EXCLUSIVE | Heather Youmans says ‘I Can See Your Voice’ is all about finding 'singers that America needs to know'
In an exclusive with MEAWW, Heather Youmans recalled Ken Jeong's 'You are a genius' tweet and said 'I actually think HE is a genius'
Fox’s ‘I Can See Your Voice’ is a new game show that premiered this year on Fox channel and has garnered over four million viewers. Each week one contestant has the chance to win a cash prize (up to $100,000) if he or she could tell the difference between the good and bad singers, without ever hearing them sing a note. In each episode, there are six secret voices each with their own pseudonym, but nobody knows how many good singers and bad singers there are in the bunch.
While the bad singers are in for a ride, the good ones get a chance to show off their amazing talent in front of the whole world. One such gifted talent is of Heather Youmans who appeared as ‘The Tap Dancer’ on Episode 4, which aired on October 28. The celebrities in front of whom Heather had the opportunity to perform were Superstar Pat Monahan of Train, Celebrity Detectives Bob Saget, Yvette Nicole Brown, Cheryl Hines and host Ken Jeong.
In an exclusive with MEAWW, Heather Youmanstalks about her experience on the show, her passion for music and her latest single Shine.
How do performers get selected?
You know, the craziest thing happened. One day, I was at lunch and got a random call from a casting director, who thought I’d be a great match for the show. I wasn’t even expecting it, but someone referred me after seeing some of my performances online. I’m incredibly grateful they thought of me and that I was cast in a role showcasing my two loves: singing and tap dancing!
How was your experience working along with Ken Jeong, did you get a chance to talk to any other celebrity on the show?
On the set, it was clear Ken Jeong is a really good person. Good people attract other kind people, and that positive vibe was apparent on the set. The environment was so warm and welcoming for artists. Ken reached out after filming to thank me for being on the show and shared some words of encouragement. The night the episode aired, he tweeted at me with probably the best compliment I’ve ever received: “You are a genius. Just incredible. Can’t wait to see your star soar!!!!” I actually think HE is a genius, so it meant a lot coming from him! After the show aired, several of the celebrity detectives reached out to me over social media with some kind words. I’m so grateful for all of them and their support.
What instructions are given to the performers to maintain disguise?
Our identity was shrouded in secrecy until the air date. The secret voices found out who the good and bad singers were at the same time as the celebrity detectives and music superstar, Pat Monahan of Train. The producers went at length to assure all six secret voices didn’t know each other prior to filming. We listened to music on headphones backstage to assure we didn’t overhear one of the singers practicing. While filming the episode, we had to keep a poker face until our reveal moment, which was so hard, because Ken Jeong and a bunch of other comedians brought their A-game jokes!
The Chef aka Caleb Minter helped Sylie win the grand prize on a rather emotional episode, guest judge Yvette Nicole Brown tried to set them up for a date. Do you agree the couple would be a good match?
When I heard Yvette Nicole Brown tried to set them up, I thought they’d make a really cute couple! I texted Caleb afterward and was like, “so are you going out on date or what?” Now, we all know, they did!
How do you think the show is different from ‘The Masked Singer'?
'The Masked Singer' and 'I Can See Your Voice' both use the concepts of characters and mystery, but instead of showcasing celebrity talent exclusively, 'I Can See Your Voice' highlights up-and-coming singers that America needs to know! Another key difference is that every episode stands alone and a new group of secret voices, celebrity detectives and music superstars are brought in each week to keep it fresh.
Do you think the exposure that the good singers get in the show help them further their career? How would you say it has impacted your life?
The show is viewed by millions of people each week, so it’s a pretty awesome platform for singers looking to reach more fans. 'I Can See Your Voice' fans are positive, kind and encouraging, and for that reason, I’m lucky to now have a support group like that! So many singers wait years to perform on national television, and once it happens, it’s a pretty glorious feeling to have your talents recognized by that many people. It’s only been a few weeks and the show has opened new doors for me. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Who are some of your biggest music inspirations and why? When did you first realize you have a passion for music?
My music is influenced by a range of dynamic women in music, including HAIM, P!nk, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, Joss Stone and Donna Missal. I released a new song in September called “Shine” and fans say it sounds a lot like HAIM and Sara Bareilles. I wrote the song as a love letter to my younger self. It’s everything me now would tell me then: "You are beautiful, you are strong. Hold your head up and honey let your hair down." After it was shared by Forbes Women and Parade Magazine, the song quickly became a self-love anthem for ladies everywhere. The music video is inspired by `90s romcom 'Never Been Kissed' starring Drew Barrymore and offers everyone a much-needed dose of optimism and happiness.
My family tells me it was pretty obvious I was born to sing. Instead of reading, I’d sing through my childhood flipbooks. Every morning, my mom would drive by horses and I’d beg her to pull the car over, so I could sing to them. I come from a musical family and everyone sings or plays an instrument. My earliest musical memory was belting out the 1999 VH1 Diva’s Live album (featuring Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Aretha, Shania Twain and more) with my mom in the car. What I’m trying to say is I didn’t choose music. It chose me. My mom always told me, “if you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do or think about is singing, then you’re a singer.” That’s so true!
To be a full time artist and a performer requires immense dedication and discipline, what motivates you and keeps you going?
I try to take it one day at a time. There are a thousand little steps on a journey like this and rarely does a big opportunity manifest overnight. Success doesn’t come without failure first. The woman that viewers saw tap dancing and singing on national television was standing on top of her failures. I’m proud to say I’ve failed, because that’s what’s helped me succeed.
When things don’t go my way, I recognize that I’m not for everyone or all opportunities, then I focus on what I can control – my mindset and skill set. The entertainment industry is like playing the lottery. You just have to put in the work every single day, put yourself out there, keep “playing” and then, eventually, you’ll be blessed with an opportunity that’s right for you!
Do you have plans on coming back to another reality show?
I would welcome an opportunity to appear on other singing reality shows. The platform is unmatched, and I’ve gained a real sense of community making friends with other singers from the show! I’ll be collaborating with secret voices from other episodes of 'I Can See Your Voice', so keep an eye out for videos on my Instagram (@heatheryoumans). I promise, there will be tap dancing!
'I Can See Your Voice' airs on Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Fox.