There’s no doubt she knows a thing or two about flipping burgers, but a Tehachapi fast-food manager has the golden opportunity to show some real McStar power. And you can help.
Maureen Recalde took the title of Southern California regional winner in the “Voice of McDonald’s” national singing competition last month. She was chosen from more than 800 singers who submitted music videos in the competition, which is open to all employees of the chain. And though the win was a big one, the 22- year-old needs community support to advance farther in the contest. Online voting begins Tuesday.
Recalde, who’s worked at the Tehachapi location for six years, was raised around the Golden Arches by her mother, store owner Mary Ann Paciullo. Singing since the age of 3, Recalde was a member of several scholastic music groups and studied ethnomusicology at both UC Santa Barbara and the University of Sussex in England.
Upon her return, she resumed work at the restaurant and was named general manager a year ago.
“I’d heard of the contest over the past four years but never entered it,” she said. “I wasn’t really working when I was in college. Once I started again, I saw the fliers in the break room. I had encouragement from my crew after they heard me sing.”
Shot at Bakersfield’s ASR studios in August, Recalde’s video — available on YouTube — features a performance of Smokey Robinson’s ‘Who’s Lovin’ You,’ a song famously covered by Michael Jackson. Recorded and filmed without overdubs, the song showcases Recalde’s voice, so soulful and naturally in tune that many viewers have questioned whether any studio manipulation was employed.
Above: Maureen Recalde
“A lot of people have asked, but there was none. I wanted to show people what I sound like. I chose the song because I had a personal connection to it and that’s probably why I sound so relaxed,” she said.
It was good enough to grab the attention of the judges, who chose Recalde along with 21 other regional hopefuls from across the nation. For the next round, Recalde was sent with the other competitors to record at Jim Henson Studios in Hollywood. Presented a list of song choices, she went with Whitney Houston’s “So Emotional,” another favorite.
“That was the most incredible experience for me. ‘We Are the World’ was recorded there. This time they had seven cameras in the room all around me. I tried not to look around and just concentrated on my voice. They’re in the process of getting all the videos edited right now.”
Once the videos are complete, viewers can get a glimpse of each and vote for their favorite at voiceofmcdonalds.com, Nov. 1 through 30.
According to official rules, unlimited voting is allowed, but a judging panel also will be weighing in on singing ability, creativity and stage presence. The top 16 contestants will become global semifinalists and eligible to compete in the final rounds at McDonald's 2012 convention in Orlando. Top prize is $25,000 cash.
“The whole thing is 50/50, between voting and the judges,” Recalde said. Right now, they’re just telling us to get people to vote. McDonald’s employees all know, but anyone who has access to the Internet can vote. Winning regionally, it’s pretty exciting, but to represent the whole United States would be amazing.”
Regardless of the outcome, Recalde said she remains loyal to the McDonald’s brand of her upbringing. After all, a job at McDonald’s was a stepping stone for some other big talents whose careers she wouldn’t mind emulating: Shania Twain, Jay Leno and actress Rachel McAdams, among others.
“Music will always be a passion of mine, but I’d like to own my own McDonald’s franchise someday.”
To cast your vote, visit official contest website:
Voting runs November 1 to November 31, 2011