. From the moment he turned his chair around for me, and when I heard him say that he could tell that I was classically trained and that he wanted to help me go more contemporary and bend some rules from the classical training for me to find my style, I immediately knew it was the right choice for me. He’s been incredible to work with, especially during the battles, and he is kind and intelligent at what he does. He cares about you as an artist and what you want.”
“I’ve gained so much from the instructors here at Converse…they have texted me while I’ve been in L.A. during the competition checking in on me and encouraging me.”Emma Brooke Alley ‘25
How has your strong foundation from Converse propelled you as an artist?
“I’ve gained so much from the instructors here at Converse– from private lessons with Dr. MacPhail, to learning marketing and personal branding in Professor Jeter’s Music Business class, and all of my other professors too. They have texted me while I’ve been in L.A. during the competition checking in on me and encouraging me. I also think my classical training has been crucial to my success. There are numerous world famous artists who sing on the radio, but got their roots from classical training. I don’t think I would be where I am today without that training. When I started transitioning from classical to more contemporary music about 4 years ago, it was really hard at first. I actually got involved with the worship band at my church singing Christian contemporary music, and I started doing covers, and songwriting, and I joined a band. At first I thought, “I don’t know if I can do this,” but the more I kept doing it, the easier it got.”
How can people tune into The Voice and cheer you on?
“You can tune in on Mondays and Tuesday at 8/7 central on NBC, NBC.com or The Voice app, or you can catch episodes after they air on streaming platforms like Peacock and Hulu. The live show starts on November 14th, and that’s when people can start live voting on NBC.com or The Voice app. Be sure to tune in and vote!”