Read related: Xenia talks ‘The Voice’ Season 2 and her new music video
It has been a big year for Temecula teenager Xenia Martinez.
Xenia, who goes by her first name, made it to the semifinals of NBC’s “The Voice,” launching her from obscurity to being a familiar face on television screens across the country.
She found a new friend and mentor in country star Blake Shelton, a judge on the reality TV singing competition who selected Xenia and Dia Frampton to represent his “Voice” semifinals team.
The former Great Oak High School student who is now home-schooled gave her first hometown performance to a packed theater at the Temecula Valley International Film and Music Festival.
And she signed to Universal Republic Records, releasing her debut EP “Sing You Home” next week. The four-song EP will be available via iTunes on Dec. 20.
When asked just how excited she is for the new original tunes, there’s an audible uptick in Xenia’s typically languid, easy-going speaking voice.
“This is the first, kind of, record I’ve ever made in my life,” she said. “I’m definitely thrilled to see what people will think about it. We’ve put in a ton of hard work.”
The “inspiring soul pop” singer, as Xenia described her music genre, recorded it for a couple of weeks in various studios located mainly in Los Angeles. She said there is a healthy balance of slow and up-tempo tunes.
“They’re not dance songs, but they’re definitely something you can go jog (to),” she said. “I do have one more ballad-y song on there. It’s kind of a little bit of everything.”
While she and fans wait for the release next Tuesday, Xenia will be filming the music video for the first single on Saturday as she turns 17.
“So I’ll be working on my birthday,” she said.
Xenia isn’t sure what song from the EP will be the first single, but she would like it to be her favorite.
“What it says … is pretty special to me,” she said of the title track. “It means a lot, because it’s kind of saying how you could be so overwhelmed with things … and things can go wrong, (but) there’s always something to sing you home. And I really like that.”
Xenia wrapped up a performance at Los Angeles’ Key Club this past weekend with singer-songwriter Jon McLaughlin, whom she met thanks to Shelton.
Shelton, who knew Xenia was a fan, introduced the two. McLaughlin asked her to do a duet since he was in need of a female vocalist on “Maybe It’s Over.”
She also was supposed to sing the song with McLaughlin at a San Diego venue this past weekend, but wasn’t allowed to perform due to the venue’s age restrictions.
“It was a bummer,” she said. “I was upset, but the one in L.A. was definitely a lot of fun.”
She said her first live performance with McLaughlin was special.
“I actually have been waiting five years to do that,” she said. “He’s the reason I wanted to start singing in the first place. I just think he’s an incredibly amazing performer. He really puts a lot of work into what he does. And you can truly tell he does it from the heart, and I really admire that about him.”
Currently, a band is being put together for the singer.
In 2012, she hopes to plan out a full-length hometown concert.
“I think that would be awesome,” she said. “Once this EP’s out, that’s definitely something I’m looking forward to.”