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'The Voice' Contestant, Taryn Papa '07 Realizes a Nineteen Year Old Dream

photo credit: NBC / The Voice

If Taryn Papa '07 has learned anything during her time as a professional performer, it is this: Don't let 'no' stop you.

The Nashville-based singer proved that passion, diligence, perseverance and confidence are the tools that take one to success. She realized an almost two decade old dream when she landed a spot on NBC's hit singing competition show, The Voice. She auditioned in 2011 when she was a senior in college and was rejected. She auditioned eighteen more times and finally, the ninetieth was the charm. She is now competing on the show as part of country music legend, Blake Shelton's team.

"I was determined to be on this show," said Taryn. "I love The Voice because the judges are able to hear you before they see you. Having their backs to you, they can believe in what they are hearing. On this show, it is all about the voice."

Music has always been a part of Taryn's life. Her grandfather, Dr. Joseph Wihbey, was a huge inspiration when he taught her piano at seven years old. She later taught herself guitar. When it comes to her vocal experience, one moment stands out in her mind.

"The first time I ever sang by myself was at Holy Cross," said Taryn. "I sang the National Anthem at a school basketball game. That was such a defining moment for me. I remember my mother saying to me that everyone in the audience is here because they want to see you do well. I realized I was responsible for everyone having a good time. It became my mission to get everyone to enjoy themselves."

As a Crusader, Taryn was active in the chorus, girls' choir and Holy Cross Student Theater. She credits Holy Cross and former music teacher Joseph Jacovino for shaping her confidence.

"I was getting a lot of experience through school," she said. "My uncle, a member of the band No Excuses, asked me if I was interested in singing with him." Throughout her college years, Taryn performed with her uncle in the Greater Hartford and Waterbury areas."

After graduation from St. Joseph College in West Hartford (as a history major), Taryn moved to Nashville to pursue a music career. "I drove seventeen hours to Nashville by myself," she said. "I didn't know a soul."

Taryn pounded the pavement, visited clubs and was hired to be in a house band. She went out on her own after a few years and performed mostly in Nashville. She also branched out to other states including Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada. She even landed a gig at Ole Red, a restaurant in Nashville ironically owned by Blake Shelton.

"I never met him while I was working there," said Taryn. "That happened when I got on The Voice. Being on Team Blake is all I ever wanted. Blake understands my voice and where it needs to go. One of country music's greats is helping me."

Taryn did everything she could to prep for her 19th audition with The Voice. However, she didn't anticipate how nervous she would be when she finally set foot on stage to sing for the judges.

"All I could think was, 'Please God, someone turn your chair around.'"

photo credit: NBC / The Voice

Someone did turn his chair around, and in that instant, Taryn's dream was realized. The years of rejection didn't deter her from reaching her goals. If anything, they made her more determined. "Eighteen times, one person said no to me," said Taryn. "I did everything I could to still continue."

And what advice does she have for anyone who wants a career in the music industry? "Don't give up. Most importantly, do it for you. Do it because you love it. Be yourself. When you realize that you are enough, that will take you miles."

Taryn needs our votes! You can vote through or download The Voice app on your smart phone! Check her out on NBC's The Voice on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8:00am.