'The Voice' finalist sings at Westhills

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

By Jessica Moore

Staff Writer

The students of Westhills Elementary School had a special guest Friday morning. All of the students assembled in the gym for a performance by a recent finalist on the television competition "The Voice," Will Champlin.

The singer/songwriter began by singing "Happy Birthday" to his wife's aunt, Kim Spivey, who is a teacher at Westhills. He then went on to play two full songs for his young audience. The first was "Wake Me Up," by Avicii. It became evident the students were enjoying the show by their enthusiasm and clapping during the performance. Following "Wake Me Up," Champlin sang an original song of his called "Last Man Standing," while playing the piano.

He then spoke with the students thanking everyone for their support and encouraged them to do well in school. After leaving the stage, the students begged for an encore performance by screaming and clapping as loudly as they could. It didn't take long before Champlin returned to the stage for another performance. This time he chose "Sweet Pea," by Amos Lee, and several more. It was an exciting morning for the students and a great note to leave on before heading off to Spring Break.

The day before, when some Westhills students visited State Rep. Billy Spivey at the state capitol, Champlin sang the national anthem for the legislature.

Champlin is married to Tennessee native Rosanne Gallagher. Together they have a two-year-old daughter. Champlin is the only son of Bill Champlin, a former member of the band Chicago, and Tamara Champlin. He graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass.

Will Champlin's career began before he placed third on "The Voice." He has collaborated with Michael Caruso and provided backing vocals for Ace Young. He played the piano for Michael Jackson's posthumous compilation album "Michael." Champlin is a 2010 Grammy award recipient for songwriting. He was also nominated in the Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album category, for co-writing "Ordinary Me" with Heather Headley. The song appears on her album "Audience of One," which was awarded the 2010 Grammy in its category.