By Lola Rossi
During a telephone interview with Contestant, Barry Minniefield, he simply stated, “Watch The Voice and support me here in the Coachella Valley.”
Located at The Crazy Coconut Bar & Grill in Downtown Palm Springs, there was a contest held on three consecutive Fridays last June called, The Voice of Palm Springs. It was hosted by Manny the Movie Guy from KMIR TV. The winners would garner a private audition with the producers of the popular television show on NBC, The Voice, in Los Angeles.
Minniefield lost at all three opportunities, however, as a well-known and loved entertainer here in Palm Springs, people were calling KMIR and kept asking why Minniefield did not win. These phone calls made him the “people’s choice” and on the night of the finale of The Voice on NBC, and the finale of the contest at the venue, he was called by the Station and told to watch the News that evening. Much to his delight, it was announced that he was added as a fourth Contestant to receive a private audition for The Voice. “Out of all four people named, I was the only one to make it to the real Voice.”
The process to be part of The Voice is quite interesting. In Minniefield’s case, it first started out with a private audition for the Executive Producers of the show. If you are chosen, you participate in the Blind Audition with an opportunity to work with one of the four Coaches, who have their backs turned, and if they like what they hear, they press the button to turn around to see the Contestant. Each Coach works with twelve Contestants who are paired and compete against each other, sharing a song, in The Battle Round. During this round, each Coach chooses one of the two Contestants from their team to move forward, giving the other Coaches an opportunity to “steal” the Contestant. If the Contestant is not stolen, that Contestant goes home.
Next is the Knock Out Round. Once again, the Contestants are paired with a member of their team, however, this time, they get to sing their own song. Then, they move into the “Live” competition. Where the remaining Contestants compete on Monday and someone is eliminated on Tuesday, until there is a winner of The Voice for the season.
After watching Minniefield’s Blind Audition, I asked him to describe his experience during that process. “I was so excited and a little jittery because it was approaching the end of my performance and no one had turned around yet. But then at the last second, Adam turned his chair. I was so happy and that is when my life changed.”
Minniefield started singing when he was twelve years old in his home town of Fort Wayne, Indiana. “When I was a child, I went to Church with my Grand-Mother. I remember, every Sunday morning, my Father would blast the record player. He loves Jazz. We loved listening to The Jackson 5 records and I would sing and dance with my brothers and my cousins. I always wanted to sing like Michael,” he chuckled. “I moved to LA in 1986 and started working as a Chef at USC in Will Farrell’s class.” He later was the Executive Chef at Improvisation in Hollywood. During this time, he met a lot of Celebrities who became his good friends.
He moved to Palm Springs in 1991 and started working at Sun Studios for a short time. Wanting to be a singer in town, he would go around to the various clubs and met many local musicians, who would let him sit in with the band. “Gilbert Hanson was the first musician to let me sit in. What a gracious man. Thank you, Gilbert.” He met and started performing with pianist Bobby O’Connor. They performed for many private parties and at many of the Country Clubs here in the Coachella Valley. Later, he invited trumpeter Steve Madaio to work with him and O’Connor.
While going back and forth to LA for The Voice, currently, Minniefield performs at Billy Reed’s every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday; and every Friday at The Vue in Indian Wells, from 6 until 9 p.m.
“Never give up on your dreams. Always go for it, no matter what your age. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. It takes a lot of determination and a lot of work, but if you believe in yourself, you can do it.” God Bless You, Barry, for these words of encouragement and may all your dreams, come true.