Freshman Jazz Major Wé McDonald Reaches Top 11 on NBC’s The Voice

McDonald has made it through to the live shows and is one of 11 singers still competing

Wé McDonald, a William Paterson freshman majoring in jazz performance, has been garnering national attention as a competitor on the current season of NBC’s hit show, The Voice, where she has made it through to the live shows and is one of 11 singers still competing.

“Wé has already made us so proud here at William Paterson during her first semester on campus,” says David Demsey, professor of music and coordinator of jazz studies.  “She is incredibly talented and we are excited to watch her journey on the show and to cheer her on.” McDonald’s jazz vocal faculty mentor at William Paterson is the veteran New York singer Nancy Marano.

McDonald tried out for the show prior to arriving on campus for the fall semester. Her blind audition for the show--a powerful version of the Nina Simone classic “Feelin’ Good”—catapulted her to the attention of the American public when it aired during a preview episode of the show following the closing ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, one of the four coaches on this season of The Voice, was moved by McDonald’s performance. "I look at you, you're so beautiful and you're so perfectly yourself," Keys told her. "I feel so much inside of you, and that's what we need in music."

McDonald, who selected Keys as her coach on the show, told entertainment writer Vicki Hyman of that Keys has advised her to be true to herself.  "There's of course little technical things, but it's really not as important as the main message of her saying, 'You have to continue to be yourself. Dress how you dress. Act how you act. Be you and it's okay, and if people don't like you, that's their problem."

A resident of Paterson, she is a graduate of Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, where she was active in the performing arts theater program; McDonald has also studied dance, vocal music and theater at the Harlem School of the Arts.  She has performed several times at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater, where she has won Amateur Night four times.

McDonald’s next live performance on The Voice is set for Monday, November 21 at 8 p.m.