Another Pittsburgh-Area Singer Advances on 'The Voice'

Plus –– who knew? Actor Will Smith's ties to Pittsburgh.


Another new season on NBC "The Voice" and a Pittsburgh-area singer has again has made it past the blind audition rounds. 

Mia Zanotti, who performs using the stage name "Mia Z," impressed the show's celebrity judges Tuesday night with her rendition of B.B. King's "The Thrill is Gone. She will work with R&B producer/performer Pharrell Williams throughout the competition. 

Zanotti, a high-school sophomore, released her first album when she was 13, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.
––Richard Cook


#FreshPrince: Will Smith gets deep on upcoming movie

For Will Smith, time management is a huge issue. Or at least that's what he told Esquire Magazine in an interview as March's cover subject.

Smith, 46, spoke on his devotion to fatherhood, marriage, a psychotic work ethic and and metamorphosis from failure, along with his ties to Pittsburgh. Smith was spotted in town while filming his upcoming movie "Concussion," a sports drama slated for release on Christmas Day.

The film features Smith in scrubs as Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered the degenerative trauma CTE. The movie is based on 2009 GQ article Game Brain by Jeanne Marie Laskas, director of the University of Pittsburgh's writing program. After sharing that his mother was an educator with Pittsburgh roots and a degree from Carnegie Mellon, Smith talked about his latest role.

"It feels so smooth and easy, but I guess it's just the emotionality of the piece is wearing me out. But it doesn't feel like it on the set, the real people stop by two or three times a week the families of Mike Webster, Justin Strzelczyk, you know, Smith said, referring to the NFL players whose battles with long-term brain damage inspired the narrative. As for the Steelers teams who endured the real-life trauma, playing the character has been taxing for Smith. It's a lot more emotionally battering. It's strange because I feel like I have a really smooth and wonderful day, and then I come home and collapse.

While in the hot seat, Smith shared quotes that keep him motivated and stories of often getting pulled over while driving at 17 years old in Philadelphia. He reflected on his own, dynamic pursuit of happiness. I'm getting a T-shirt made: I AM A RIVER TO MY PEOPLE. I just love that line. I want to take care of people. I want to help people. The maximum joy that I have is when I can create something that makes someone else's life lighter, brighter, or better. And I'm past cars and jewelry, you know? I don't even wear a watch.
––Natalie Daher



Categories: The 412