Wé McDonald celebrates HSA and tells what she is doing now
Wé McDonald won us all over during her blind audition of “Feeling Good” for season 11 of NBC’s The Voice. She ended up coming in third place on the hit show and has been working ever since. She was on the Rocktopia tour and she’s now working on a new EP.
New Jersey native, We’Ani McDonald is a natural performer. She began playing the piano age of six, but she had already been singing and dancing. She was a prep student at Harlem School of the Arts and was a member of their esteemed Dorothy Maynor Singers. She earned the Clive Davis Institute’s Future Music Moguls Merit Scholarship.
Wé trained with Paquito D’Rivera for Latin Jazz at Berklee School of Music in Boston. Prior to appearing on The Voice, she sang for the National Urban League Annual Dinner Award, a Lincoln Center for a benefit event and has performed at Carnegie Hall and at the Apollo Theater.
Wé McDonald connected with Michelle Tompkins for The Hollywood Digest about her time on The Voice, what she is up to now including information on her new children’s book Little Girl with the Big Voice, what she loves about Harlem School of the Arts, what’s next for her and more.
Michelle Tompkins: What are you working on now?
Wé McDonald: Since appearing on NBC’s The Voice, I have shared the stage with music legends including Tony Bennett, Cee Lo Green, Stevie Wonder and Ledisi among many others. I have had the opportunity to release my children’s books in partnership with Lightswitch Learning, Little Girl with the Big Voice, inspired by how I dealt with and overcame bullying to find success. I have recently released my new single, Head Up High! And, I just concluded touring with Rocktopia, which was an amazing experience! While working on these projects, I have been working with producers to develop my new EP set for release early next year.
Michelle Tompkins: What was it like being on The Voice?
Wé McDonald: Scary, fun, amazing, eye-opening, nerve-wracking, genuine, empowering, and real! These are just some of the words I can use to describe my time on The Voice. I met amazing people with amazing stories to share. The Voice is a platform for artists to share their talents with the world. It allows you to meet with people you only dreamed of meeting in your lifetime. But above all, it’s a place where you can reflect on yourself and hone in on your dreams. Being on the show and among all of that talent really inspired me to pursue a career in music. The fans’ encouragement and knowing that people out there are inspired by your experience pushed me to become the artist I always wanted to be.
Michelle Tompkins: What is your favorite memory from The Voice?
Wé McDonald: My favorite memory was definitely me and Christian Cuevas hanging out doing stupid stuff backstage! We all had a lot of fun! It’s dope to be around people that understand your struggles and good times.
Michelle Tompkins: People like to mention the juxtaposition between your higher speaking voice and your lower singing voice. Has that always surprised people?
Wé McDonald: It definitely has. When I was a lot younger, I had that same variance between my speaking and singing voices, too. But because I was very young and didn’t know how to use my voice yet, I just sounded like a frog! But now, it’s better and much more developed. Plus, I like people’s reaction when they hear my voices for the first time, I think it’s really funny!
Michelle Tompkins: What was it like working with Alicia Keys?
Wé McDonald: It’s so amazing to have met her and to have been on her team during the show. She gave me so much wisdom that I am so grateful to be able to apply as I grow as an artist.
Michelle Tompkins: Why is Harlem School of the Arts important to you?
Wé McDonald: HSA means so much to me. I studied at HSA, it’s actually where I developed my talent as an actor and singer. It is where I began my vocal and piano training in the classics, where I evolved into the artist I am today, covering genres from Jazz to Rock n’ Roll to Blues. It’s a place of empowerment where artists can come to hone their talents and be themselves. I love this place and I am so grateful for my experience there.
Michelle Tompkins: What is next for you?
Wé McDonald: I am really focusing on my new EP. It is truly a reflection of me. Not only am I growing as a woman, but I am also growing as a sister, a daughter, a voice and an artist overall. I cover everything from social injustice, rising above the haters, loving yourself, loving each other, knowing your love, chasing your dreams, achieving your goals and beyond. It’s literally my perspective, how I have seen things over the past year and what I hope to see in the future, for myself and for others… I am so excited to share my music with the world!
I also plan to continue to tour, and potentially, you may be seeing me on the small AND big screen soon!
Michelle Tompkins: How do you like fans to reach out to you?
Wé McDonald: I am really active on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. I love to connect with fans on those platforms because everything is real time. We can react to big news, talk about trends and I can even get their opinions on what music to put out next or what they would like to hear.
Michelle Tompkins: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Wé McDonald: I always wanted to do great things and make my friends and family proud. My fans mean the world to me. I wouldn’t be who I am without the people who support me. So just know that whenever I do anything, it’s for all of you.