The Voice’s Top 12 are gearing up to take on the live shows.
In a preview of Monday night’s episode shared exclusively with PEOPLE, the top 12 talk about what music means to them to the tune of One Direction‘s “Story of My Life.”
In the spirit of the show’s theme this week being the ‘Story of the Song,” here’s the story of the contestants.
Team Kelly Clarkson
Cartelli has been singing ever since she was a little girl. At 6, she joined a local theater program and established herself as a singer through school talent and variety shows. Before the show, the 14-year-old singer from Massachusetts played at local coffee shops and small venues.
The 31-year-old Florida resident has always turned to music as an emotional outlet. His mom and dad got him a guitar when he was 8, and throughout high school and college, he sang for local shows and events. After graduating, Kaleb and his wife, Meagan, moved to Kentucky, where he led worship for a church and began traveling to Nashville to pursue a career as a songwriter and recording artist. When his record deal opportunity went south, Kaleb moved to Florida to focus on his family. He now shares his love for music with his wife, two daughters and a son adopted from Nicaragua.
King’s father was his first musical influence but when his parents separated, he lost contact with his dad. In 2012, he took the opportunity of a six-month residency at a Motown bar in Nagoya, Japan. Upon his return, he booked a gig in an off-Broadway production of Dreamgirls and currently lives in Harlem.
Team Adam Levine
Calister had a turbulent upbringing. At 10, the 24-year-old Iowa native was adopted by an older cousin while her twin sister was adopted by an outside family member. Calister’s adoptive mom was soon diagnosed with breast cancer, which is a battle she continues to fight today, and playing the violin became an escape for Calister during those difficult times. It wasn’t until high school gospel choir that Calister and her sister were finally reunited. After graduation, Calister began traveling with bands that perform at weddings, corporate events and private parties all over the country.
The 33-year-old Maryland resident made the decision to dedicate his life to music very early on. He studied vocal performance at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, but after receiving a callback for The Lion King on Broadway, LaMarr dropped out of school. Although he didn’t get the part, LaMarr threw himself into the music scene. Then, it all came to a halt when he was diagnosed with lymphoma and multicentric Castleman’s disease, a rare genetic disorder. Rayshun lost much of his hearing, vision and voice. After two years of intense treatment, Rayshun is cancer-free and has regained his sight, hearing and vocals, enabling him to start performing again.
In 2012, Verna was seriously injured after being T-boned by a car that ran a red light. The 23-year-old’s dreams of moving to Alabama and cheering in college came to a halt. Verna spent the first few months after the accident indoors and turned to country music as an escape. Verna, who now lives in Pennsylvania, went on to attend Penn State and began performing at local open mics.
Team Blake Shelton
The Kansas native’s voice was born in church and developed through performing in gospel choirs. After college, Jade, 33, joined the Nashville Super Choir on “Bobby Jones Gospel,” the longest-running gospel show on BET. After nine years of traveling with the show, Jade took some time off to care for family. She has worked as a background vocalist for Jennifer Hudson, and the former Voice coach pushed her to audition for the show.
Baird grew up in a small town in California and spent his time playing guitar, listening to records and leading a blues band. The 35-year-old dropped out of college, where he was studying fruit science, to pursue music. His band then had success touring the blues world, but Baird made the decision to move to Nashville. Paying the bills took precedence over music, but Baird still tries to make time to perform.
The 25-year-old Texas native grew up on military bases and knew very little outside of her church world. In 2004, she came in second place on a singing competition show and was signed to Interscope Records. At 12 years old, Baker released Interscope’s first gospel record and toured the world. After her deal ended, Baker moved to Nashville with her mother, where country music sparked her interest, but she ultimately moved back to Texas. She now has her real estate license and is getting back into music.
Team Alicia Keys
The 18-year-old North Carolina native was introduced to ’70s and ’80s rock and folk music by his parents, and he joined a classic rock band when he was 13. A year later, he won a songwriting contest that gave him the opportunity to record with renowned engineer John Davenport, whose credits include Bruce Springsteen‘s album Born in the U.S.A.
In high school, Foster, 22, enrolled in Berklee College of Music’s summer program, where she fell in love with rock music. She was offered a four-year scholarship to attend Berklee, and while there she became the lead singer of an alternative rock band called Self Portraits. They write, release and perform original music around New England.
Danielle’s life of performing came to a halt when a mysterious throat virus resulted in emergency surgery. The 22-year-old Indiana native was told she would never sing again. Vowing to recover, Danielle miraculously regained her voice and devoted her life to giving back through music. With a degree in social work, Danielle strives to bring awareness to mental health issues and the power of music to underserved communities.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.