Mat voices thanks to WAAPA
Mat Verevis. Picture: Supplied

Mat Verevis credits his training at the WA Academy of Performing Arts for giving him the confidence to chase his music dreams.

But one thing he never imagined was sending four global music icons into a frenzy over his singing talents.

Last week, the Cairns native - who spent three years in Perth studying musical theatre at WAAPA - appeared in the flurry of blind auditions for the third season of Nine's reality singing series The Voice, where he performed an upbeat piano solo of Billy Joel's New York State of Mind.

His moving rendition struck a chord with celebrity coaches Kylie Minogue, Joel Madden, Ricky Martin and *will.i.am, who fought among themselves to convince Verevis to join their teams.

"I was really put on the spot," Verevis recalls. "Ricky did a good job of trying to convince me, and I was taken aback by that."

Although he was initially overwhelmed, the 24-year-old admits he had already made up his mind as to whose team he would choose.

"I knew going into the audition that if Will turned around, he would be my pick," he says. "Because the guy has had the most insane career, he's worked with everyone, and some of the artists who I consider the greatest of all time. So if I could zap one per cent of that knowledge or experience from him, it's invaluable."

Much to Verevis' surprise, his toe-tapping performance also generated huge buzz on social media, so much so that he spent hours going through the flood of comments he received on Twitter on the night his audition aired.

"I was overwhelmed," he said. "I didn't watch the rest of the show after I was on it because my phone was in meltdown and it was like that for about a day.

"I was ready for the haters but I was really surprised. It was good - it was a really positive experience."

Verevis will now go on to compete in the battle rounds, where he will be pitted against the other members of Team Will to vie for a place in the showdowns.

"Going into the battles was a really weird thing," he said. "Because by the very essence or nature of a duet, you work together, so it's a weird thing to be singing against someone. It was very counterintuitive as well in terms of what you're taught, so you had to flip it on your head, but it was a cool experience."

Regardless of whether he survives the battle rounds, Verevis has his sights set on a career in music.

And he credits his WAAPA training for helping him onto that path.

"If I didn't get into WAAPA, I think I probably would have chucked in the towel a long time ago," he says. "I owe everything to them. I came out a much stronger singer than what I went in as.

"They drilled it into me that it's not going to be easy and they gave me a pretty clear idea of what the industry's like and that you do have to work hard and pay your dues and just keep going."

The West Australian

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