Western Voice 2019: Meet the Contestants

Now that the show is right around the corner, it’s time to learn a little bit about our contestants who are competing for $500 and the title of winner of Western’s largest singing competition!

Top: Talal, Mark, Patrick, Madison Bottom: Destinie, Esther, Audrey Missing: Stefanie

Audrey Elizabeth



What is your year and program?

BMSc Honours Spec. Physiology, 4th year

What are you most excited about for Western Voice?

Performing is still fairly new to me, and I’m always looking for opportunities to push myself out of my comfort zone a little. Also, I’ve always enjoyed surrounding myself with people that encourage me to be better in some way, and Talal is truly one of the most talented individuals I have ever met. He’s a natural when it comes to performing, so it’s been amazing getting to learn from him, and I’m very excited to share the stage with him!


When did you discover a love for music?

I’ve been singing and playing instruments since I was very very little, so it’s hard for me to pinpoint a time! I come from a very musical family, so music was essentially present from the time I was born onward, and had an influence on the person I grew into. I asked my mother what the fondest memory she had of little me singing was, and she laughed and said “The Phonics Song at Oxford Learning Center!”. It was this crazy tacky song that was used to help us learn to read. I have no memory of it whatsoever, but my twin sister still knows the song by heart. But she also remembers our best friend from 3rd grade’s home phone number. She has a strange mind (lol).

What do you consider your style of music?

Finding my style has been an interesting journey, and one that I am very much still on. When I was little, I took vocal lessons and was in musical theatre, so at that point it looked like I was heading towards show tunes. Those influences still peek through sometimes. I was working at a summer camp a few years ago and I would always sing while I cleaned tables in the dining hall. There was one morning when another staff member walked in and told me I should be a Disney Princess! When the musical theatre phase ended, my main influences were the rest of my family, and we would play a lot of alternative rock and indie around the house, and so singing along with those started shaping my voice in that direction. I’ve always really loved those styles of music. In high school, I fell in love with country music, and so I started singing country songs and finding ways to make them work with my voice as well. I have zero twang, but I still had a lot of fun with it. Currently, I’ve been really obsessed with singers that have crazy powerful voices. This isn’t necessarily a style, but I’d say raising my range and learning to sing with a stronger upper register is the goal I have set for myself right now. Tl;dr: Part of what I love so much about singing is that I don’t necessarily have to pick a certain style. Music is something I consistently come back to when I need to destress. I enjoy that I get to be creative, and that I get to go in whatever direction I decide I want to go in.

What is something you think others should know about the process going into WV?

It can be a little stressful at times, but it’s totally worth it!


Esther Chang



What is your year and program?

Medical Sciences, 1st year

What are you most excited about for Western Voice?

I’m really excited to sing on a proper stage in front of a large crowd. My performances are usually restricted to my shower.

When did you develop a love for music?

I moved around a lot back in elementary and high school and was always pretty shy so I relied on music a lot when I didn’t have anyone to lean on. I don’t really remember when I developed a love for it but music has been a constant in my life when everything else was changing.

What is your music style?

I listen to everything and I usually just sing whatever I’m in the mood for that day so I wouldn’t really say I have a specific style. However, when I perform I usually sing a pop ballad.


What is something you think others should know about the process going into Western Voice?

Make sure to divvy up your time properly. Being in science I have so many assignments and readings and it’s hard to focus on those when I have Western Voice in the back of my head. However, I don’t regret partaking in this experience because through it I’m able to step outside of my comfort zone (ie filming a music video). Western Voice takes up a lot of time but it gives you opportunities to do things you wouldn’t get to do otherwise.


Talal Al-Sharif



What is your year and program?

Media, Information and Technoculture, 1st year

What are you most excited for about Western Voice?

Performing my duet with Audrey.

When did you develop a love for music?

When I was 10 and I saw my brother playing guitar, so I wanted to copy him.

What is your music style?

The good kind

What is something you think others should know about the process going into Western Voice?

I almost died tryna film my video lmaooo



Patrick Clark



What is your year and program?

Popular Music Studies, 4th Year

What are you most excited about for Western Voice?

I’m really looking forward to the duet performance. Madison is a really talented vocalist and I think we’ve got something really cool prepared.

When did you develop a love for music?

I started playing the drums when I was 6 and that sort of kicked everything off for me.

What is your music style?

I primarily work in the country music genre

What is something you think others should know about the process going into Western Voice?


I think it’s easy to look at the event on the day of and not fully understand how much work goes into making something of this scale run effectively. The entire team at the CSA has been incredible in making this all come together and I think it’s going to be something really special.


Destinie Ly



What is your year and program?

Popular music studies, 3rd year

What are you most excited about for Western Voice?

I’m most excited for getting the opportunity to perform in front of a big audience and seeing my vision for the performance come to life!

When did you develop a love for music?

of a big audience and seeing my vision for the performance come to life! I developed a love for music at age 10. Singing has always been something I loved to do since I was really young, but as I got older singing and writing music really helped me get through some tough times and inspire me in different ways.

What is your music style?

My style of music is r&b and soul. I love old school 80s and 90s r&b like Mariah, Whitney, Marvin Gaye, and Aaliyah so my music definitely comes from those inspirations.


What is something you think others should know about the process going into Western Voice?

I think people should definitely know that although it’s a competition, Western Voice is more than that because you definitely get an opportunity to build so many great friendships and be as creative as you want to showcase who you are as a musician. Also, it’s such a great opportunity to challenge yourself!


Madison Phanthavong



What is your year and program?

Chemistry and Biochemistry, 4th year

What are you most excited about for Western Voice?

I’m most excited to be able to just be on stage and do something that I’ve always really enjoyed doing! I’m excited for the audience to see all the work, design and passion we’ve put into our numbers.

When did you develop a love for music?

I developed a love for music as kid by mostly listening to stuff my cousins listened to, a lot of punk/alternative rock bands in the 90’s and early 2000s. From there I got super into pop music and even did show choir for a bit in high school.

What is your music style?

I’ve pretty much only ever done acoustic covers of songs and I don’t mind sticking with that!


I like breaking down popular songs into more chill, easy-listening kind of vibes and getting together with friends and finding some fun harmonies. I love to focus on bringing out the emotion and meaning in the lyrics and I think performing with just my voice and an acoustic guitar is the easiest way to approach that. I love to focus on bringing out the emotion and meaning in the lyrics and I think performing with just my voice and an acoustic guitar is the easiest way to approach that.

What is something you think others should know about the process going into Western Voice?

The amount of thought and design that’s been put into the show! From lighting cues to choreography to arrangements for duets; the contestants and execs have put a lot of time into making the best possible show for y’all and we’re excited to share what we’ve got!


Stefanie Tom



What is your program and year?

English and Business, 4th year

What are you most excited for about western voice?

Getting the chance to perform! It’s my favourite thing about singing.

When did you develop a love for music?

I loved singing ever since I was a little kid, but I knew it was serious when I wrote a song with a friend and performed it at an assembly in high school.

What is your music style?

I’m still trying to figure it out, but I love singing pop. I’ve started writing my own songs and I feel like I like singing anything that I feel connected to.


What is something you think others should know about the process going into Western Voice?

It’s super legit and there’s so much work that goes into it behind the scenes. I’m really grateful for all the effort CSA has put into it! (Also shoutout to my manager Jin for always being an amazing support)


Mark Cam



What is your year and program?

BMOS, 1st year

What are you most excited about for Western Voice?

I’m definitely excited for the chance to perform in front of so many people, and at such a new and inspiring setting. Ever since coming to university I’ve always felt there’s been a little void in my life as I haven’t had the time to keep in touch with my more creative side as the academics of university have been so demanding and challenging. Western Voice has given me an outlet to reconnect with my passion for music and performing arts.

When did you develop a love for music?

I have been involved with music since a very young age. I started playing violin at six years old, piano at 12, and a couple other instruments like piano and guitar once I entered high school.


At every point in time of my life music has always been there and has really played an important role in developing who I am today. I think I really found a passion for the performing arts in grade 8 when I was volunteering at seniors home. Music really is a universal language and being able to inspire, comfort, and bring smiles to people’s faces through simple songs was when I recognized how impactful music can be. Ever since then I’ve loved to share and collaborate with others about my passion for music and have been so grateful for all of the friends I’ve made along the way.

What is your music style?

To be quite honest, I don’t really listen to a lot of music in my free time. Growing up playing violin, however, has given me great appreciation for classical music. In terms of performance, I really like slower songs which kind of flow as if they were a story. I think the most important thing for me is the story behind the song. In every piece of music, the composer has deliberately created phrases and lyrics in order to convey a certain message and as artists, it is our job to perform the piece in such a way the best delivers that theme.

What is something you think others should know about the process going into Western Voice?

When I signed up for Western Voice I thought it was more of a low-key, talent show type of performance that didn’t require a whole lot of commitment. Little did I know what a huge production and opportunity this was! Though at first I was a little taken aback, I quickly adjusted and made sure to try and meet all the deadlines while also fitting in time to practice and prepare for all the different components. My advice would definitely to take this opportunity seriously and really do everything you can to shape what you want out of the competition. You won’t have another opportunity with so many resources and passionate teams of people willing to help you create and perform your vision. That being said, make sure to not take yourself too seriously. After all, music is meant to be enjoyable, have fun and make friendships that will last yourself a lifetime.