Bright lights. Big stage. You are standing there in front of Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled and Meghan Trainor as millions are watching you compete against some of the most talented people in the world for a chance to win a life changing recording contract. Welcome to The Four.
The Four is not your average singing competition. Each season starts out with the pre-selected four contestants and they are each given one of four seats that represent the best of the best throughout the season. As the episodes process, new competitors battle, either singing or rapping for a chance to take the seat of one of “The Four”. The show culminates with one artist being chosen from the final four based on votes from the audience. So, alas, meet season two’s first four: Carvena Jones, an R&B singer representing Jackson, Sharaya J., rapper from “The A” Atlanta, James Graham bringing us pop all the way from Chelmsford and Stephanie Zelaya of Guatemala City adding her Latin spice to pop.
I had the opportunity to talk to the first four contestants for the upcoming season and they shared some amazing things about themselves with me, including how the found out they were invited to be in the starting four.
R&B singer, Carvena Jones recalls the feeling of being selected as a joyful numbness, she described getting a call four days after arriving back to her hometown. The call let her know that not only had she been selected, she was going to be one of the first four.
Sharaya J. tells me about how she flew into LA for a live audition having the mindset from the beginning was to just be herself and give it everything. She says that a few hours after doing her audition, while out shopping in LA, she got the call that she had been selected to be a part of the first four.
Stephanie Zalaya, had her first ever audition via Skype. She says that she did a total of three songs, one them being an original and shortly after she got the call letting her know that she, as well, would one of the first four.
James Graham shares getting his call to invite him to be one of the first four at 3:00 in the morning while at home in London. He was contacted by one of the producers after being seen on Instagram and soon after submitted his audition videos. Although, he says, it took a while to get the call back, he was very excited about such an opportunity.
This must surely be an unbelievable experience for these artists, but how has life been since? I began by asking Sharaya J., what the biggest adjustment has been for her since this all started.
“You know, this has been a really smooth transition,” she says. She explains that with all the interviews, rehearsing, and working on music, it has been very much like her regular life. “I’m always working on my music and trying to be creative, so this actually feels like the perfect moment in time. I feel aligned and it’s really just been going good for me. It’s been a dope experience,” Sharaya says.
For Carvena, I wondered about her competitive edge. “I make competition with myself more so than anybody else”, she says.
“What has it been like to work with Diddy, Khaled and Trainor?” I asked James. At the point they are at now, they have not worked one-on-one with them yet but the message is always clear as relayed to them by the producers. “That message is”, he says, “to leave it all out there, don’t leave anything to chance and do not leave that stage without knowing that you have done all that you know you can do.”
“What has been the hardest thing to leave behind?” I asked Stephanie. She does not view anything as a challenge but as more of an opportunity. While there has been a lot of travel in order for her to continue to work on her music at the same time, she has enjoyed it. “I have gotten a chance to work with so many great people from the industry that I never even known before. Everybody has been amazing, it has just been a blessing and I am learning a lot.”
You can catch the season premiere on Thursday, June 7th at 8/7c on FOX.
CR: Michael Becker / FOX. © 2018 FOX Broadcasting Company.