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ABQ singer is making her ‘Voice’ heard

Iliana Viramontes, who grew up in Albuquerque, auditioned on “The Voice.” (Tyler Golden/NBC)


Ilianna Viramontes’ first big step in music happened on the national stage.

The former Albuquerque resident appeared on Monday night’s episode of NBC’s “The Voice.”

bright spotAnd the 18-year-old singer was able to turn two of the judges’ chairs around with her rendition of “New Soul,” by Yael Naim.

Singers/judges Blake Shelton and Miley Cyrus then battled it out to gain Viramontes on their team.

Cyrus had help from fellow judge Adam Levine, who was trying to sway Viramontes towards Cyrus.

“I honestly went into the blind auditions leaning towards Miley,” she says. “I almost picked Blake. I’ve been a huge fan of Miley. I was Hannah Montana in fourth grade. She’s always had a big influence on me. It was always going to be Miley for me.”

Cyrus added Viramontes to her all-female team.

: Ilianna Viramontes

Ilianna Viramontes

Viramontes grew up in Albuquerque, where her father was an FBI agent. She resides in Brentwood, Calif.

Because of her father’s job, Viramontes moved around a lot but her one constant in life was music.

She couldn’t dedicate all of her time to music because she was busy with her other passions, including gymnastics and cheerleading.

After she made varsity cheerleading, she realized she wasn’t cheery enough to be a cheerleader.

Instead, Viramontes joined the school choir to pursue her music passion full time. The choir performed at Carnegie Hall, which convinced her to take music more seriously.

Viramontes’ music career has always consisted of being in a group.

“I’ve always put myself in group situations,” she said. “I always wanted and pictured myself as a solo artist. I didn’t have the confidence or the drive to put myself out there until I auditioned for the Berklee College of Music. I now see myself as a solo artist.”

On the show, Shelton told Viramontes, “thank God you’re not from Tennessee.”

Cyrus quickly interjected, “you kind of sound like it.”

Shelton told Viramontes that he loved her voice, which made him push his button.

“I’m not blind, I could see how excited you were when Miley turned,” Shelton said. “The way you were able to navigate that melody with perfect pitch, you would tell you were smiling.”

Cyrus immediately felt a bond with Viramontes’ singing style.

“I could hear some Patsy Cline tunes that we could do,” Cyrus said. “Maybe Tammy Wynette. I want to give you a little bit of a twist.”

Viramontes sees her style akin to Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles and Norah Jones.

She even missed her high school graduation to audition for ‘The Voice.”

She’s looking forward to being part of the show and learning a lot from Cyrus.

“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” she said of the audition process. “It was the best decision I ever made.”

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