West Chester-based singer Hillary (Ward) Torchiana, 34, sang one of Adele's lead singles "Easy on Me" during the Oct. 3 episode of The Voice, and was selected as a contestant for the show's 22nd season by accomplished judge Blake Shelton. At press time, Hillary was preparing for the contest's Battle Rounds.
The Voice is an American singing reality competition television series broadcast on NBC.
Hillary told Blake she was hoping he'd turn his chair because he reminds her of her then-fiancé (now husband), Joseph "Joe" Torchiana IV, who appeared from backstage. “When you started singing, I didn’t know that was an Adele song," Blake responded. "But I did detect some twang in your voice. It was there and it was enough that I thought, 'I am not sure exactly where this girl is coming from but I want to be a part of it.'"
During that same episode, Hillary shared how she previously lost her possessions, including her beloved pet cat and dog, when her house caught fire in March 2015. After a few years of suffering in silence from the trauma, Hillary says she decided to heal through joyful activities, especially singing. She formed her own band, where she met her fiancé. Things began falling into place, which prompted Hillary to audition for The Voice.
"I’ve been a performer my whole life and relocated to West Chester in 2018," she says. "West Chester reminds me so much of my hometown (State College, Pennsylvania) and that's very inspiring musically. I love the feeling of our community, and walking through town on the weekends is one of my favorite things to do."
Hillary sings lead for a trio known as the Blues Berry Hill Band. She studied vocal performance at Penn State University and lists Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Adele and her mom, Lisa, as her major musical influences. Locally, the band played private parties and in addition to open mics nights in the area, have performed at Brickside Grille in Exton. "Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for our most up-to-date gig schedule," she suggests.
Hillary says her family was extremely supportive of her singing throughout her life. She adds, "My mom and my gran encouraged me, and sang with me the most! My mom went out to LA with me, along with my husband, and they are huge supporters. My sister, her husband, and kiddos live in Conshohocken, and my nieces and nephews are arguably my biggest fans!"
She asserts that her experience on The Voice has been life-changing. "Not only because I got to work with incredible celebrity mentors and professional musicians, but also because of the friends I made. The season 22 cast is an incredibly talented, gracious, and humble group of people and many of them will be friends for life," she says.
Hillary's future plans include playing more local gigs and continuing to write music from home in West Chester. "I’m so honored to have the support of the local (and online) community, and hope to continue to share my music in Chester County and beyond!"
Another show contestant selected, Chello, 22, hails from nearby Chester in Delaware County.
In addition to Blake, the other three coaches are John Legend, Gwen Stefani and Camila Cabello. The Voice Season 22 premiered Sept. 19 with blind auditions, and is expected to conclude with a live finale on Dec. 13.