Lukas Rossi has been down this road before.
In 2006, he was the non-conformist with kohl-lined eyes and hair like a Japanese anime character who won Rock Star: Supernova by a landslide.
That CBS reality show featured a search for a lead singer for a band composed of Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe ), Jason Newsted (Metallica), and Gilby Clarke (Guns N’ Roses). But the group dissolved after just one tour and the Toronto-born Rossi struck out on his own.
Now he’s competing on The Voice, a singing contest that premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC and CTV.
But no matter how he makes out on the show, Rossi, 34, will still be out there doing his thing. “So many people who have been down the reality television avenue disappeared very fast. That’s not me and I owe it all to my fans,” he said from his home in Nashville.
“I’ll play a little private show in Toronto and there will be people flying in from Australia to see it. I will not take what I do for granted because there’s too much riding on it. I have too much emotion, love and respect for my fans. They keep me on my toes.”
Rossi fronted two bands in Canada before he became a reality star: Cleavage, from 1995 to 2005, and Rise Electric. Rise Electric was on hiatus — and Rossi was living on the street in a minus 40C Montreal winter — before he flew to L.A. in the spring of 2006 to try out for Supernova.
He admits it was like an out-of-body to go from watching Ellen DeGeneres on TV to appearing as a guest on her talk show. Reality TV fame, he says, is “fleeting unless you’re a real artist, write your own music and connect with fans. The world decides who they feel is inspirational. I feel so fortunate to have that something,” he said.
After the Supernova band flamed out, Rossi released a solo album, Love and Lust. He formed a new band in 2008, called Stars Down, that has been looking to gain traction with club gigs in Canada and the U.S., including Lee’s Palace and the Tranzac Club in Toronto.
Joining Rossi at the Tranzac on a frigid February night was Oliver Pigott, another Torontonian who’s no stranger to reality TV. Pigott, 30, and his younger brother, Sebastian, auditioned for the sixth and final season of Canadian Idol in 2008. Oliver made it to the top 24 and Sebastian to the top eight.
The siblings, who go by the name The Pigott Brothers, have been working on a record of their own with producer Doc McKinney (whose credits include Sting, Mary J. Blige and Sinead O’Connor among others). They are represented by The Management Trust, whose CEO is former Idol judge Jake Gold. “What I’ve heard so far is fantastic. I see them as a contemporary Hall and Oates,” said Gold