Music has become a driving force in the life of a Gilbert 16-year-old — and may lead him to appear on this season’s The X Factor in the hopes of winning a $5 million recording contract.
Josh Metzler, a junior at Gilbert Classical Academy, auditioned for the show in Austin, Texas, appearing before judges Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid.
“I was Britney and Demi’s first audition,” he said. The two judges are new to the show this season.
“I was sitting there eating lunch and all of a sudden they called, ‘Josh Metzler,’” he said. From there, it was hurry up and wait, said Josh’s father, Tony Metzler, who accompanied his son to the Austin auditions.
“It was incredible, so surreal,” Josh said about performing before the judges, people he describes as music industry “icons.”
While waiting in the wings for nearly three hours to be called onstage, Josh could see the thousands of people in the audience and the four judges.
“You get on-stage and you forget about everything,” he said. “Your nerves are either going to push you or not allow you to get your full potential.”
But it appears the young musician’s nerves were able to push him to his best.
Josh received the first unanimous yes of the season from the judges for his rendition of The Script’s ‘Breakeven,’ he said.
He was asked to attend the show’s Miami boot camp in late July.
Boot camp, he said, was taxing physically, mentally and emotionally. Working long and late hours was one of the most challenging things he’s ever done.
“Boot camp was the most pressure-filled experience of my life,” Josh said. “One parent, who was a marine, compared it to the marine boot camp where, first thing, they don’t allow you to sleep for three days.”
But appearing on The X Factor isn’t the first music reality TV show Josh has appeared on. He first appeared on last year’s Majors & Minors, a television show that took 12 finalists between the ages of 12- and 16-years-old and walked them through the music business, eventually granting one of them a music contract.
“Majors & Minors was a huge part of my training,” he said. “It trained me for what it means to be a performer, what it means to be performing rather than just singing and translating that to the stage.”
Josh, who began singing after joining choir in fourth grade, also plays violin and taught himself to play piano and guitar.
“Music is arguably the biggest part of my life,” he said. “It’s really becoming my niche, my way of expressing my emotions and has played a huge roll in me developing as a person.”
A few years go, Josh created a YouTube channel to spread his music, covering popular music with his acoustic guitar from his bedroom. It’s a tactic first successfully employed by Justin Beiber, who gained fame through his faithful online following prior to being signed by a record label.
Since appearing on YouTube, he has gathered more than 25,000 subscribers and received more than 2.3 million video views.
“The more experience and exposure I can get is good, but I don’t want to rush it,” he said. “But I am looking to record more soon.”
Josh’s YouTube channel can be found at www.youtube.com/user/azsinger62. His single from Majors & Minors, Hanging Onto the Moon, can be purchased on iTunes.
The X Factor on Fox with the first four shows will air audition footage beginning 7 p.m. Wednesday and continuing 7 p.m. Sept. 13, 19 and 20.
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