Student Features

PA Cyber senior auditions for 'The Voice'

Feb 12, 2018

Marcello Greco, 18, of Chester, recently tried out in Boston.

A PA Cyber senior had the chance of a lifetime— auditioning for NBC's "The Voice" — and he's not done yet.

Marcello Greco, 18, of Chester, Pa. tried out for the Emmy Award-winning show last year but didn't advance beyond the first song. Greco decided to try again for a spot on Season 14 of the show that features competitors from around the country.

After his first rejection, a producer suggested getting vocal lessons. Marcello said it's something he would like to do, but he doesn't have the money for it. He has been singing around the house since he was 5 years old, but he didn't get serious about music until he was 15.

"I do a little bit of everything except country and heavy metal, mostly pop," he said.

Despite no formal lessons, he said friends have admired his raw talent, and this year he felt more prepared.

On Jan. 26, Marcello left home on a bus with one bag and a guitar headed for Boston to join thousands of other hopefuls. He arrived at 4:30 a.m. and waited patiently in line for six hours. For the first audition, he chose to sing "Death of a Bachelor" by Panic! at the Disco.

"You have to sing one song. If they like you, you sing a second song," he said.

The judge wanted Marcello to sing again. He started the first verse of "Stargazing" by Kygo and the judge stopped him mid-verse. Marcello felt nervous thinking his chance was over. Instead, he was given a piece of paper congratulating him to the next round.

"It was a good thing," he said. "It was like 'OK, you're good at singing, so stop singing.' So that was cool."

For the next audition, he had to prepare three to four songs while playing an instrument, and an instrumental.

Two days later, he headed out to audition at a recording studio, a smaller venue, where there were more producers than singers.

Marcello woke up at 5 a.m., eager to prepare his voice for the 10 a.m. appointment. Despite rising early, Marcello said he never got the chance to properly warm up his vocals. As he performed his song, he felt off. He remembers thinking it wasn't going to work, that he didn't sound good.

"My voice wasn't ready. I know the people I auditioned for didn't hear my voice."

Producers declined and thanked him for coming out, reassuring him that he has potential. Though disappointed, Marcello said he would have been more upset if he thought he did well. Competitors who were accepted moved on to a third audition in Los Angeles. Six days later, on Jan. 31, he returned home.

The new season of "The Voice" premieres Feb. 26 with returning celebrity coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, and first-time coach Kelly Clarkson.

Marcello said he plans on auditioning again — provided it's close enough — and he'll be fully prepared. A self-taught musician, he also plays ukulele, piano, and drums, among other instruments.

"I at least know where my faults were. I do believe if they heard the depth of my voice, my actual voice, I probably would have gotten put through."

His grandmother Margie McCarthy, whom he lives with, remembers Marcello singing in the tub at 5 years old. She and his mom, Kelly Greco, who travels often, both agree he's the only musical talent in the family.

"I noticed there was something different about his voice. He used to make up his own songs," McCarthy said. "I think God has given him a special talent. I just felt like, at one point, God was going to use him as a worship leader."

She said Marcello performs with his church's worship team. She believes he'll be discovered someday.

"I told him 'we know you have the talent. It's just God's timing when it gets brought out and recognized.'"

Marcello plans to someday become a professional musician, performing and collaborating with others in the music industry. He began attending PA Cyber in eighth grade and said he enjoys the flexibility that cyber school offers.

"To be perfectly honest, if I went to a [traditional] public school, I feel like I would have a much harder time doing music. Plus, I'm a late-night person. I do homework at 2 a.m. and play music."

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About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.