For the past few days, Mendeleyev’s life has been nothing short of exhilarating.
“I did a little bit of a getaway and decided to get to the [Channel] Islands,” said Mendeleyev. “But there was a massive storm out there, or at least crazy water and waves, and we almost got thrashed into the islands.”
Coming back home, the 28-year-old singer and songwriter was greeted with calmer weather, but the storm didn’t end there.
“My life and phone have been exploding,” said Mendeleyev. “It’s been a little crazy.”
Last Monday night, local Santa Barbara artist Mendeleyev Galileo Einstein Pythagoras Darwin Euclid Leonardo Allan-Blitz, or better known as Mendeleyev, took to ‘The Voice’ stage. His original cover of Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country”, and deep tender pitch, inspired a chair turn from all four judges.
“Your voice just sounds like the best glass of Pinot Noir ever,” said Kelly Clarkson. “I feel like a warm blanket was just wrapped around me and I’m being tucked in, and it’s the most beautiful moment ever.”
Despite her rich praise, Clarkson’s team did not add another member. In the end, Mendeleyev went with John Legend.
“They asked who I wanted to cover on the show, and I said Richie Havens,” said Mendeleyev. “Nobody in the room knew who the hell I was talking about. Everyone was silent, then John began to sing the first line from Motherless Freedom, a Havens song I cover at almost every performance. It was kind of cosmic.”
Mendeleyev grew up listening to artists from the 60s. Music, in fact, was always around in some way.
“We all played music, my parents as well,” said Mendeleyev. “They grew up singing and playing, not professionally, but it was always there.”
His parents’ influence even played a large role in his audition song.
“My mom raised me with a lot of Bob Dylan,” said Mendeleyev. “My mom passed away a few months ago, but she was aware that I had made it onto the show. [My audition] was connected to her.”
Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Mendeleyev remembered his childhood as unconventional. “We were very close as a family,” he said. “Part of that seclusion was from living in the mountains.”
He’s been a vegetarian since birth, he doesn’t wear leather, and he doesn’t wear shoes very often.
Growing up in Santa Barbara was also influential in building Mendeleyev’s career as a musician. He regularly did open mics around town, performed in a lot of different theater groups, and played on the streets, embracing “that State Street life,” he quipped.
One moment in particular inspired Mendeleyev to make his passion a profession.
In 2007, Mendeleyev saw Jack Johnson and Michael Franti play at Arlington Theater, when something unexpected happened.
“They pulled me up onstage to sing ‘What I Got’ by Sublime,” said Mendeleyev. “They called out, “Who knows this song?” and somehow Michael just chose me. Quite random, but very influential nonetheless.”
From that moment on, Mendeleyev took music more seriously. Guitar, bass, drums, ukulele and voice lessons filled his schedule. Eventually, Mendeleyev went on to study guitar at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, with a focus on songwriting and performance.
While Berklee required an emphasis, Mendeleyev still considers himself a multi-instrumental musician.
“I try to represent myself as a well-rounded artist,” he said. “I’m influenced by his parents, but I’m also doing a lot of crazy electronic music these days.”
Based in Venice, near L.A., Mendeleyev currently teaches private lessons and is gigging around town. He also continues to perform on the street, going back to his Santa Barbara roots. Now on “The Voice,” Mendeleyev has a new opportunity to perform and learn.
“I’m looking forward to working with [John], a true expert and someone that I’ve been listening to for years and years,” said Mendeleyev. “To be able to hang out and perform with everyone on the show – that’s what they don’t show you. It’s such a wonderful experience.”