Rock Star: The Series will take off in the summer in the United States and with it, the rock band Supernova. It’s now hunting for that very special lead singer.
Imagine being the lead singer for a new band, with rock legends Tommy Lee from Motley Crue; Gilby Clarke, ex- Guns ‘n’ Roses axman; and bassist Jason Newsted, ex-Metallica, as your fellow members.
Michelle McNulty, casting director for Mark Burnett proffers some advice on some of the aspects they are looking for. "The image of a rock star is always a skinny person but look at what constitutes today’s ‘rock star’. There’s the lead singer of Stained who is a little overweight, and then there’s Coldplay’s Chris Martin who looks a little geeky, but when he’s on stage, you just can’t take your eyes off him.".If you think you have what it takes to front a world-class band and to headline a world tour, and if you know you have the mettle for metal, then you could just be the person to fit the bill for the second season of Rock Star: The Series.
Supernova is looking for 16 talented individuals from around the world to compete in the show to win the ultimate gig — be part of the "supergroup of the decade", cut an album, and go on a worldwide tour as the group’s frontman.
This is the stuff rock ‘n’ roll dreams are made of and this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for fame. Star World, together with Mark Burnett Productions, is holding Asian auditions tomorrow with callbacks on Sunday at the Berjaya Times Square’s Exhibition Hall in Kuala Lumpur.
Auditions have already been held in 26 cities and now, they’re coming to Asia. Handling the auditions here are Mark Burnett Productions’ talent producer Sam Gollestani and casting associate Holly Gardner who will be flying in all the way from Hollywood.
"The biggest thing is that they have to be honest in their performance. A lot of people come in thinking we want to see something crazy, like running around the stage and jumping about. In fact, that is not an honest performance, and trust me, we can tell. I love it when people get up there, be real and honest and just give an amazing performance.
"We are also looking for that X-factor — you see someone walking into the room, and he just catches your eyes. The quality and energy about them is undeniable.
"Finally, your voice does matter! So, be careful not to let your adrenalin and nerves take over. You can get crazy — if that is honestly you — but just be sincere."
McNulty is a professional dancer who has been casting for television shows for years. She said that this year’s contestants are expected to be harder rockers than last year’s.
"We are looking for a different style of singers. This season’s Rock Star has three really heavy rockers, who haven’t played together yet. So the singer they choose will also help to establish the sound and overall feel of the band, Supernova.
"If we get a John Mayer type, that’s wonderful, but we’ve also had our Incubuses, our screamers, the jazzy kind and the bluesy rockers. So, we are really open to all kinds of rock sounds."
The level of talent definitely has risen since last year’s Rock Star, apparently.
"We are getting musicians who have been doing what they do their whole life, playing in clubs, and they have been fine-tuning their songwriting skills ...just waiting for their big break," she said.
Meanwhile, McNulty who has also headed other Mark Burnett Productions like The Contender with Sylvester Stallone says that this year’s Rock Star: The Series, is also a lot more artiste-friendly.
"We have an amazing house band and it would be a shame not to make the most of it. We are encouraging the final 16 contestants to change the cover song and be as creative as possible, as well as change the arrangement and the sound. The house band can do anything you put before it.
"Even during the early rounds of auditions, we encourage contestants to be as creative as they can with their cover songs. There was this one female singer who came in and said she wanted to sing Olivia Newton John’s Hopelessly Devoted To You and she really rocked it out! She completely changed the arrangement, turning it into a rock song — and it worked!"
"Another guy who came on stage ran and jumped on the tables and went wild! He was out of control and very rock ‘n’ roll, but it looked contrived, too stereotypical. It was rather amusing.
"However, there was one singer who just stood there, and he sang with so much passion, it just made me cry," she said, adding that no one should assume the casting team wants to see people flipping out with rock and roll.
"You have to imagine that you are singing in front of 50,000 people, fronting a major music group."
For those who feel that they may sound the part but may not look it, McNulty says talent will always prevail at the end.
Has she ever had a contestant who refused to accept that he didn’t make it?
"Oh yes. Actually, this is the hardest part of my job. And the greatest thing about my job is helping people realise their dreams."
On the most overdone songs by hopefuls, she said: "There have been a lot of Fuel songs, Bon Jovi and a lot of the women contestants have been doing Janis Joplin’s Piece Of My Heart."
She said that Asian contestants are allowed to sing in their own language as long as they also sing the same song in English. "Music is a universal language," she said, recalling the auditions in the United States where some contestants sang Spanish numbers.
"But because of the show, there is a need to know that they can also sing in English. But I am really looking forward to hearing some Asian languages. It’ll be different, and I am very excited!"
Although there have been more males trying out for the competition compared to females, there has been an increase in women vying for the position.