Jacob Interviews….Daniel Joseph Baker, Part One

Daniel Joseph Baker was one of the best singers on the sixth season of “America’s Got Talent.” He sat down with me to talk about his experiences on the show. (Photo property of NBC).

By: Jacob Elyachar

The America’s Got Talent acts are weeks away from performing live for America’s votes at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.   While the acts that have made the show are preparing for the biggest moments of their lives, I caught up with someone who knows what it is like to be in their position.     One year ago, the AGT audience was introduced to 21-year-old singer and Katy, Texas native Daniel Joseph Baker, who blew both the panel and the audience away with his cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”  With three yeses, he continued on the NBC hit until he was eliminated in the first week of the semi-finals.

In part one of our conversations, we talked about his audition and his Vegas experience on America’s Got Talent.

Jacob Elyachar: When did you know that you wanted to be a performer?

Daniel Joseph Baker:  I wanted to be a star when I was young.  I performed at my first baptism when I was six-years-old and I realized I did not want to perform in churches…I wanted to perform everywhere and I think I have the talent to get me there.

JE: How did you hear about the America’s Got Talent audition?

DJB:  Two years ago, they were casting for the YouTube episode that year and I never watched America’s Got Talent before and I saw that preview on YouTube that stated to send your audition in for YouTube.  I was like: “Whatever. It can’t hurt compare to what I am doing right now, I will send in a video and plan on not hearing back from them.”  I actually spent two-and-a-half hours with my little sister, Rebecca, videotaping me on two different video cameras.  I performed “Bad Romance” on the piano and recorded on my Blackberry at the time.

We submitted it and we did not hear back from them because they made all of the YouTube selections from that year like Jackie Evancho and the rest of the people.   Months go by and I receive an e-mail in October 2010.   The AGT Production Crew went through all of their YouTube submissions and they said please come out and audition this season.  They thought I would do really well on the show and asked if I was still interested and the rest was history.  (Laughs)

JE: Could you please tell us what happened in your audition in Houston that did not make the show?

DJB:  When I walked out to the AGT stage, Piers and Howie were smiling and I had a long talk with Sharon about her dog that got cut in the broadcast.   I may or may not have done the splits or danced which got cut out.   Sharon was very nice to me at the beginning…she comforted me.

JE: You blew people away with your cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” Can you share what the audience’s reaction to your performance?

DJB:  Literally, I had an out of body experience while I was on stage.   I was not there at the theatre I was at my house doing what I normally did for years and years.  I went into total robot mode in my mind.    I was not paying attention to the crowd, who was cheering throughout my performance; I was in my own zone.    Whatever these judges are going to say, I am going to perform.

JE: What was going through your mind when the Judges gave you three yeses and told you that you were going to Vegas?

DJB: I was in disbelief because I did some research before I auditioned and thought Piers was not going to like me and I knew him as the little (expletive) judge.  So when he said: “I am going to say…yes.”  So after he said yes, I knew that Howie and Sharon were going to say yes too.   I thought to myself is this really happening right now because I was in shock.

JE: We get to Las Vegas Week and thanks to some dramatic editing; we saw your reaction to being on the Judges’ Stand-By List.  What were you thinking when you saw your position? 

DJB:  Honestly, when I got to Vegas, I was still in the mindset that I got three yeses from the Judges and they said positive things.  When I was going to see the list, I thought I was going to be on their favorites’ list.   When I saw the list, I thought I was going to be written off already without performing and thought that this is not meant to be.    But after that moment, I decided that I would prove to them that I was on the wrong list, set out to become one of their favorites and beat out some of the favorites that were on the list and show them what I can do.

JE: For your Vegas performance, you sang another Lady Gaga song: “Speechless.” Did you know that you were performing another Gaga song and were worried that the Judges would say something?

DJB:  I will say that my plan was not to do another Lady Gaga song.  The song I wanted to do would not get clearance and it was really last minute and it was days before I was leaving and I decided that I had to a song that I know from the back of my hand that I feel confident doing.   When you are under that amount of pressure, you have to rehearse crazily and you go do it and hope that you don’t mess up.  It was not my decision and it was a last resort decision and I had to go in there confident and sing my little heart out.

JE: During your performance of “Speechless,” the Judges commented about you putting your foot on the piano.  Was that planned?

DJB: I was inspired by Lady Gaga to do it because I seen her do it so many times and I just went in there thinking “What am I going to do to stand out?” because at this time, there were over 100 acts in Las Vegas and we seen a lot more performers than you saw on television.    In my mind, there was so much competition and I had to do what I have to do to stand out against the other 30 singing acts.   I did not know if the Judges were going to love or hate my performance but I want them to remember it.

JE: Let’s talk about when they made their decision in welcoming you to the Top 48 Rounds.  What was going in your mind before and after the reveal?

DJB:  I was onstage and thought to myself I was going home because things don’t usually happen for me.   There are so many other talented people that are here and I thought I didn’t belonged there.    They put me up with Mauricio (Herrera), who was such a nice person, and I thought that they were going to eliminate us both and right before hand, the Judges sent home really strong singers right before Mauricio and I got on stage.    I did not know what the Judges were looking for and thought I am going home.

Stay tuned for part two as we tackle his experience with the Live Shows and Daniel will reveal his best and worst performances from the show.    You can find out more information about Daniel Joseph Baker at his Website: http://www.danieljosephbaker.com/welcome.cfm

To watch Daniel’s audition, click here: http://youtu.be/KUZoBnlQjy0


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