Amy Vachal ’11 continued to deliver strong performances as she advanced through the rounds on NBC’s The Voice, reaching the semifinals of the competition. In recent weeks, she found success by offering her own unique takes on popular songs by Drake, Taylor Swift, and N*Sync, all of which reached the top ten on the iTunes top songs chart.
A review of her performance of N*Sync's "Bye Bye Bye" at Bustle calls Vachal “a true artist” for her inventive arrangements: “Though every singer in this competition sings covers, there's something special about the way Vachal does it. Instead of mimicking the original artist, she does everything she can to make it her own. She breaks down a piece of music to the point where it's unrecognizable, then adds her own flavor to it.” Read the full review at Bustle.
Following the performance, coach Adam Levine agreed that she is coming into her own as an artist, and judge Gwen Stefani stated that Vachal is ready to tour.
In her semifinals performance, Vachal delivered a stripped down cover of Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love." Its emotional power resonated with both judges and audience members alike. Judge Pharrell Williams noted that Vachal's voice "seems like it is made of what beautiful clouds are made of," while Levine noted how captivated the audience was. Entertainment Weekly called it her best performance yet.
Despite the powerful performance and the song reaching the top five on the iTunes top songs chart, Vachal was eliminated before reaching the finals.
While at Swarthmore, Vachal double majored in economics and art and was a member of the women's lacrosse and soccer teams. She told My Central Jersey that it was at Swarthmore that she began to move toward music.
"I was taking little steps toward practicing this deep-seated passion of mine — to play music,” she said. “Like daring to try out for the a capella group in college or playing little shows with my college band that we formed with a bunch of soccer players. I started going to open mics. I would just get my feet wet and chip away at what I really wanted to do." After graduation, she moved to New York City to pursue music.
When the opportunity to audition for The Voice came along, Vachal seized it. “Up until [the blind audition], I had played many, many shows, but mostly to small rooms, like little coffee shops or bars where 20 to 30 people would show up and that would be a good night for me,” she said. "It can be really nerve-wracking to know that you are going to walk out on stage in front of hundreds of people and the backs of four chairs. I had to bring myself down to remember why I do music. I just said, ‘God, I know that this opportunity came from you, and I will give it my best shot, but I put it in your hands.’ As soon as those doors opened and I walked across the stage, I had my head on straight, and I just really wanted to connect with whoever was listening."
Throughout her run on the show, the Swarthmore community expressed their support of Vachal on social media. People on and off campus tweeted their congratulations as she advanced, shared her videos, and called on others to vote for Vachal.
Following her elimination, Vachal tweeted her gratefulness for the opportunity, calling it an unbelievable journey and thanking fans for their love and support throughout. She also wished the remaining competitors luck.