Mexico singer-songwriter auditions for American Idol
Singer-songwriter Grady Frazier, 21, formerly of the band Capital Ships, may become a nationally-televised musician, as he waits to learn if he will appear on the FOX-aired singing competition series, American Idol.
Frazier and his Martin six-string acoustic guitar made it through two rounds of auditions with producers, prior to appearing before celebrity judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. Aug. 5, at the Kansas City auditions.
"It was a really great experience to see how the show was actually made," Frazier said. "There were bright lights everywhere and it was in a big room. From my perspective, it looked different than it does on television. It was really cool and all the judges were very polite."
Frazier is the son of Jeff and Margaret Frazier, who are avid singers and instrumentalists and perform in their church. The couples' other children are Caleb, Molly, Sadie, Connor and Haden.
Frazier said he was nervous to sing as a child, because his family members are so talented. As a youth, he wanted to be a drummer for a hardcore band.
It wasn't until he performed in the musical "Oklahoma" at Presser Hall that he became comfortable with his voice. From there, he began learning to play guitar through his friends and sneaking his father's guitar out of its case to practice. He started seriously writing songs after performing as the opener for a choir during his senior year at Mexico High School.
Frazier's influences include acts such as James Taylor and the late John Denver, who his father introduced him to as a child. He also studied artists such as Phillip Phillips in preparation for the audition, because he thought they have a similar musical style. He considers himself to be a folk-pop artist.
Frazier was invited to try out for the 2014 American Idol competition after appearing on The Voice last summer. Though he didn't advance to the celebrity judges, one of the producers took notice of him.
"I tried out for The Voice out of peer pressure," Frazier said. "American Idol came a few weeks ago. I got an email from a producer who said he met me at The Voice and he invited me to a private audition."
Frazier asked his father if he should give reality television another chance and Frazier said his father told him, 'You don't miss these kinds of opportunities.'
In the first round of producer auditions, Frazier sang "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper and played his guitar.
The song was Frazier's first choice for three reasons. "First, it would catch their ears, because they wouldn't expect it from me. Secondly, it was higher in my range and third, everybody knows that song," he said.
That performance moved Frazier on to the next round of producer auditions, in which he sang his first cover again, but the judges seemed disinterested.
Frazier said, "They asked me to sing a cappella, so I sang "Something Beautiful," by NEEDTOBREATHE," which Frazier performed for The Voice audition.
"I'm not used to singing without my guitar, so I held my hands in front of me. Afterward, the producer said 'This isn't really star material,' and they started criticizing things. Then they said I was through [to the next level] and I thought, 'What, I'm through even though they just ragged on me?'"
Then the waiting period began. After four or five hours, Frazier was in line for the confessional, in which the contestants reveal their thoughts on the show, when he was informed it was his turn to audition for the celebrity judges.
"Someone came up and told me I was on deck and I ran over there," Frazier said. "They had my guitar ready, but my throat was dry and they had the cameras and lights going and Ryan Seacrest was there and I couldn't find anybody with water. Next thing I knew, I walked into the room and there was a little spot I stood on to look at the judges. That experience was super cool."
Frazier performed "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" again, and then sang an original song, "Where Will You Be."
"At that point, I was already at peace with whatever was going to happen," Frazier said. "I knew that if I made it through it would be a huge opportunity, but if I didn't, I was going to come back here and do what I was going to do with music anyway, so it wasn't going to justify anything I do."
Frazier isn't certain how much information he is allowed to disclose before the show airs and he also doesn't know if he will make the final cut for the Kansas City episode, but he said the judges were pleasant and constructive.
He also couldn't say if he was invited to the next round of competition in Los Angeles, but he did say the judges told him he had talent, though they didn't believe he was their next superstar.
That's fine with Frazier, who enjoys the experience of grinding as an aspiring musician.
"I'm not trying to be a Justin Beiber. I'm trying to be who I am and I wouldn't want to go through if I had to compromise that," Frazier said. "For me, those shows are for people who are looking for a way to get noticed, because they've been grinding for so long and it's not working. I don't fit that bill and I don't really care to be on a reality show. I'm a fan of the grind, but if it gets to the point that I'm asked to come back I definitely will, because it is a free opportunity."
Frazier has also written original songs such as "Never Let Me Go," which is one of his favorites, "Run Away," which he refers to as a crowd favorite, and several others.
"All my songs are from real experiences. If I try to fabricate a song, most of the time it ends up terrible and I hate it. It's hard to sing a song 40 times if you don't believe in it. I'm for the journey of life. I think too many people get caught up in their goals, but the journey is really what is going to dictate a lot about your life. Music is cool, because you can relate to people you've never met through a song, which is what I try to do. I write from perspectives in my life, because there are people out there who have gone through similar situations."
Frazier said he plans to continue performing and recording his music. He is currently working on an EP entitled "Capital Ships" in honor of his previous band with Christian McKeown, who recently departed for England. He hopes to have it available for purchase at approximately the beginning of 2015.
Soon, Frazier plans to "take the leap," and focus on music full-time. He currently works as a manager of US Cellular in Mexico, which his father owns.
"That's going to be really scary, but I think if I want to become successful in this industry, I can learn more in a year of just doing music than I will in five years of working and doing music in my spare time. I think it is vital to sell out to whatever you are doing. I have a great family and support system, so if I fail, I fail.
"After my EP is released, I really just want to go around to cities with large music scenes and stay there for a month or two and move around trying to build small fan bases and go from there. I think social media will help with that."
Frazier's ultimate goal is to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, but for now he is happy to be playing local shows, such as the upcoming St. Brendan Holy Smokes Fall Festival and Music on Main Street in Auxvasse.
Frazier is currently open for booking, hoping to raise money to fund his EP.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Capital Ships Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/CapitalShips?ref=br_tf.
Frazier and Capital Ships' music can be heard on http://www.reverbnation.com/playlist/view_playlist/-4?page_object=artist_3143186.