Brynn Cartelli is busy preparing for the biggest night of her life. Cartelli, the Longmeadow, Mass. native, will be competing in Monday’s “The Voice” finale, which will air on NBC at 8 p.m. Through the competitions, Cartelli has built a loyal following of “Brynnions” that cheer her on after every performance.
Count the lacrosse community among the Brynnions. Cartelli, 15, grew up playing lacrosse in Longmeadow, a hotbed for the sport. She played club with Lax Plus and was entering her freshman season of high school lacrosse before her life changed entirely.
Cartelli won over the judges in the blind auditions earlier this year and chose to join Kelly Clarkson’s team. Since then, she’s been in Los Angeles preparing for each performance and the media circus that comes with it. An avid fan of Boston College, which also is in the midst of a final four run, she took some time out to speak with US Lacrosse Magazine about her lacrosse journey and blossoming music career.
How did you get into the game?
“I grew up in Longmeadow, and obviously that’s a really well-known lacrosse town. I grew up playing soccer and tee-ball. My parents told me that I had to at least try lacrosse. At the time before I tried out, I was hooked on soccer. I was so hesitant to try lacrosse. I went to a clinic and I fell in love with the game. It brought me so many new friends. A lot of my favorite memories come from tournaments and games and spending time with my team. Then I quit soccer, and lacrosse became my main sport.”
What is the lacrosse community in Longmeadow like?
Longmeadow is super competitive for lacrosse. Everyone there is pretty talented in the game and everyone cares about and everyone wants to be the best. It’s very competitive, but also tight-knit.
Everyone understands each other, everyone helps each other. That’s why we are so successful, because we play well as a team. It’s a great thing to watch, and super fun to play.
Did you plan to keep playing through high school?
“I didn’t even get the chance because I’m out here, but I was going to be playing on my team at the high school. I’ve been playing all year long since I started playing lacrosse. My Dad was the one that started coaching me at the beginning for the town program. I play club, too, so we traveled a lot for that. It was kind of taking over my life. I think about it all the time. I see the team, and I have a bunch of friends on the team. It’s really hard to watch that happening. I miss lacrosse a lot. It’s a release for me, but so is music. Just the experience of being on a team, winning or losing. Even if it’s a hard practice, or coming off a big win. I talk to people out here in LA. I always talk about ‘Oh, my lacrosse team is doing this.’ I miss it a lot, but I’m happy where I am.”
Are you keeping up with college or high school lacrosse?
“I’m always keeping up with the lacrosse game. My dad went to Boston College, so he’s like a superfan of the school. Ever since I was little, I was a superfan. They’re killin’ it right now, the girls’ team. I went to the national championship in Gillette last year. I’m a huge lacrosse fan and I would be devastated if it left my life, so I won’t let that happen.”
How did you get into The Voice?
“The Voice found me. It was a video on YouTube that I posted one summer. Since then, they invited me to a private audition in New York City, then past that it was the executive callbacks. That was for a couple days in Los Angeles where it was an audition for the producers. Sure enough, I went to the blind auditions, where you’re in LA for a month and I met some of my best friends who I will talk to until I die. It was such a fun experience for me.
How have you enjoyed the experience as the show goes on?
“The battles and the knockouts were such a crazy experience because you’re going up against someone on your team. People are getting eliminated left and right. It was really hard. But I’m learning so much and I’m getting the mentoring from Kelly, it’s crazy and it changed my life. Even after battles, I told people ‘I don’t care if I get eliminated after battles.’ But my competitive sports mind came in and said ‘I need to win.’ We were working long days and people are getting eliminated each week and it’s emotionally and mentally and physically draining. It only lasts for so long and I have to soak it in now.”
How have sports helped you in the competition?
“Every time I go to walk out for a performance, one thing I say while I’m walking out on stage is ‘It’s gametime. It’s gametime.’ It gets me all excited and makes it seem like a sport that you do every day. It takes a lot of the stress away from knowing that millions of people are watching on TV.”
How is your relationship with Kelly Clarkson? Do you ever pinch yourself being able to work with her?
“People don’t see how active she is and how involved she is off camera. She’s more involved than anyone, more than anyone knows. She’s so hands-on and really working with me to make me happy with what the result is. She shows up and she listens and she asks me all the time what I’m happy with and what I feel comfortable with. She’s a huge part of why I’m still here. We’ve really become close friends. We kind of have that mother-daughter connection.”
What are your expectations for the finale and beyond?
“I want to get music out there. Lacrosse has been good to me, whatever happens, I want that to be a part of my life. Whether it’s watching or playing. But after the show, music is now in the forefront of my life. I want to get music out there as soon as possible and I don’t want people to forget who I am as soon as the show is over. It’s really important to me that I can do something on my own and use my creativity to make music.”