Steamboat Springs When Nicci Curd steps onto stage Friday in Burbank, Calif., she’ll be wearing a pair of vintage 1980s leather pants, emblazoned with an eagle on the seat and red laces up the sides.
The man who asked her to come back for a second round of auditions for “The Voice” asked for a rocker chick, and he’s going to get it.
In the ‘80s, the pants belonged to local musician Ernie Thiel in his metal days. Today, Curd sings with Thiel in the 1980s and '90s cover band All About Me.
And those pants are now a part of Curd’s adventure living out her dream to be on NBC’s “The Voice.”
Curd made it through the first round of auditions in Los Angeles last weekend, getting called back from an arena of tens of thousands of singing hopefuls. She had a week at home in Steamboat Springs to prepare three to four songs to sing at callbacks.
If she makes it through the next round Friday, she’ll get a shot on the show singing for the four judges, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green.
Confident, assured and prepared, the local bartender, esthetician and snowmobile guide is ready for small-screen stardom.
“I’m not going to think about all the other competition,” Curd said Tuesday. “I’m really just competing against myself now.
“I like that idea that I’m this long shot from Colorado. I’m really confident going into the second round.”
Curd, a tall, strawberry blonde 2006 Steamboat Springs High School graduate, was once a little girl singing Aretha Franklin at the top of her lungs.
A dancer and a cheerleader, Curd also participated in several singing competitions in her teens.
She auditioned for “The Voice” last summer but didn’t make it through. This time she was more prepared, singing Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” a cappella.
She said she was at the Los Angeles Convention Center for four hours as she was ushered from waiting room to waiting room.
After she sang, the man running her audition room asked her and another girl to stay. The other girl was told she had potential, but was asked to leave. Curd expected the same to happen to her. Instead, the man asked her a few questions.
“He said, ‘I have a feeling that a gray room is not really where you perform,’” Curd recalled. “I said, ‘No, it’s not very inspiring, that’s for sure.’ He said, ‘I feel if I give you a microphone and a stage, you’ll rock.’ I said, ‘I do, and I will.’ And he pulled out that red card."
Back in Steamboat, Nicci’s mother, Debbie Curd, was in the grocery store when her daughter called. She said people were staring at her as tears streamed down her face.
“She has an incredible voice, but it’s not this voice you’d expect to come out of this tall blonde girl,” Debbie Curd said. “It’s a very soulful voice, and she can really, she can dig deep down.”
She said this year, her daughter was driven and confident through the audition process. And whether she makes it through the next round, it’s a win in Debbie’s book.
“I said, ‘No matter what happens, as long as you went out there and you give it everything and you can say you did the best you can do, then you can walk away and know you didn’t leave something on the table,” Debbie Curd said.
Debbie Curd’s boyfriend, Mike Kinnecom, a career musician and mentor to the younger Curd, also is in the band Meanie Pants and has watched the young singer blossom on stage and during their local shows.
“She came in with a voice already, and working with her in a band has brought out her showmanship,” Kinnecom said. “She had it in her, but she hasn’t had the place to show it off. I think she has an excellent voice, and I’ve worked with … hundreds of different vocalists. Nicci has a voice I’ve not heard before.”
Although the couple is out of town and unable to travel with Nicci, he said they are waiting to celebrate.
“We feel really good about it,” he said.
As for Curd, she’s visualizing herself on national television and winning the competition.
Who knows if she’ll get there, but she has to believe it can happen.
“I have to,” she said. “'I am the Voice, I am the Voice;’ I kept saying it to myself. When you convince yourself and you manifest it to be true, your energy will push you in that direction.”