BWW Interviews - THE VOICE Artists Chat Blind Auditions - Part I
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NBC's The Voice kicked off its fifth season on Monday, September 23rd. The first round of artists who made it through their blind auditions include Caroline Pennell, Kat Robichaud (Team Cee Lo), Donna Allen, James Wolpert, Nic Hawk (Team Adam), Josh Logan, Matthew Schuler (Team Christina) and Shelbie Z. (Team Blake).
Below, the artists spoke to BWW and others about their experience on the NBC singing competition!
Kat and for Donna, you both talked a little bit about sort of stepping away from music for a while to focus more on family. I'm wondering the second time around what do you hope to accomplish and what do you hope The Voice will do for your goal.
Kat Robichaud: Well, my band broke up in October. I wasn't happy with the way things were going. I was just spending so much time on the road and we were just going in circles and just not really getting anywhere. So it was a really hard decision for me to step away from that.
But I never had any intention of not playing music. It just happened to be that when the band broke up the opportunity for The Voice very quickly arose and I jumped on it. And if I had been with my band I wouldn't have been able to take the opportunity because we were constantly touring. And so if I hadn't been playing with them, you know, they wouldn't have been able to play and we wouldn't have made money.
And then when I auditioned in January I didn't find out until after my father passed away that I had made it through to the next round. What I want to do with this is I want to reemerge in the scene as a solo artist and do stuff that's more in like my vein of the kind of music that I like like glam rock and theater-esque rock.
Donna Allen: Yes, I wanted to commit to my son that has - my son during that time I decided to take some years off after touring for about nine years with Gloria Estefan. I just wanted to take time off for my son. I wanted to see him walk and talk and go to school and kindergarten. I wanted to be totally involved in his life.
And now that he is 17 years old and taking advance placement classes in high school I decided to go here and pursue on my career and hoping that I can, you know, get a huge record deal, you know, to do the music I enjoy doing.
Josh, you talked about playing six days a week. And I'm wondering what's the transition like from going to playing gigs every night to performing on television in front of millions of people and everything that goes with being on a television show?
Josh Logan: It's pretty cushy actually. I'll take it, man. I'll take playing one song - singing one song over six days a week, three hours a night, any day, you know? It's a nice switch and it's definitely in the direction I want to go towards. I don't want to be playing in bars for the rest of my life, you know, especially as often as I do.
I mean, it's been great to hone my chops and to get, you know, my voice where I needed it to be and I made a lot of friends and gained a lot of support from that. So I'm just going to utilize all the good aspects from all the gigs that I've done and hopefully it'll take me to the next level with this competition.
Nic, hat compelled you to go on The Voice as opposed to any of the other many singing talent shows that you could have gone on?
Nic Hawk: That is a solid question. Honestly, I think the reason that this show just spoke to me more than the other shows did - and I've tried out for American Idol five times and they obviously hated me.
But, I mean, with that show it's a lot different from this. This show I really honestly feel like it was kind of my door because I'm the kind of person you'd look at and you don't really expect the kind of voice to come out of me that does.
And so for that alone I kind of wanted people just to not know what I look like and kind of have that be either a negative or a bonus to them, whichever way they were looking at it. It was just more for me, I just wanted to musically execute the song in exactly my style and I felt like this show really gave me the opportunity to do that.
My question is for Team Adam. How influential was what he said in making your decision?
Nic Hawk: Basically I wasn't planning on picking Adam honestly, when I walked into it. The style I sing is more towards CeeLo. But something just in that moment - the way he fought for me was just something that like I took into a lot of consideration.
And for someone to say that you're amazing like in, you know, they're not just - I felt it was a genuine comment. I was just like I have to go with him. My heart just told me in that moment to do it so.
James Wolpert: Yeah, it's not always a black and white decision when you're up there. But there's always this weird subconscious kind of gut feeling that takes over. I think that's something that a lot of us have in common when we got up there it's just hearing them all talk is really confusing. But there's just kind of this weird little - just like voice in the back of your head telling you to go for it. And, yeah, that's my 2 cents on the matter.
Donna Allen: I kind of knew from the very beginning that I would choose - even before I even decided to do - put out my application I said if this comes around this is the guy I want for me because my voice and he sings rock and roll and I love rock and roll.
I said if he turns around I was praying honest to God, let him - if he turns (unintelligible) Murray on the matter are head telling you there's just subconscious to again is slim to none." But I was - then ever since I real for me, for him, you know, to choose him and that's - so I did so he was listening to me.
Caroline, you've said a couple times in the show yesterday that you were pretty shy and private person. So how are you making the transition from performing at camp, New York, New Jersey to singing on such a major television show?
Caroline Pennell: I, you know, it's crazy because it all happened so fast so I haven't really had time to notice the transition and my being and the way that I am as a person now as opposed to before. But it's funny, you know, I've never really considered myself a very shy person. And then the more I thought about it I realized I had never shared my music with anybody else. And I was really reserved musically.
So the transition has just been overwhelming. And I feel so much stronger and so much more confident now to, you know, pursue what I love to do and to make something of it so.
Kat. You got some pretty high praise on Twitter today from former Voice contestant, Terry McDermott. Have you been checking out social media to see the responses to your selection for the show?
Kat Robichaud: I haven't stopped. It's been really bad and I need to figure out a balance - like a healthy balance because I probably didn't go to sleep until - I had a nice little viewing party at my apartment last night. And then when everybody left I started like responding to everybody.
I was up until about 3:30 last night. I tried - one thing I've learned in the seven years of being on the road and being in a band is that fans are so important and they really do make or break you and they keep you going and that's the entire reason I do this.
So I tried to respond to pretty much everybody last night. And then when I woke up at like 8:30 this morning I started all over again. And it's been absolutely insane. I am terrible - I'm pretty good on Facebook but I'm terrible on Twitter; I'm new to it. So I didn't see that Terry McDermott said something. And that's incredibly sweet because I admire him and I absolutely love him and certainly like being compared to him. But, yeah, it's been absolutely crazy.
Matthew, what was it like when all of a sudden simultaneously all four seats turned around? Did it throw you off or did you just keep on being a champ about it?
Matthew Schuler: No it's really crazy. I mean, I feel like when I stepped on that stage I was at so much peace, you know, and I knew I just had so much support from back home like people who were praying for me. And just, you know, it really encouraged me. I stepped on the stage and just, I mean, started singing the a cappella verse which is crazy in itself because, I mean, like I didn't have any music behind me so it was literally just me.
But when they turned around in like the first few seconds I freaked out on the inside; I can't lie. I was ecstatic. But my eyes were kind of closed in the beginning so I actually didn't really see them turn until I like - like a few seconds afterwards like I opened my eyes and all I saw were these white lights. And I'm like, what? Like in my head I was just like what is happening right now?
But really I knew like from that point on I'm like all right, the hard part is over, they turned around so now I can just have fun. And really that's what I try to do on stage, you know, I just - I love the song, Young the Giant is one of my favorite bands and Cough Syrup one of my favorite songs so I was so blessed, you know, to be able to sing it and sing it with the passion, you know, that I have, you know, for my music. It's amazing.
You know, I want to change the world with my music because, I mean, to be able to sing that song and be able to put on a good show, you know, and it was important to me. So I knew I had to get through it and just, you know, have fun doing it.
Kat, do you think Sugar and Design prepared you well for this competition? And what do you think CeeLo is going to add to that?
Kat Robichaud: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, the Sugar and the Design were the first - we were technically the same band. And it was the first experience I had on stage. And I toured with that band for seven years.
And certainly, you know, when I - the very first time that I was on stage I - my knees were shaking and I was incredibly nervous and scared. And it took a long time to develop the presence that I now have on stage and it's just taken a lot of hard work and a lot of heartache. And, you know, people giving you constructive criticism and, definitely, you know, it's a hard road and I'm sad that we're not together anymore but I learned so much from it.
And, you know, I think - the reason that I picked CeeLo is I feel that he and I have so much in common as far as vocally and he's going to be able to help me really hone my craft, you know, and tweak my voice; not change it but make it stronger. And help me to be able to do more with it and have more control over it.
But I think as far as, you know, just having fun together it's just going to be a blast. I mean, he's such a great performer and one of the things that I really love about him was the first time that I saw him perform was the VMAs where he came out dressed as Darth Vader. And all of his band members were dressed like characters from the movie.
And when he's singing crazy he's singing it in the character Darth Vader and it's like oh my God, Dark Vader is trying to reach out to people and hold their hand say look, I'm sorry, I don't mean to be this way. And that's what I really love about, you know, just taking and making your performance a performance and just transcending things and just, you know, transporting people into a completely new world if only for a few minutes.
And that's what I really love about performing. And that's what I love about CeeLo, I think that we can do that together.
James, Christina made a comment about finding out which genre inspired you. Can you talk a little bit about your musical influences and also what specifically drew you to Adam?
James Wolpert: Sure. I've been kind of trying to pin down what genre I fit into myself recently and where I fit in musically as I'm sure we all are. But I guess a few of my biggest influences and a few of the people that I really look up to musically are people like Jack White and people like Freddie Mercury from Queen.
And I think those are my two most favorite artists at least right now because that kind of thing is constantly, constantly changing. And I'm sure if you would have asked me like a few years ago my answer would have been different.
But I was drawn to Adam because he seems like a very genuine guy. He's someone I definitely want to work with based on the genres that he's to, which are kind of like rock and pop because I'm also into those genres too.
And I think just kind of the experience that he's had especially working with Maroon 5 like forever now and just based on the work he's done I think it was a good fit. And like I said earlier I think it's mostly a gut feeling decision like there when you're on stage especially facing everyone and especially in light of Christina's comments and her praise and the fact that she's from Pittsburgh and all that stuff.
What's been the response since the episode aired last night?
James Wolpert: I've been really flattered by the response. Everybody seems to enjoy the performance and I guess that's really the ultimate goal. My friends and family have been amazing through this whole thing. My phone exploded. And everything has been going great. It's been kind of one of the weirdest things that's ever happened seeing - like watching my Twitter feed update and watching my Facebook notifications just go nuts.
And I got to watch it with a few of my friends last night on the West Coast but naturally the East Coast aired a few hours earlier and all the spoilers came tumbling in and everybody that I love is on the East Coast. So I don't know, it's overwhelming, I think is the perfect word for it.
Matthew, Christina thinks you're her best hope to be the first female coach in the history of the show to win. Is that a lot of pressure on you?
Matthew Schuler: It's a little bit of pressure. But I think I can handle it. I mean, I'm really just focused on having fun up there. I mean, any time I get anxious like any anxiety or just I get in my head about stuff like I end up not performing well. So, I mean, I think what I really need to focus on to live up to that expectation is to just have fun.
And just, you know, I'm doing what I love. Like music has always been my heart. You know, I love making music. I love singing. And I love, you know, performing for people and giving them, you know, some happiness and joy, you know, through my performances. So I'm really excited to just go at it and just have that be the focus and have fun while I'm doing it.