Someone You Should Know: Jej Vinson

FLANDREAU, SD- It was a voice that reached all parts of the world and the reaction from “The Voice” Coaches speaks for itself.  In fact, former Flandreau resident Jej Vinson didn’t realize all four chairs turned until the end of his song.

I said to Jej, “Blake Shelton was the first one to turn his chair.”

Voice Contestant Jej Vinson adds excitedly, “Right!! Exactly! My parents kept talking to me about it and they were like ‘Blake Shelton was the first one to turn for you, how do you feel about it?’ That was really crazy.”

Before his journey started on “The Voice,” Jej Vinson and his family started a new chapter in South Dakota.  In 2015, they immigrated from Davao, Philippines after his parents were approached by someone in 2002, who wanted to employ them after hearing them sing in South Dakota while their choir was on tour.  After the long process of filling out paperwork, they made the move to Flandreau when Jej was 15 since their employer was based there.  Jej says he was very grateful for Flandreau because this is where he realized that anything is possible and he could pursue his dream.

“It was a really good city and everyone just knows each other. It was really good and it was so different from the city that I lived in the Philippines. The city that I lived in was really big, so no one knew each other. But moving here was like a really refreshing start,” says Vinson.

Jej moved to California when he was 18 and attending the University of Southern California to study music really jump-started his music career.  Being on the show kind of fell in his lap.

I asked Jej, “The Voice reached out to you to submit video, is that (kind of) how the process started?”

Vinson replied, “I was in this event called ‘The Hotel Cafe’ in L.A. and I sang backup vocals for this guy. He’s one of my friends and there was a casting agent there that (literally) emailed me a few days later ask if I have videos to submit her.”

Now the Filipino community in Flandreau is rallying behind Jej and it’s no surprise to them he is hitting all the right notes.

“We’re are just so happy that made it to ‘The Voice’ and could represent Flandreau, the Filipinos,” says Jej’s Former Choir Director and Family Friend Leonabelle Berdida.

Jej won his Battle Round on Monday night, so he will move on to the live shows.  The Filipino community in Flandreau will continue to host watch parties for Jej at Mad Mary’s Steakhouse.

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