Chicago Singer, Songwriter Competes on “The Voice”

Wicker Park's Erin Martin wowed judges with her rendition of "Hey There Delilah"

Wicker Park's Erin Martin says she always dreamed of living in Chicago. So she made it happen. She wanted to be a model. So she made that happen, too.

Now the 27-year-old wants to be a famous singer. And she's halfway there -- as a contestant on NBC's The Voice.

"I had no idea that they'd turned around, honestly. I was just so in the moment. This is my dream.  This is what I've always wanted," Martin said of her audition on the reality show.

It didn't take long for her unique voice to get the judges' attention. She had judge Blake Shelton spinning around in his chair before 20 seconds were up.

But Martin admits that at that moment she wasn't thinking about herself. She was thinking about her mom.

"My mom is freaking out backstage," she recalled thinking. "My mom is probably jumping up and down, screaming."

Martin has been writing songs and poetry since she was a little girl, but she said one of her greatest inspirations was one of her neighbors in her native Berrien Springs, Mich. -- Muhammad Ali. She performed for him in his house. 

"He just said some really encouraging, inspiring things to me, and honestly it changed my outlook on music and life forever," she said.

That performance led her to her first studio recording and eventually to understanding the challenges of breaking into the music industry.

"I think The Voice is a great launching platform for artists to get their stuff out there and to get heard," she said. "I just really like the concept of the show. ... to not be judged on the way you look and just on the way that you sound."

Martin has played at some local venues, at Milwaukee's Summerfest and has a few songs on iTunes. Her next appearance on The Voice will be in March when the battle rounds begin.

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