Put yourself in Todd Kessler's shoes. You're a modestly successful music teacher by day and The New Folk frontman by night. Then, everything changes. Now, you're hanging out in Los Angeles, performing in front of millions of national viewers and getting voice lessons from Cee-Lo.
Well, that's exactly what happened to Kessler. The Chicago-based musician spent this past summer participating as a contestant on NBC's "The Voice" and, after speaking with him last week, it sounds like a dream come true -- even if he had to keep it a secret at first. Kessler's been home in Chicago since the second week of August but the last episode of "The Voice" didn't air until October 15.
"I basically couldn't tell anybody anything right from the get go," he told this writer. "Just to do the blind auditions, I had to sign a contract stating I wouldn't say anything.
As you can probably imagine, Kessler was pained to leave a world of hair and makeup calls and celebrity hangouts to return to filling up his own gas tank. Despite the fact that he wasn't this season's winner, Kessler took away some huge gains from his time on the show.
First, Kessler went from being a local artist to a national sensation. It certainly helped him pick up plenty of new fans both in his hometown and across the U.S. And, as you might expect, participating in a music performance competition really upped Kessler's on stage skills.
"I learned a lot about performing. I thought I was a pro but when you go from playing Schbas to being on stage with 15 cameras pointed at your face it's so different. All of a sudden I was thrust into this huge space that I had to fill."
We're just glad that the West Coast life didn't suck Todd up permanently and that he still chooses to call Chicago home.
If you're used to watching him on the TV screen, now's your chance to check out his Team Cee-Lo-worthy voice live in concert. Todd Kessler and the New Folk will be playing a month-long residency at Uncommon Ground's Lakeview location this month, with all ages shows on January 9, 16, 23 and 30. Each show costs just $5 a ticket. In the meantime, listen to his band's debut album Sea Fever here.