Marcos Covos lost family and, with them, his desire to sing when he came out. Now he’s getting his voice back through a TV singing competition
JENNY BLOCK | Contributing Writer
He lost his voice once. But now he’s on The Voice. And Dallasite Marcos Covos is making the Big D proud this season on the television singing competition. But before he became a rising star on Team Kelly, he had silenced the music in him since he was a teen.
Born and raised in Odessa, the now 30-year-old buried his gift after his family rejected him when he came out. We caught up with Covos after his March 13 blind audition to find out more about his growing up years, his coming out experience and how he found his voice — again.
Dallas Voice: Have you been singing since you were a kid? Marcos Covos: The very first talent show I ever participated in, I was six years old. I always had a lot of family around who were musicians, who would sing and play guitar. So it was just something that I was always surrounded by.
When my older sister went to junior high, they had a mariachi program, and I would go to her concerts. I was just so excited to get to junior high and join [the mariachi program]. That was our family music in a Mexican household. So that’s why I learned to sing. When I went to junior high, I joined and said, “I want to be the lead vocalist of the class.” So I was. In eighth and ninth grade, I joined theater and choir because I wanted to learn to sing in English.
What did music mean to you at that point in your life? I wasn’t very good at school. I had an older brother, and he was the jock, MVP of every sport. So I tried doing those things, and I wasn’t good. I also disliked them. And my older sisters were straight-A students, but I could not get school. I was just terrible. When I found music and singing, and I would hear good feedback, it made me latch onto music that much more. I always knew I was gay. I knew I was different. And singing helped me with a lot of those struggles. It’s very therapeutic to me.
Did you have a tough time with coming out? Yeah. I was always very feminine, and other kids could see it. So I would get bullied a lot. I would try to be more masculine. I think that’s why I also would try to do sports and stuff. My family saw that I was more into more feminine things. But singing mariachi music is a very masculine thing for a man to do. It was also something that made my dad proud. And that was another reason why I just loved it.
So I got involved in everything that would have me — like the church choir, anything I could sing or do music in. And I just loved it. I was determined to be a singer. But once I came out at 17, I lost part of my family. It got really, really tough, and that’s when I stopped pursuing music.
So how and when did you get back to it? I never got back to music until now. I would sing at home as my own therapy. I dabbled in making a couple of little videos to post here and there. But it was never anything like, “I’m going to pursue music again.” I had even auditioned for AMDA, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, and I’d gotten accepted, but I didn’t go.
I didn’t graduate high school.
I literally lost the motivation to do anything. My new goal was to just survive every day. But then I met my boyfriend, who I’m currently with still, and I moved in with him. And he helped me through that depression. And I looked for other things that I was good at: I started decorating. I started photography. But I never touched music again because there was a little bit of a pain that came with thinking about pursuing it.
It felt like a part of an old life that wasn’t feasible anymore.
5 p.m. The Legend of Caeneus directed by Chris Sanders
7 p.m. People Seeds directed by Libby Hawkins.
3 p.m. Happy Birthday to Me directed by Audrey MacNeil.
4 p.m. Green with Enby directed by Liv Murphy.
5 p.m. June and Max Go to Space directed by Sienna Riehle.
All performances will feature a post-show talkback with the cast, director and writer in attendance. Tickets are pay-what-you-can. Tales from the End of the Rainbow performs at Lyric Stage rehearsal space, 1170 Quaker St. TheTableCoLab.com.
So then what happens? You suddenly decide, “I want to get back in”? It’s always lived in me. It tries to claw itself out, and I ignore it. But I was creeping up on 30 years old, and I just didn’t want to have any regrets.
I kept seeing the ads for The Voice virtual auditions, and I was like, “I’m just going to try it. Even if nothing comes of it, I’m going to try it one more time. Then I can peacefully walk away from music forever.” I didn’t even tell anybody. I just did it, and I got a call back. And I just kept making the cut and making the cut.
That was June of 2022. Then I got the call that I was going to L.A. for a blind audition on my birthday, Aug. 1. And I remember telling the lady, “This is the best birthday present ever.”
Can you put yourself back in your body that minute, doing that blind audition, and knowing you’re waiting for their chairs to turn around? Can you even give me a sense of what that felt like? I was just so full of nerves. I remember praying so hard the day before for God to take all these nerves away: “Please don’t let me be nervous on that stage. I don’t want to forget the words. I don’t want to trip [and fall] on my face.”
Then I was backstage, waiting for it to be my turn, and the only way I can describe it is it’s like being in line for a rollercoaster that’s really scary, and you’re up next. And you don’t want to get on, and you want to get out of line. But it’s too late to back out.
But when the doors opened and I stepped out, I just felt all of my nerves go away. I just transformed into this performer. I sang “Tu Solo Tu,” covered by Selena Quintanilla. I wasn’t thinking about if anybody turned. And when Kelly did turn, I just pointed at her and kept singing. And when the song was over, I stopped to take it in, and then I was like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I got two people to turn around! This is crazy!” Blake turned, too, but I chose Kelly. I’ve heard Kelly sing. She has the big notes. In mariachi singing, you belt. So, I just felt like she would be the perfect coach for me, because she would understand my voice.
It was insane because every round I was just expecting to get out. I wasn’t expecting to make it that far. And then every time I would make it the next step further. I was just in awe.
Regardless of whether you win or lose The Voice, what are your dreams for the future? I want to be a recording artist. The last 10 years, I’ve worked on myself, and I’ve become who I’m meant to be. Now I want to create music and make a change in the world — a change towards open-mindedness and towards love.