Freshman selected as finalist in singing competition

Paige Graves
Staff writer

Charlotte Kyle/The News

Born at a naval base in Long Beach, Calif., Jamie Boyd had no idea he would one day be competing to be the 2011 Voice of McDonald’s.

The competition is designed to recognize and reward talented employees of the fast food giant, and Boyd has the chance to win a trip to the McDonald’s 2012 Worldwide Convention in Orlando, Fla., from April 23 to 26 to compete for top honors, including the $25,000 grand prize.

Boyd, freshman who now lives Paris, Tenn., is not a newcomer to the music scene.

“I’ve been interested in singing and writing since the 8th grade,” Boyd said. “It was always recreational and I would play in some bands around town, but I hadn’t taken many classes to improve my skills instrumentally. Now I’m taking plenty of classes to become a better writer and an improved critical thinker so I can write better lyrics.”

In addition to cash prizes, McDonald’s will donate $1,000 to the Ronald McDonald House closest to the McDonald’s restaurant where the global semi-finalist is employed, and $500 will be awarded to the McDonald’s restaurant where the global semi-finalist is employed to benefit the restaurant crew room.

All U.S. entrants were required to submit an initial performance video, which was judged in three areas during the first round of competition. Singing ability accounted for 60 percent, creativity for 20 percent and stage presence also for 20 percent. Boyd, who works at a McDonald’s in Paris, Tenn., auditioned with a song he wrote himself.

“I sang a song called ‘Photo’ that I had written a couple years ago a capella,” Boyd said. “The process was simple: just one video sent in and I was selected to be a part of the group of 22 in America.”

Boyd said the process is progressing now.

“This weekend I am receiving an all-expenses paid trip to Chicago to record a song to be judged and voted on by the people, as well as paid leave from work for the two days I will be gone,” he said. “(I) may even be able to attend the ‘Occupy’ rallies happening in Chicago.”

Boyd said he auditioned at the urging of an old friend who said it would be a waste of Boyd’s ability to not even try.

“It was good advice,” Boyd said. “I have friends who work at (other restaurants) and I haven’t ever heard of them having an opportunity like this. McDonald’s is flexible with my schedule because they understand I need study time and school time. I find time to sing in the car on the way to school and any other chance I get. I’m always ready to sing a song for someone if they just ask.”

Students can often find it difficult to divide their time between work, taking classes and doing what they love. For Boyd, working has made it possible for him to explore his passion in a way some might only dream.

“All I have to say about this is that it happened so fast, and everyone at work is doing all they possibly can to make this process simple,” Boyd said. “They’re trying to set me up for interviews just to get my name out there. I always believed there would never be that one moment where I could take what talent I have and truly show it off in front of people that matter, but now I can and I’m doing all I can to see this through.”

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