Singer playing ‘The Voice,’ ‘Morristown Onstage’ back-to-back

Posted by on Jan 21, 2017 in News

Singer playing ‘The Voice,’ ‘Morristown Onstage’ back-to-back

Singer playing ‘The Voice,’ ‘Morristown Onstage’ back-to-back

Singer playing ‘The Voice,’ ‘Morristown Onstage’ back-to-back

Michael Izzo , @MIzzoDR 4:22 p.m. ET Jan. 21, 2017
MORRISTOWN – Just days after auditioning for “The Voice,” Jay Phatak and his friend Myles Beck plan to rock out on the Mayo Performing Arts Center stage, playing a rock and roll cover of Jonny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”

“I actually auditioned for as just myself and an acoustic guitar,” said Phatak, 25 of Morristown. “But then I wanted to make it more of a rock and roll kind of performance to get the crowd into it, so I asked Myles to accompany me.”

Beck, 27, of Randolph, will be playing a cajón, a drum box, to add percussion to the performance.

Phatak and Beck are longtime friends, growing up as next-door neighbors in Randolph.

“I still remember when I first met him, he walked through the woods during my ninth birthday party eating an apple in an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt,” Phatek said. “Soon we were banging on instruments together and eventually we started actually jamming.”

Phatak wasn’t sure if he would be able to add a partner to his act after already being accepted as a solo finalist.

“But luckily they were cool with it,” Phatak said. “We performed together at the show’s media day and they loved it.”

Phatak said he decided to audition this year after his girlfriend saw a flyer in the Morristown Starbucks and insisted he try out.

He decided to play a Johnny Cash cover after hearing one of his best friends – Brendan Fletcher, a recent finalist on “The Voice” from Randolph – perform it.

“I’m a big Johnny Cash fan and I’ve always thought of doing something with his music,” Phatak said. “Brendan and I play all the time and when I hear him do a cover of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and add his owns spin to it, I decided to do the same thing and make it even more fast paced. I’ve never heard the song done in that way.”

Phatak will also follow in Fletcher’s footsteps next month, as he won an audition for “The Voice,” which will film the week before “Morristown Onstage.”

“I got some tips for Brendan and I think I am probably going to choose a much softer and slower song for that audition,” Phatak said. “But in Morristown, on the stage, (‘Folsom Prison Blues’) is the perfect song. If I do well on ‘The Voice,’ though, it’s definitely going to help my confidence for ‘Morristown Onstage.’”

To prepare for the show, Phatak and Beck plan to perform at open mics in the area, traveling as far as Pennsylvania to find new venues. They also plan to play gigs at the Stanhope House and some private shows.

“Just continuing to practice,” Phatak said, “Making sure the show is as tight as possible.”

If they win the grand prize, they know the money will go toward their music, but Phatak doesn’t know how exactly they will spend it.

“He’s going to want a drum set and I’ll want a guitar,” Phatak said. “But we’ll have to compromise and find something we can both use. Maybe recording equipment or set up a studio.”

Phatak said he’s most concerned with putting on a good show.

“We’re going to bring a rock and roll factor, get the crowd involved in the performance,” Phatak said. “We have a connection because we’ve know each other a long time compared to other acts. And fitting into that 20s age group, not one of the younger or older acts, I think we’re really going to bring a different kind of appeal to the stage.”

If Phatak is feeling the pressure of bringing a rock show to the stage this March, he isn’t letting on.

“I also do stand-up comedy and I dance, so the audience can expect no fear,” Phatak said. “I won’t be nervous in the slightest. Expect a fully robust performance.”

Staff Writer Michael Izzo: 973-428-6636; mizzo@GannettNJ.com

Morristown Onstage

What: A show featuring the best amateur talent from Morristown, Morris Township and Morris Plains, presented by and benefiting the Morris Educational Foundation.

When: Wednesday, March 1

Where: Mayo Performing Arts Center, 100 South St. in Morristown.

Tickets: On sale starting Feb. 1. Prices range from $25 to $75. For information, call MPAC at 973-539-8008 or visit www.mayoarts.org.

Morris Educational FoundationMorristown Medical Center