Lipscomb commercial music student Ele Ivory rocked the stage this summer in the NBC American television series and vocal competition The Voice. Ivory made it as far as the nationally broadcast blind auditions where she performed for four celebrity judges.
Involved in performing arts throughout childhood, Ivory was 11 years old when she decided to focus exclusively on music. She worked hard at both piano and vocal performance, and even wrote her own material.
“After I started writing I wanted to do my own thing,” said Ivory. “I wanted to share my story.”
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Ivory moved to Nashville at age 15 to pursue music. Since then she has released original songs on streaming services iTunes and Spotify, and frequently performs shows in both Georgia and Tennessee.
Earlier in 2018 Ivory learned The Voice was holding auditions in Atlanta the same weekend she would be there for a show, an opportunity too perfect to pass up. Ivory had auditioned for talent competitions in the past, including American Idol, but decided to take on this opportunity with a different attitude.
“The difference was this time I wasn’t trying to be what I thought they wanted me to be,” said Ivory. “I decided ‘I’m just gonna sing songs that I actually like’ and I think that’s what worked.”
The audition process was long. Starting in February, her first audience was producers and casting agents. It wasn’t until June that she auditioned on television for the celebrity coaches, including big names Adam Levine and Jennifer Hudson.
While none of the judges chose to pursue her, both Levine and Hudson were adamant on Ivory re-auditioning.
“You’re so awesome it makes me crazy,” said Levine. “You’ve got to promise me that you’ll come back.”
Ivory was given a second chance, chosen as one of six contestants to compete in The Voice’s new online series “the Comeback Stage.” It was here that she met fifth coach and former Lipscomb University student, Kelsea Ballerini.
Ivory enjoyed her time with Ballerini, bonding over Lipscomb and their shared experience of moving to Nashville for music.
“It was interesting to work with her because she followed the Nashville model, so it was cool to work with a hometown girl,” said Ivory.
Unfortunately Ivory was not chosen to continue in the competition, but her passion for music is now more fiery than ever.
“I loved the experience and it was very valuable, but I know that I want to sing my own music,” said Ivory.
Since then Ivory has started at Lipscomb as a junior in the Commercial Music program. In one semester she has already fallen in love with her classes and the campus community.
“I’ve been so inspired by the fellow student,” said Ivory. “Everyone is so supportive of each other here,” said Ivory.
Ivory has found Lipscomb to be a unique haven in the competitive world of music performance. She feels encouraged by her classmates and loves the variety of musicians in the program.
“Everyone’s super different, but it’s not a weird mix because everyone is so invested in being authentic to themselves and not caught up in comparing themselves,” said Ivory.
For now the young musician is taking a break from television, instead focusing on individual projects. Ultimately Ivory is not out to win a big competition, but to write and perform music that touches people in an open and honest way.
“I feel the most connected to what I’m doing when I’m sharing my story that I know is authentic and real,” said Ivory. “I can connect to people that way.”