Jackson Eddy was working as a barista at an Eagan coffee shop when he first heard Nicholas Mrozinski perform.
At first, nobody in the coffee shop paid much attention to the young musician with a little keyboard and long hair, Eddy remembered. But when the faltering Mrozinski broke through his stage fright and found his voice, Eddy snapped to attention.
"I stopped what I was doing, and I was like 'whoa'," Eddy said.
Fast forward and Eddy, Mrozinski's longtime manager and close friend, is now scrambling to keep up with all the emails, voice messages and fan mail for Mrozinski—a budding celebrity who is a top performer on NBC's nationally televised musical competition, "The Voice".
"It's non-stop, said Eddy, who also works full-time as a local photographer. "It's producers, it's studio owners, it's managers, it's publicists. People want to fly him out to private birthday parties. People want him at weddings."
Mrozinski, a St. Paul resident who grew up in Eagan and attended Eagan High School, is a soulful singer who released five albums before appearing on the live auditions of The Voice. His unique style caught the eye of celebrity coach Cee Lo Green, who picked the musician to be on his team.
Since the live auditions, Mrozinski—who goes by the stage name Nicholas David on the show—beat out several competitors and survived through multiple elimination rounds. He and nine other musicians are now in the running for a grand prize recording contract.
His quick rise to fame (Mrozinski now has over 8,000 followers on Facebook) has stunned his friends and family, including his fiancée, Krista Balaski. The pair met in 2005 and are currently raising two young children.
Mrozinski, a self-employed musician who routinely plays gigs across the Twin Cities and wider region, is also a stay-at-home father who loves to spoil his fiancée and children, Balaski said. Although his absence while he performs on The Voice has prompted some adjustments for the family, Balaski said his children both love watching their father appear on TV.
"He’s finding time to stay as connected with us as possible," Balaski said. "It is just one day at a time, and we're very honored and blessed to be where we are now."
Balaski attributes his success on the show to Mrozinski's ability to build personal connections—a skill that even extends to his personal relationships with the four celebrity judges, Green, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton.
"They seem to look at him like a peer sometimes," said Balaski, who said she was deeply moved when Shelton first admitted he was a fan of Mrozinski's work.
"To hear somebody at this caliber of industry say 'I’m your fan,' that brought me to tears," Balaski said.
For Eddy, watching Mrozinski rocket to fame on The Voice is a dream come true.
Eddy said he believed in Mrozinski's raw talent, even when the artist was dealing with anxiety and self-medicating with alcohol during a difficult period in his life.
"He had all this talent, but he was his own worst enemy," said Eddy, who has a full-time photography business. "I was like, I have to help this guy, he is awesome, but he just needs help."
Eddy said he took Mrozinski under his wing as a personal project and has since poured countless hours into helping market Mrozinski, produce the artist's albums and fund recordings.
"I always had the feeling that I was just supposed to help him," Eddy said. "His message and his music, it just moves people. I haven't made a penny off of anything, but I just love him and want to help."
To catch up to speed on Mrozinski's progress, check out Patch's previous coverage here:
- Sept. 18: VIDEO: Contestant with Eagan Roots Performs on NBC's "The Voice"
- Sept. 19: VIDEO: Local Contestant on NBC's "The Voice" Has Deep Musical Background
- Sept. 26: Television Appearance on 'The Voice' Brings Whirlwind of Fame for Musician With Eagan Roots
- Oct. 19:
- Oct. 31: VIDEO: Mrozinski Defeats Another Competitor in Knockout Round on NBC's "The Voice"
- Nov. 7: Nicholas David Expected to Compete This Wednesday on NBC's "The Voice"
- Nov. 8: VIDEO: One-Time Eagan Resident Strikes the Right Chord on "The Voice"
- Nov. 9: Mrozinski Voted into the Top 12 on NBC's "The Voice"
- Nov. 12:
- Nov. 12: Join the Nicholas David Fan Club Online!
- Nov. 13: