PHOTO: Jacquie Lee Holds Steady on “The Voice”
TINTON FALLS, N.J.– This fall, music fans nationwide have been tuning in to NBC’s “The Voice,” patiently awaiting the familiar face of Ranney School junior Jacquie Lee to appear on their television screen. The 16-year old Ranney “lifer” from Colts Neck, NJ, has a passion for charity, athletics—including as a member of the Varsity Field Hockey and Softball teams, and of course, singing. Many members of the community remember her role in the Ranney Lower School Musical “Mulan Jr.” in the Spring of 2008 as well as her solo performances during choral ensemble concerts and her soulful songs at the piano during evening school Coffee Houses, including her powerful rendition of the latest James Bond theme “Skyfall.” At the opening of the season of “The Voice” in September, Jacquie nailed a rendition of the late Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” Celebrity judges Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera turned their chairs, vying for Jacquie as one of their team members.
After picking Christina as her coach, Jacquie went on to win the first Battle Round against contestant Briana Cuoco, the sister of “The Big Bang Theory” actress Kaley Cuoco, with a powerful duet of “House of the Rising Sun.” Her November performance of “I Put a Spell on You”—another crowd-raiser—has been listed in the Top 20 iTunes singles chart. Only her family and a few individuals from the show knew that Jacquie went on stage that night while still recovering from a severe case of the flu and bronchitis. She had been unable to rehearse for a couple of days and, in fact, just moments before the live show, was not able to make it through the whole song without coughing. Feeling as though it may be the end of the road for her time on “The Voice,” she and her mom hugged each other and agreed that everything was in God’s hands. It had been an amazing ride and if it all ended that night, they felt at peace. And then, Jacquie went on stage and wowed the audience, turning in what many called the best performance of the night!
As of November 8, Jacquie has made it to ‘The Voice’s” Top 12 and will continue to compete. The winner of the show, which concludes its season December 17, will receive a recording contract.
“It’s been absolutely crazy and chaotic,” said Mrs. Denise Lee, Jacquie’s mother, who has been staying with Jacquie in California for the show tapings. Jacquie goes to “school” every morning with a tutor and then participates in a full day and night of rehearsals, says her mom. “She is both exhilarated and exhausted! She has decorated the ceiling of her hotel room with her Ranney ‘Good Luck’ banner, made by her fellow classmates—it is the last thing she sees before she goes to sleep and the first thing she sees when she awakes.”
In addition to participating in sports at Ranney School, which she began attending as a first-grader, Jacquie is an active member of the Model United Nations team, Diversity Club, Science Research Club and Honors Chorus.
“I can think of no better ambassador to represent ‘The Voice’ than our dear, sweet Jacquie,” says Ranney School Performing Arts Chair Tess Nielsen, who has worked with Jacquie through chorus and in music theory and appreciation classes since she was in the Lower School. “She is a young woman who sings and writes music which expresses her thoughts and views of the world. Even in the early grades, her teachers recognized she had something special. Her talent is authentic and natural. Jacquie has been able to reach the highest levels of vocal achievement because she has built upon her strong foundational skills.”
Adds Mrs. Lee, “Our Ranney family has been so supportive of Jacquie and we are thankful to have all the kind words and encouragement from the families, faculty, staff and administration. The school has kept her grounded through this process and we are grateful. It makes this journey that much more meaningful and special to know there are so many people close to her heart and home cheering her on!”
Jacquie’s father, Richard, and her siblings, 11-year-old Richie and 18-year-old Nicole, are equally excited by the turn of events.