Salma returns to NYC for ‘The Voice’ on Thursday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Provided photo by Alana Ross – Salma Huzair is pictured in New York City on Sunday after earning a Red Ticket to advance past the auditions for “The Voice.” She won’t be allowed to discuss the show publicly after Thursday when she returns to NYC.

MEDINA – Salma Huzair will head back to New York City on Wednesday to take the next step in “The Voice,” a singing competition on NBC.

Salma, 15, passed the initial audition on Sunday to advance to the next step. She is due back for the show on Thursday morning. NBC also is requiring confidentiality and issued a gag order for participants beginning on Thursday.

Salma and her parents, Bilal Huzair and his wife Alana Ross, thanked the community for their support for Salma so far. They said that has helped Salma build her confidence in singing publicly and fielding questions from the media and producers from “The Voice.”

“There is no way she would have got this far without their support,” Mr. Huzair said. “It’s just been overwhelming with all the support.”

Salma had a 2 p.m. appointment with “he Voice” on Sunday. There seemed to be thousands of singers there for the weekend, trying to pass the initial audition with producers.

Salma was led into a room, “Number 8,” with nine other singers. They were each given about 90 seconds to impress the producers. Salma was the 10th and final person to sing in her group.

“I wasn’t too nervous,” Salma said. “I was mostly excited.”

She sang, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” by Eva Cassidy. Salma was the only one in her group to get a Red Ticket and advance.

Salma said she has been fortunate to attend Lyndonville with a great team of music teachers. She is grateful for the community for attending two concerts in December where she sang, gaining experience and confidence to perform in front of groups.

She also went to St. John Fisher for pointers in public speaking. Her mother said that session, facilitated by Dr. David Bell (an anthropology professor), “helped get Salma out of her shell.”

Last Thursday at school, Salma was in chorus when she stepped outside of a class for a moment. When she returned, the chorus was holding a big poster, wishing her luck in NYC with her tryout.

“It gave me a lot more confidence,” she said, knowing she had the support of her classmates and community.

On Monday she went to Buffalo to be interviewed by WGRZ (Channel 2). That interview highlighted her volunteer efforts with Project Life through the World Life Institute in Waterport. Her family has long been supporters of the program, which brings war orphans from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Kosovo and Bosnia for a summer of recuperation in rural Orleans County. Salma’s parents have hosted at least a dozen of the children and some of them have been Salma’s roommates.

“She literally grew up with Project Life,” said Chris Wilson, one of the program’s organizers. “She has been a mentor to the children.”

Salma is known to many in the Medina community. Her parents own the Old Mill Run Restaurant, and Salma works in the kitchen and as a waitress. She also enjoys singing on karaoke nights at the restaurant.

She thanked the community, including the restaurant customers, for all of their positive feedback.

She has recorded several songs at Torquil Studios with John Wragg in Middleport. Links to those videos on YouTube can be found at her new website,