Former Whittlesea and Wallan resident Jaxson Cornell joined Team Guy on Channel 7’s The Voice. He carries a picture of his mother with him who died from breast cancer in 2019 and said she was his biggest supporter. ​

By Jordyn Grubisic

TEAM Guy Sebastian on Channel 7’s The Voice has become a Whittlesea community hub after former Whittlesea and Wallan resident Jaxson Cornell earnt a spot.

A self-taught pianist and singer, Mr Cornell performed ‘I Fall Apart’ by Post Malone for his blind audition, joining Whittlesea residents Shanae Watson and Michaela Jade on Team Guy.

Sebastian said he was ‘quite shocked’ at being the only coach to turn for the audition.

“I love Post Malone. I love the rawness with the way he performs. It’s always so on the edge of desperation and I heard that in your voice,” Sebastian said.

“I really heard something incredibly honest, incredibly beautiful and your voice is a great storytelling voice.”

Mr Cornell is a familiar face throughout Whittlesea and the Mitchell Shire, having attended Whittlesea Primary School and Whittlesea Secondary College and busked throughout the region since the age of 15.

After watching someone he knew play the keyboard at age five, Mr Cornell said he began hounding his mother for a keyboard of his own.

“She eventually got it for me and I just loved it. I was in awe,” he said.

“I just played along, pressing random buttons as you do as a young kid not knowing how to actually play, and then it just grew from there really.

“The best way for me to learn a song is by listening to it and then in about five to 10 minutes I can basically figure out where the keys are for that tune and play it.”

At age seven Mr Cornell became partially deaf in his right ear after blowing his eardrum on New Year Eve.

“It was a difficult time. It was and still is very hard to hear from long distances,” he said.

“It’s been a challenge for me a lot in life because there’s times when I’m singing and I can’t actually hear if I’m pitch perfect.

“It has its days, my ear. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not good at all – you could be standing right next to me and I wouldn’t hear you.

“It’s been a challenge but I’ve just lived with it and I’ve gotten through it, finding a comfortable, happy medium.”

The biggest supporter of Mr Cornell’s music career was his mother, who died from breast cancer in 2019.

She was diagnosed when Mr Cornell was nine, and the cancer ended up spreading through the retina of her eye to her brain and into her lungs.

Mr Cornell would play the piano and sing for his mother for hours with her favourite song ‘The Late September Dogs’ by Melissa Etheridge.

“Mum, being the soldier she was, would always just carry on and never let it really bother her even though she was tired and sick. She never really let it distract her or stop her from doing what she wanted,” he said.

“My music has a big inspiration from her because without mum telling me to play this or play that, I wouldn’t have given my music more of that push through mum asking if I could just sit down and play the piano for her, something as simple as that. There were times where I couldn’t be bothered but I’m like you know what, I’ll play it.

“I’d sit there with her and play the piano for hours. She was my number-one fan basically.

“I make my own music and she’d always put her input into the songs I would make. Even when a lot of people didn’t really believe in me, my mum always said I’m going to make it and to just keep going and never give up on it because it’s my dream.

“One hundred per cent, mum is watching me up there. She said ‘when you’re up on stage I’m going to be up in heaven cheering you on’.”

Mr Cornell posts his music on Soundcloud available to listen at on.soundcloud.com/3ASPs.

His The Voice journey continued in the callback rounds, which began Monday night after the Review went to print.