TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – She grinned from ear to ear, her smile growing wider by the minute. After all, this night was special.
For the 28-year-old, it was the moment she’s been working for, waiting for and dreaming of her entire life. A night many years in the making. This moment meant one thing.
Her dream came true.
Arei Moon is now over the moon.
She has good reason to be. When she began to sing on Tuesday night’s episode of NBC’s hit show, “The Voice,” the response was swift and, ultimately, deafening. Her performance was a huge success.
She hit a home run.
The cheers began, as the crowd and the judges went wild. This young lady belted out one heck of a song. She left little room to wonder how she’d handle the rest of this competition. It’s on, as they say, and she’s ready to rock.
She’s prepared a lifetime for this, and it’s here — her life-long dream. She’s thrilled it’s “finally happening.”
It’s clear to anyone who watches her perform, she’s all in, and all heart. But, make no mistake, this is no wallflower. Arei has laser focus and knows exactly what she wants. After spending five minutes with her, you’ll see it — her confidence. She told us, she knows firsthand what it means to struggle and to fail, to face defeat and keep trying, to fall over and over again, then pick yourself back up, never even entertaining the thought of quitting.
This contestant from the Bay Area wants to set the world on fire, and she’s determined to do it with her endless energy and unwavering perseverance. Those in the industry call that a killer combo. Add to that her strong spirit and can-do attitude, and the sky’s the limit.
At a watch party in Tampa on Tuesday night with her family and friends, she was beaming, her smile lit up the room. She was so pumped, so energized, embracing the moment as a contestant on the popular NBC show.
Even more thrilling, she recounts, is the moment she found out that she was moving on to the next phase of the competition. Her unforgettable performance Tuesday night was so strong, it propelled her to the next round called ‘The Battles.’
“It’s going to get crazy,” she said, smiling. “The battles!”
She told us it all feels a bit weird, and she still can’t believe she’s “finally competing” on the show after auditioning six times in six cities – never losing sight of her goal to land a coveted spot as a contestant.
Tonight, it happened.
Sheer joy was written all over her face, as she hugged friends and family at the Tampa watch party, grateful for their support. She knows it’ll be tough, with a grueling schedule — the biggest challenge of her life.
She told 8 on your Side, she’s ready to learn from the best judge, Nick Jonas.
“I can’t wait to work with Nick. He’s been in the industry his whole life, he knows the ups and downs, he’ll show me what to do.”
His advice, she says, will help her perfect her craft in this tough contest. It all comes down to one thing — the voice.
So, is she ready to risk it all? You bet.
As a matter of fact, she’ll be the first to say, it’s time. This is her moment to shine. She’s ready to put her talent on the line in front of millions each week, hoping to win their hearts, and ultimately in the end, win this competition.
The 28-year-old has worked for years to get here, and she’s giddy as she talks about it, her grin getting bigger and bigger as she recounts Tuesday night’s show where she was the very first one to take the stage.
She nailed it.
Her performance was stellar, with a voice so strong, it’s unforgettable and a passion so deep, there’s no doubt, singing fuels her and makes her happier than she’s ever been.
She smiled, then laughed as she told 8 on your Side, “Singing for me is living. Anything else,” she shrugged, “Just take it away. I don’t want it.” The stage is where Arei feels most alive, the place where her dreams come alive. It’s her safe place, her home, her comfort zone so to speak. It’s where the magic happens.
There’s one other source of strength for the self-described Florida girl, her husband. She married a Tampa man, calling the city “home.”
Her life, she admits, has taken many twists and turns, but she’s never taken her eyes off the prize to become a mainstream R&B singer, citing Alicia Keys and Rihanna as her role models in the music industry, setting the standard for success.
This young performer says she absolutely loved her most recent stint as a blues singer in Orlando, telling 8 on your Side, “It was awesome.” She says adored taking the stage each night, singing her heart out to audiences who reveled in her performance and her powerful voice.
And, after a lifetime of waiting, it’s that voice now competing on ‘The Voice,’ performing in front of millions of Americans, rooting for their favorites as they follow, with avid interest, the progress of contestants.
Arei is hoping folks in Florida will join her in this remarkable journey, one that is both deeply personal and soon-to-be also deeply public. The show is challenging, certainly not for the faint of heart. The contestants see their talents go under the microscope in the highly competitive music industry — all while the world watches.
It’s all part of the plan, she says. This is what it means to truly chase a dream with gusto and grit. She’ll spend this season on “The Voice” vying for a chance to win it all.
We know this truth already in week one. She’s tough.
Her voice is her strength, her spirit and her soul, booming through the rafters, strong and full. When she sang in front of America Tuesday night, her performance was downright goosebump-worthy. And, her voice seemed to resonate with those who heard it. Her moment on stage was met with great interest and support, which is half the battle on a show so wildly popular with big ratings and scores of fans. Yep, it’s on, and it’s time.
To compete. To sing. To win.
To chase her dream.