Pierce County talent in spotlight on 'The Voice'

Staff writerSeptember 26, 2013 

Jason Kertson

Pierce County is a hotbed of talent for the hit NBC singing competition “The Voice.”

Enter Jason Kertson – a 16 year-old Emerald Ridge High School student. A tight close-up of him appeared briefly on the show Tuesday night. On Wednesday Kertson posted a screen grab of his image on Twitter with the caption: “In case you were curious…yes that was me.”

Eatonville’s Emily Randolph, 15, and Tacoma’s Stephanie Johnson, 29, have both auditioned for the show, publicists associated with Warner Bros. and one of the singers confirmed earlier in the week.

None of the three singers’ previously recorded auditions has aired yet.

If a contestant on “The Voice” is not chosen by a coach in the blind auditions phase that kicks off the show they might not be televised. The auditions will continue to air on Mondays and Tuesdays for the next two weeks if the previous season’s schedule is repeated.

Like Randolph, Kertson was involved with the Puget Sound Music For Youth but no longer is associated with the group.

“He sounded like he was 20 at 12. He’s one of those kids that spends 5 to 7 hours a day playing guitar,” said the association’s founder, Paul Manuel.

Kertson now performs with his band, The Immortals, which was formed in 2011. They play original modern rock. Kertson plays guitar, lead vocals and is the group’s songwriter.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Kertson could only confirm that he auditioned for “The Voice” and called it “a blessing.”

Kertson lives in South Hill with his family. “My mom and dad and sister hugely support my music,” Kertson said.

Kertson and his band have performed on King 5’s “New Day Northwest,” for Operation Ward 57 – a program for wounded veterans – and at last weekend’s Dreamfest music festival at Louie G’s in Fife where they are regular performers. In January the band performed at The Showbox in Seattle with Seattle band Windowpane.

“That show was really cool and special to us because we sold out The Showbox,” Kertson said.

Sam O’Hara, the manager and publicist for Johnson, said the singer was born and raised in Tacoma. She is a graduate of Stadium High School and Pacific Lutheran University. The 29-year-old spends about half the year performing on cruise ships in a solo act and the rest performing locally.

O’Hara said Johnson covers many genres but, “She really loves soul.” Johnson will be performing next at Tacoma’s Triple Play on Oct. 4 and at The Gig Spot in Gig Harbor on Oct. 5.

One performer from the region has already made it on this season of “The Voice.” Austin Jenckes of Duvall chose Blake Shelton as his coach during Tuesday night’s broadcast after singing “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.


8-10 p.m. Mondays, 8-9 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC (Ch. 5)

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541

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