Hailing from a big Filipino family, Hawai’i native Kaylee Shimizu earned 4-chair turns and a standing ovation on the newest season of The Voice US!
Reality singing competition The Voice has showcased a Filipino talent in its 24th season that you want to pay attention to. Hawai’i native Kaylee Shimizu delivered a show-stopping rendition of the Beatles’ Golden Slumbers on the Blind Auditions and had her pick of all four coaches afterward. All four judges—John Legend, returning champ Niall Horan, Gwen Stefani, and new judge Reba McIntyre—turned for the young artist and were rendered speechless by her performance.
Filipinos have gone far on the singing competition before. Just in the last couple of years, singer Jej Vinson was able to compete on The Voice twice, first as a solo artist on Season 16, where his Passionfruit performance garnered millions of views and praise and acclaim from the judges and the audience, and second as part of a trio called Sheer Element. The first time, he made it to the top 13, and the second time, Sheer Element made it to the Battle Rounds.
Kaylee looks to be a crowd favorite. Her dazzling vocals, presence, creativity, and control were lauded by the judges as they fought for her after her stellar performance. Here’s what you need to know about this talented young star.
SINGING IN THE BLOOD
“I grew up singing karaoke…Filipino family, so I’ve been singing for my whole life,” Kayla shares before she enthusiastically brings up her family with her on stage after her audition. The close-knit family is based in Ewa Beach in Oahu, Hawai’i, and they all love to sing (besides her father!). She chose Golden Slumbers in honor of her late great-grandfather, who was her biggest supporter.
The seventeen-year-old loves soulful R&B, so it made sense for her to choose to be on Team Legend. With the beginning of the Battle Rounds nearing, we’re seated to see how far she goes.
@amazingvidclips365 The Philipines must got something in their water cuz the vocals are insane 🤯 #philippines #listen #beyoncelisten #beyonce #tntboys #harmony #thevoice #thevoicekids #thevoiceuk #thevoiceglobal #thevoiceusa #thevoiceaustralia #thevoiceau #thevoiceofgermany #thevoicethailand #for #foryou #foryoupage #foru #foruyou #forupage #trend #trending #viral #singing #viralvideo #vocals #riffchallenge #runchallenge #gospel #beingblack #black #juneteenth #filipino #randb #randbmusic ♬ original sound – JustSing🎤🎶
There’s a running joke on social media asking what’s in the Philippine waters given the abundance of singing talent among Filipinos. People often ask why are Filipinos so good at singing? Regardless if you fit the bill or not (I know I don’t), there’s an ever-increasing visibility of Filipino talent all over the world. The connections between cities, countries, and continents have never been more clear nor more deeply-rooted.
Both mainland and diaspora Filipino artists make their way to the global stage, whether as emerging musicians or through competitions like The Voice. Think Bruno Mars or Jessica Sanchez (who Kaylee even covered!). Now, as more cultures intersect and more identities are represented on screens, there’s no doubt that Filipino talent continues to shine on the international level.
And this isn’t just a case of wanting to yell “Pinoy pride!” to the world. Kaylee is of Filipino heritage, but also a Hawai’i native. She is undoubtedly of a multicultural upbringing. But there’s no need for identity wars here.
While the discourse and criticism on “Pinoy pride” is long-standing and relevant, there’s no reason not to celebrate her culture and identity when she herself made sure to mention her family and her roots. Her visibility and achievements are hers to own, no matter how much she identifies with the different cultures that are part of her life, but there’s nothing wrong with celebrating them with her. And it’s amazing to see people of different cultures—especially ours—strive to reach their dreams on such a big scale. With Kaylee’s talent, story, and drive, she’s definitely one to watch.