UWO student auditions for ‘The Voice’

Kylie Balk-Yaatenen, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Courtesy of Max Khang
Max Khang is a senior human services leadership student with a passion for singing and he hopes to share that with the world.

UW Oshkosh student Max Khang auditioned to be on The Voice last Tuesday, completing what he says has been a lifelong dream of his.

“I never had the resources to travel to another city to take part in audition rounds, and luckily this year everything was set perfectly before me,” Khang said. “At 21-years-old, I believed that it was my time to shine and to showcase my growth in my vocal abilities.”

Khang is a senior majoring in human services leadership with a minor in women’s and gender studies, as well as a certificate in LGBTQ+ studies.
In a Facebook post from five years ago, Khang wrote: “I’m going to audition for The Voice one day, and all my loved ones will be proud of me; it’s a huge step from my comfort level, but I’ll get there eventually.”

He said that the pandemic has been hard on everyone, but it was at times a blessing in disguise because it has made things easier to do virtually.

“I just knew that this year’s audition was easily accessible to me, I didn’t have to travel and accommodate schooling, and I had the opportunity to sit in my room, my safe space, and be my true self,” he said. “I chose this year because I felt prepared and confident in my own voice and who I am as a whole testimony.”

Khang said that the audition process was much different from what people would think. He said that people don’t just go right to performing in front of the panel of judges.

“The process of auditioning is that you must pass your first audition, pass a callback, pass more auditions, before you set foot into the real taping of the show,” he said. “The process to apply for the show is quite simple by registering for an artist account and putting in all the information.

“Eventually you sign up for a virtual audition room and then the countdown to your audition starts once you press submit,” he said. “Then you wait until the day of your audition and take part to either advance or not advance to the next stages of the process.”

Khang said that he didn’t end up making it to the next round, but he was glad he did it.

“It’s honestly so different, it’s just a virtual audition room, then you submit it and then they review it and email you a confirmation if you advance to the next round.”

Khang said that one thing he took from this opportunity is to be grateful for the experience and take that leap of faith.

“I have won the UWO Talent Show twice in a row and I believe that stepping foot onto that major stage is what’s next to help me evolve into the artist that I want to be one day,” he said “This experience is what will help me grow as an individual, as well, will help me share to the world that Hmong people are here and that we can reach goals attainable just like anybody else.”

Khang said that he wants to bring his queerness, confidence, vulnerability and freedom to the Hmong community and he hopes that he will also enlighten the community with his voice.

“Mental health is at the forefront of my being and existence,” he said, “and I want my voice to reshape the way that my community looks at mental health.”

He said that he wants his experience to show young, queer Hmong children that anything is possible and that taking a leap of faith is much more powerful than rejection.

“Be patient,” Khang said. “All that is meant to be yours, will be yours.”