Virginia singer, who once performed on WTOP with Bach to Rock students, now competes on ‘The Voice’

WTOP's Jason Fraley salutes Claudia B. on 'The Voice' (Part 1)
Claudia B. competes in the "The Blind Auditions Part 4" episode of "The Voice." (Courtesy Greg Gayne/NBC)
In 2015, Claudia B. visited WTOP to perform in the Glass Enclosed Nerve Center just before competing in Bachapalooza at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia, a battle of the bands hosted by the Bach to Rock after-school music program.

On Monday night, the 24-year-old Virginia native makes her hometown proud by competing on the NBC singing competition “The Voice,” where she’s already advanced several rounds.

“I’m so excited to be back! So much has changed,” Claudia B. told WTOP. “That was such a cool moment for me being in high school and trying to chase the same dream I’m chasing now, to come on the radio, that was so cool, so thanks for having me on back then and again today.”

After growing up in a musical family and attending The Potomac School in McLean, Claudia B. attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston before moving to Nashville, where she still lives today.

“I auditioned a couple of times before when I was living in D.C. and had to fly up to New York and do the in-person thing,” Claudia B. said. “These days it’s super different. I was actually approached online by a casting producer and I said, ‘Why not?’ … I actually did them from my living room, everything was virtual. … I sent in two, one was Allen Stone, called ‘Bed I Made’ … and the second was actually a Britney Spears song, ‘Oops! … I Did It Again.'”

She’ll never forget getting the call telling her that she was selected for the TV show.

“It’s a lot of sitting and waiting and hoping for the best,” Claudia B. said. “A few months go by and I have a missed call from someone who said, ‘Hey, I’m with ‘The Voice,’ please give me a call whenever you can.’ We played phone tag for a bit, I finally got a hold and he said, ‘Congratulations, you made it!’ … I ended up finding out that I was going to be cast for the season the week after I got engaged, so there was a lot of new things going on at once!”

From there, she flew to L.A. to film the “blind audition” round at Universal Studios Hollywood.

“My friends and family fly out,” Claudia B. said. “Nothing compares to the adrenaline, anticipation, not knowing, the fear of stepping out on that stage. … I sang ‘Human Nature’ by Michael Jackson. … Surprisingly they turned after the third line of the song, which shocked me. First I saw John Legend, then right away Niall Horan and Reba McEntire turned as well. Miss Gwen Stefani did not turn her chair for me … but we’ve made amends at this point.”

The next week, she lost in the “battle round,” but was saved by Horan, formerly of One Direction.

“John Legend pairs his artists together in groups of two,” Claudia B. said. “I sang with Mara Justine, she’s from New Jersey, and we sang ‘Son of a Preacher Man,’ which I was not familiar with but the hilarious part is that my fiancee is technically the son of a pastor. … John picked Mara to move forward on his team, but before I could say my final remarks, Niall hit the ‘steal’ button with his forehead and picked me for his team.”

What’s her impression of the celebrity judges both on camera and behind the scenes?

“Working with John Legend was a dream come true,” Claudia B. said. “He gives the most specific notes and really cares about the song’s style. … [Niall] is extremely invested in his artists. He really cares about them because he’s been in our position before on ‘X Factor.’ Miss Reba, I’ll never forget how gracious and kind she was to me. After the blind audition, she said, ‘I love to see the humanity behind your nerves.’ … I love Gwen Stefani, she’s so cool.”

On Monday night, she will compete in the three-way “knockout round,” but she’s not allowed to say which song.

“I’m really excited about the next performance,” Claudia B. said. “I can’t share too much, but all I can say is that it really is true to me as an artist. It’s got some jazz, some pop, some soul, so I’m really excited for you all to see it.”

Through it all, she never forgets where she came from, thanking Bach to Rock music director Matt Cummings, who also moved to Nashville where he now tours with country music star Hunter Hayes, among others.

“Matt Cummings was so instrumental to my music journey and my path, he really taught me everything I knew for a long time,” Claudia B. said. “Bach to Rock was the first steppingstone for me into the music industry. I remember signing up for band sessions where they put these kids together who know a little bit about a certain instrument to see what happens — they’re coached almost similar to ‘The Voice’ a little bit, now that I’m thinking about it.”

Out of Line band members Claudia Swope, (vocals/keyboard), Sam Roomian (guitar), Conor Zeya (drums) and Liam O’Donovan (bass) visit WTOP with Bach to Rock in 2015. (WTOP/Jason Fraley)

Listen to our full conversation here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley salutes Claudia B. on 'The Voice' (Part 2)
Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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