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Bay Brooks

Bay Brooks, the daughter of a Murphysboro native, auditioned on NBC's 'The Voice' this season.

A teenager with ties to Southern Illinois will appear on the hit reality TV show "The Voice."

Bay Brooks, the daughter of Murphysboro native Bill Burgess, auditioned for the show and her performance is expected to air on NBC on March 3 or March 9.

"It's been a wonderful opportunity for her -- the whole journey so far -- and it's not done yet," said her aunt, Sue Endres, who works for Carbondale media firm Highline Ideas. "We're excited to see where it goes."

Endres said the small town girl from Valdosta, Georgia, has not had musical training and discovered she could sing "by accident" after picking up a guitar when she was 15. 

"She was very creative," Endres said of Brooks growing up. "She was always a creative spirit, kind of quirky. She did like to entertain. She's animated."

She packed up and moved in May to Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue her music career. 

Getting selected to audition for "The Voice" was not on Brooks' radar, though, with the call from The Voice taking her by surprise. 

"She didn't have the confidence to do it herself, so a friend anonymously submitted a recording, and they called her to audition," Endres said.

Brooks' performance will be part of the "blind audition" phase where four coaches, including Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams, form teams based solely on a performer's voice.

Those selected by a coach enter battle rounds until 12 singers remain. After that, two singers are eliminated each week until a winner takes home $100,000 and a recording contract with Universal Music Group. 

Brooks' website describes her as a "free-spirited indie folk singer and songwriter." She has already developed a loyal fan club called Bay's Baes.

The fan club has designed a T-shirt that includes her logo, a tilted lower-case "bb," enclosed in a circle. Brooks said the logo is descriptive of her personality, style and beliefs.

"I use the lowercase "b's" because I want to make a point that I'm smaller in importance than others. I use a vintage typewriter font because I'm very old fashioned and have an old soul," Brooks said on her website. 

"I like to tilt the logo as if to look like a brand -- because the world is going to brand you if you don't brand yourself. The color is my favorite shade of blue -- like the ocean. My initials sit within a circle to signify the world 'cause we're all in this together."

Brooks has traveled extensively, getting stamps in her passport for trips to the United Kingdom, South America and the Caribbean, where she made connections and performed music to raise funds for orphanages, including the Hope for Life Children's Home she visited in Haiti.

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Chris Hottensen is the entertainment and features reporter for The Southern Illinoisan.

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