Valhalla Singer Teams with Ariana Grande on The Voice

David Vogel's dream has come true on the NBC singing competition.

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David Vogel performs during his blind audition on The Voice. (Tyler Golden/NBC)

For Valhalla native David Vogel, years of practice and preparation paid off in the blink of an eye when his professional idol, pop singer Ariana Grande, picked him to be on her team of aspiring musicians competing on NBC’s The Voice this season. After first taking an audio engineering class at Westchester Community College and then transferring to SAE Institute of Technology in New York City to obtain a degree in that field, Vogel (pronounced “Vo - Jel”) recently relocated to Nashville to pursue “that side of music.”

Despite his interest in the technical end of things, the 23-year-old’s passion to be in front of the microphone never wavered. While still in New York, Vogel started a band with his brother and a couple of friends called JADN. “We self-recorded, produced, and mixed our first album called City Skies and began playing shows all around the city,” explains Vogel, who sat down with Examiner+ to discuss his experience on The Voice, his risky move to audition for Ariana Grande by singing one of her own songs, and what he misses most about life in Westchester.

Examiner+: Tell us about your family and background in Westchester.

David Vogel: I was born and raised in Valhalla. I come from a very musical family. My mom is an incredible singer and grew up doing theater throughout high school and college. My dad is from France and is very studious and loves sports. We play tennis and ping pong together all the time. I have three older siblings — one brother and two sisters. They’re all musical and creatives themselves. And last but not least, I have a chocolate brown pit/lab rescue named Charlie! He’s a good boy, and I miss him greatly!

Examiner+: What was life like growing up in Valhalla? 

Vogel: Growing up in Valhalla was so good. I love the suburbs, and having a good-sized yard to play in as a kid was a huge part of my childhood. We would explore the woods surrounding Kensico Lake, go fishing, build forts, make movies, skateboard at the Dam, and so much more. There was always something to do out in nature. In my teenage years, I started taking the Metro-North train into Manhattan with my friends to concerts, restaurants, parties, and other events. 

(Chris Haston/NBC)

Examiner+: When/how did you first become interested in music? And what did you do at first?

Vogel: I’ve been singing as long as I can remember. My parents always had music playing around the house from artists like Barbra Streisand, Carol King, and Frank Sinatra to rock bands like AC/DC, The Cure, Genesis, and much more. When I was ten years old I received a snare drum for my birthday and my parents said if I stuck with it and practiced every day for a year, I could get a full drum set. So that following Christmas I woke up to my first drum set and have been playing ever since. At around 13 or 14 I started learning guitar with the help of my brother, and then YouTube became my primary teacher. About a year later, I gravitated towards the piano and absolutely fell in love with it and taught myself.

Examiner+: Which high school did you attend? Were you involved in music in high school?

Vogel: I was actually homeschooled during high school which allowed me to spend much of my attention perfecting my craft in music. Throughout middle school and high school, I played drums and sang in church, giving me a lot of experience working with bands and performing live. 

Examiner+: At what point did you realize and decide that you wanted to pursue music professionally?

Vogel: The dream has always been to do music, but we all know the difficulties and stereotypes it comes with to say, “I’m going to be a musician!” It’s definitely a bit daunting. It wasn’t until I was in my teenage years and started writing music, producing, and playing more shows that I began to really believe that maybe I could do this professionally. I’m very passionate about education and history, as well, and thought maybe I would go to college to be a teacher, but the pull from music was just too great and I had to follow my heart. 

Examiner+: What prompted you to try out for The Voice

Vogel: I grew up watching singing shows with my family. It was a tradition to all come together at 8 pm with popcorn in hand and watch the weekly episodes. I think deep down I always wanted to try out for a singing show, but that dream kind of took a backseat. So after the wild year that was 2020, work was pretty much nonexistent and I lost a lot of motivation and passion to do music. I had writer’s block and was stuck in a rut. January of 2021 came around and my brother texted me the virtual audition link for The Voice and said, “You should give this a go! You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain if it works out!” He was so right, and a couple of days later I auditioned on my phone and made it through that first round. I had a couple of interviews, sent in more video auditions, and finally received a phone call saying they were flying me out to LA. Mind blown. It was really happening!

Watch David Vogel’s blind audition on The Voice.

Examiner+ What made you choose a song by Ariana? And why that particular song?

Vogel: When I heard Ariana was going to be a coach this season I couldn't believe it. She's one of my favorite singers/artists and I've admired her work for years. I decided to sing Breathin’ because I absolutely love that song and thought I could do a cool alternative-indie version of it, and maybe impress her enough to turn her chair. Huge risk, huge reward, and I guess it worked out!

Examiner+: What was your first thought or feeling when Ariana turned out?

Vogel: It was actually the scariest and most stressful thing I've ever done, but also the most fun. I knew I had to just go out there and sing my lungs out, regardless of the outcome. As the song was coming to an end and still no chairs had turned, I thought to myself, "Well, I'm going home... but I'm so grateful for this opportunity." So I hit that last big note, and when I opened my eyes she was standing up looking right at me. Instant relief and joy and every emotion possible. My serotonin levels were wild. 

Ariana Grande turned her chair for Vogel and is now his coach on The Voice. (Trae Patton/NBC)

Examiner+: What's been the response from your friends and loved ones back in Westchester? 

Vogel: Everyone back home has been so supportive of me and this new journey. I’m overwhelmed by all of the love, and feel very grateful to have such incredible friends and family members who have had my back every step of the way, and continue to root for me.

Examiner+: What do you miss the most about Westchester?

Vogel: THE FOOD! I miss New York pizza and how you could be in multiple towns/cities in 15-20 minutes. I also miss taking the train into NYC for concerts or just to hang out with friends at a bar. And lastly, I miss being so close to the ocean. I hope to make Westchester and my hometown of Valhalla proud. 

The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 pm ET on NBC.

Robert Schork is Examiner Media’s Digital Editorial Director. Schork has written and reported extensively about television for more than two decades. He is formerly the managing editor of Soap Opera Weekly, covering both daytime and prime-time drama and reality series, and was a contributor and research consultant for ABC’s best-selling “General Hospital: The Complete Scrapbook.” His celebrity interviews include Betty White, Donald Trump, Kiefer Sutherland, Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay, Dennis Franz, Elisabeth Moss, Edward James Olmos, and Susan Lucci (who, before her 19 Emmy nominations and ultimate win, attended the now-defunct Marymount College in Tarrytown).


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