BWW Interviews - Artists from THE VOICE Blind Auditions - Part II
NBC's The Voice kicked off its fifth season this week. On night two of the competition, the artists who made it through their blind auditions included Jacquie Lee, Destinee Quinn, (Team Christina), Barry Black, Tessanne Chin, (Team Adam) Holly Henry, Austin Jenckes, E.G. Daily (Team Blake) and Jonny Gray, Cole Vosbury (Team CeeLo).
Below, the artists spoke to BWW and others about their experience on the NBC singing competition!
Holly and Destinee, after seeing you guys just once I'm so intrigued by your fashions and I was wondering can you both describe your personal sense of style?
Holly Henry: Well I wear a lot of black. I don't really know if I have a certain style. I like clothes that are a bit too big. I like dresses with lots of lace. I don't know, maybe you could describe it as slightly gothic but I don't know if that's exactly the right way to describe it. But yes, just lots of black.
Destinee Quinn: I can attest to that. I was her roommate, I saw her suitcase. For my style, definitely country. I love my cowgirl boots. And the cool part about country is I love the summery type looks, the flowers in the hair, that sweet like country look but then also I have another side of me that is that more rock and roll type of country. So it just depends on my mood really.
Holly, obviously it's a big jump to go from not performing to performing on The Voice. What made you think that this would be something that you could be successful at and what did you think of the judges' support that they showed you?
Holly Henry: I was honestly like really blown away by their support. I wasn't expecting one chair let alone all of them. So it was honestly just really shocking and really surprising and it just meant the world to me, you know? What was the other part of your question? I'm sorry.
How has Blake helped you with that performance aspect of who you are? How has he helped you to be more comfortable?
Holly Henry: Well I think just in general he has made me or helped me be a lot more confident. Also it's like the things he said, he has been so incredibly supportive like I honestly can't even - I don't know, he has said so many things, I can barely put it into words.
But he has just always been there and he's just really approachable and just easy to be around. So, I mean, I just take everything in, you know, because I don't know, it's like he's always there for me, you know? He's a good guy
Holly, this is the biggest crowd you've ever performed in front of. Can you describe what that is like?
Holly Henry: That was incredibly frightening. I have anxiety in general so that big of a crowd was extremely overwhelming. But at the same time like once I get up there and like I start to sing, you know, all that kind of fades away because it's just - it's a really beautiful moment, you know? So I don't know, it was really scary but it was also extremely rewarding.
When all four chairs spun around, what kind of thoughts went through your mind?
Holly Henry: I went into this whole audition not thinking I would even get one. I don't know, I just kind of did it for experience, kind of did it on a whim. So the fact that I got four chairs just was really confusing in a good way, in a good way. I was really surprised and I don't know, it just sort of - it boosted my confidence and it meant so much that all of them kind of heard something that they would like to work with, you know?
Tessanne the show last night was prerecorded. What was it like to watch yourself on television?
Tessanne Chin: Well we went to a family friend's house and we all, you know, in Jamaica we have to celebrate with food. So we celebrated with some food and honestly it was just a surreal experience to be able to share that with my family and to be able to share it with my friends and just to watch it back, it brought back every single emotion that was experienced while doing it and more.
Because, you know, what people don't see is how hard you work to get to that point, you know, and it was truly a moving experience and a super emotional one. I'm super happy to have gotten such wonderful support from, you know, my Jamaican people, my Caribbean people as well and, you know, I'm looking forward to making some new friends too, so yes.
You did you chose to sing Pink's Try?
Tessanne Chin: Because, you know, this was my - this was me getting up and trying again definitely, it was me getting up and trying again. So I thought that had a very strong message. And plus Pink is one of the top vocalists in my estimation so I wanted to do her justice.
Tessanne, how did it feel to perform on a mainstream stage?
Tessanne Chin: It was absolutely breathtaking. And, you know, this is what I've been working for my entire career. You know, when I was a little girl I'd watch people, of course I'd watch my local Jamaican artists but the people I had my eye on was like Celine Dion and Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner.
So to be able to even get that chance just to share the stage with these amazingly talented people that are auditioning as well and to be able to sing in front of, you know, some of the world's most elite artists, it was just absolutely breathtaking and I'm just so grateful, so grateful.
Why did you choose Adam over all the other judges when they all wanted you?
Tessanne Chin: For me I chose Adam because I think Adam is a musical chameleon. Like he can easily swing between pop, rock, you know, I can hear so many different elements and so many different genres of music in his music. And I like that because I myself hate to be put in a box, you know, and I think musically one should be free to try different things so I really relate to him in that way.
Destinee. In your taped bit that we saw in the show you mentioned you're a country singer but that at the biker bar you had to sing different songs. Do you see yourself strictly as a country singer?
Destinee Quinn: Hi. I love music in general so but country music is what comes naturally to me. I can sing other genres and I love singing songs from other genres because it grows me as my own kind of and just makes me a more rounded artist. But I do really believe that country is where I'm supposed to be.
Do you feel any pressure then knowing who won last year even though you're not on Blake's team?
Destinee Quinn: Oh not at all. You know, I'm on Christina's team and she's going to give me a whole new take on I think a different perspective than what Blake would give me being just a powerhouse vocalist which will help me in the long run.
E.G., you've been performing for quite a long time and have had a successful career in other entertainment areas. Why The Voice now?
E.G. Daily: You know, The Voice for me was something that I had not even thought of. I was actually doing - I was working on - I have kind of gone through a couple of years of kind of just like reevaluating my life and started realizing that I wasn't really happy with certain things in my life, I was sort of just walking through things and not really feeling the joy.
And I started doing this - a lot of little music things just for myself and for the joy of it, I wasn't doing it for any other reason. This woman that I was working with on this show that I sometimes hosted and I actually sang on which is called BalconyTVs and they're all over the world but I was on the BalconyTV LA.
She had asked me - no I had been working with her and then one day she just said, you know, I hope you're not mad at me but I got you an audition for something. And I was like what? And it turned out it was The Voice. And I was like well I don't really know if I'm going to qualify, you know, I just thought because of my history and my work I have done that I wouldn't have even qualified but she said no no, it didn't matter.
So it was really just something that I just said yes to because music is something that I love so much and it's my number one love. So there was no real question, it was like yes I would go do that, that would be fun. And I had no expectations, I had no idea what was going to happen. So getting to this point, making Blake's team was just like - it was like a dream that I have had my whole life.
Jonny, you had a very emotional performance and story last night. How was it watching yourself?
Jonny Gray: It was awesome actually. I got to see it one time before. They actually let the teams see the performance but I didn't get to see all that stuff with my family so that was really cool to see and everybody's reaction. I think that was the best part of the whole thing, actually watching my family just get so excited when somebody turned around, you know?
Courtney, so where did you get your boots?
Jacquie Lee: Oh okay, I got them from Vera Wang. I would have definitely taken them off my feet and given them to Ceelo in the moment.
E.G., this season we've seen several older artists excel in the blind auditions. And I was wondering if you thought a performing veteran like yourself has the chance to take home the title this season.
E.G. Daily: I just want to show up. You know, I just feel like if I just bring my - I just feel like the whole time I just feel like I just bring myself and what I love and my connection to music and my love of just, you know, I love the show so much.
I just feel like I just, you know, obviously I don't really - I love the saying, you know, if somebody - what's the saying -- how old would you be if someone did not - if you did not know how old you are. I sort of feel that way, I feel like how old would I be if I didn't know how old I am. I don't feel any different than Holly's age or anybody else. I just sort of feel like this whole person and I sing and I love it. And to get this opportunity is such a gift.
Yes I do have some, initially it was like how can they have me on the show, I'm such a different age bracket than everybody. But once you get on The Voice you see that it really is about your voice, it really isn't about who I am or what I've done or my age but it is about my voice or our voices.
So I'm trying to really on one hand transcend the voice thing, you know, the age thing, sorry, the age thing and on the other hand I'm trying to embrace the age thing and say that I'd like to represent all people that are in their 50s or 40s or 60s and say, you know, to never stop doing what you love to do.
Because here I am having this opportunity which wasn't something I was, you know, you couldn't have - if you would have asked me if I would have tried to be on The Voice, you know, when The Voice started, I would have never even been thinking along those lines.
But it's just a magical gift that, you know, my age is not making a difference, you know, it's not making or breaking difference. I think for me it's just - I'm just happy, it doesn't matter my age at this point.
Jonny, in the intro to your audition you said that you were just hoping that Adam Levine would turn around. He did but you wound up on Team Ceelo. Can you explain how that thought process went?
Jonny Gray: You know, I wanted to go with Adam just based on like musical preference, like I love his music, I really am a big fan of Maroon 5 and what they've done. And that record, I was listening to that record the whole time while I was deployed.
And so I just thought, you know, my first reaction was to pick Adam. But then, you know, when I was on stage after, you know, talking to both of them I just felt like Ceelo just knew me a little bit better, like he just kind of understood who I was and that just, you know, meant a lot.
Austin, could you explain to me how you made your coaching decision?
Austin Jenckes: Yes, you know, I think in the back of my head Ceelo and Blake were the two people that I really wanted to work with going into this whole experience. And the fact that they both turned made it very, you know, kind of ironic.
And I just think, you know, Blake as an artist specifically musically, he does a little bit more, you know, he has a similar vibe that I do. And, you know, I wouldn't say that I'm a full blown pop country artist but I do have a lot of country roots and I just feel like musically he would be able to relate to me.
Jacquie Lee, how did you come to your coaching decision?
Jacquie Lee: I honestly went in there not knowing who I wanted to choose. I was so indecisive and I kept - I was like no Blake, no Adam, no Christina. And then in the moment Christina made some pretty good points. And I have been listening to her my whole life when I was like growing up and everything and she is sort of like my role model.
And she knows like what it feels like to be a young girl in the industry so that was very relatable to me. And she has a phenomenal voice and there's so much that she could teach me. And all the soul in her voice is incredible. So I am really happy to be on Team Christina.
Tessanne, a lot of people thought that possibly you would have gone with Christina. Had Adam not turned around, would you have gone there?
Tessanne Chin: She definitely, definitely was tugging at my heartstrings for sure because, I mean, who doesn't love Christina Aguilera? Who doesn't recognize that voice and that amazing, you know, skill that she has? So probably, probably but yes.
Who is standing out for you as far as the other contestants?
Tessanne Chin: Oh good Lord. There are quite a few that stand out to me and I think everybody that has gotten through so far, they're incredibly skilled in what they do and incredibly original, you know?
I definitely have to big up Miss Donna and big up Barry and, you know, and all these kids that you see like Holly and, you know, they're amazing. Like the first time that you're singing on a stage is on The Voice. That's no joke, you know? So definitely - I definitely give them props because that's no easy task and I'm so proud of them.
Destinee, I'm wondering can you tell us a little bit more about your work with Alice Cooper and how that helped contribute to you as a performer and as a singer?
Destinee Quinn: Of course. When I was 16, actually I was 15 at the time, Alice Cooper was hosting a talent contest and it was open to adults and kids. And now the contest is only open to kids but it was to benefit a foundation he has called The Solid Rock which provides dance lessons and music lessons and tutoring and all this stuff for free for kids in the community.
And, I mean, when I went out for it I didn't expect to win because I was very insecure at that time, I didn't think I was good, didn't think I had any chance. And I won. I went on to perform at the big show with him and it was in front of 5000 people and that's the biggest audience I've ever performed in front of at that time and it was just so inspiring.
And then after that he let me open up for him more for more charity events and then we started doing commercials together. And, I mean, just seeing how invested he is in young talent and young artists, and he does a contest every year, has been just a motivation for me to keep going and keep pursuing it.
E.G., you seem to get a little annoyed when the conversation sort of pushed back to your acting history. I'm wondering how much of a challenge is it for you to have people separate that and just focus on who you are as a musical artist.
E.G. Daily: You know, it's so to be expected. I mean, I've done, you know, I haven't - I've done a lot of music things like I've just been doing music things the whole time. It's just that it wasn't as popular as maybe some of the music or the animation.
But, you know, I didn't really feel - I don't - I feel like it unfolds as it's supposed to and for some strange reason the music thing is just sort of building underneath everything I've always done.
And for it to come out now means even more to me. It feels like today music means more and I feel it more and I feel like I have so much more wisdom and peace about everything in my life that I feel I can put that into the music. So for me to have the music come out now is such a gift, it's almost better.
So I don't really feel annoyed, I sort of feel like everything unfolds as it is supposed to and for some ironic, strange reasons, you know, the music is sort of popping out more now. More people got a chance to hear how I sing, you know? For me it has all been tied together, my career I've always been doing music the entire time I was doing movies and the entire time I was doing animation.
So, you know, just the public maybe wasn't noticing but I have always been so connected. So I just think it's - what a great gift now to have it be more exposed, you know, and that I had the opportunity to have all the movie things and the animation things happen has been also a gift. I feel super blessed in my life to have this amazing career, you know, amazing career that just keeps rolling, you know?
Do any one of you have any rituals before you perform, whether it's to get over nerves or pump yourself up?
Holly Henry: This is Holly. I have a panic attack.
E.G. Daily: And then I take care of her like she's one of my baby girls.
Holly Henry: She does. I get extremely nervous. I get like really bad nerves and E.G. always like comforts me, she's so sweet. So I guess E.G. is my (unintelligible) routine.
E.G. Daily: That's so cute. She's so cute, I love her. She's like one of my babies. That's funny because some people eat potato chips. Wasn't it somebody who ate potato chips before they sang? It's so funny.
Tessanne Chin: I could never do that.
Destinee: Not really a ritual but I down a bunch of honey like straight out of the bottle. I just drink a bunch of honey.
Jessica Rae: Oh wow.
Destinee Quinn: I'm so weird.
E.G. Daily: Sometimes I'll just put on a headset with some amazing like soundtracks, score film music that just puts me in a nice place and try to get present.
Tessanne Chin: E.G. is just so relaxed, you know, because E.G. is my roommate and she would have all this incense and candles and it was just love stuff.
For me, oh I'm sorry, for me I'm a little bit like Holly actually. I get very nervous and I don't really talk and stuff. You know, but for me I always have to say a little prayer. I know it sounds really corny but I do, I have to (unintelligible) and get really centered and quiet.
E.G. Daily: And she watches Pinterest.
Tessanne Chin: Oh yes.
E.G. Daily: She's so cute. She gets up in her bed all cozy and looks at her Pinterest.
Tessanne Chin: You know, you know.
E.G. Daily: Girl I live with you, we share rooms.
Jonny Gray: I always have a band prayer - it's a shot of whiskey right before you get on stage. Does anybody else do that?
Holly Henry: This is Holly and I totally do that.
Jonny Gray: I know Holly does it.
Jessica Rae: Was that Jonny who said about the band prayer?
Jonny Gray: Yes it was.
Jessica Rae: Okay I just wanted to make sure I heard it right.
Jacquie Lee: I eat Gummy Bears.
Jessica Rae: And who is that?
Jacquie Lee: It's Jacquie. I eat Gummy Bears like with the gelatin in them!
MEET THE ARTISTSJacquie Lee (Team Christina) - Colts Neck, NJ
In fourth grade, Jacquie had her own type of blind audition when she sang to her family from a closet because she was too nervous to sing in front of people. After embracing her talent, she has since won local competitions and performs to raise money for several charities on a regular basis. Follow Jacquie on Twitter at @jacquieleemusicBarry Black (Team Adam) - Las Vegas, NV
Born in American Samoa, Barry grew up traveling all over the West Coast before finally settling in Las Vegas with his family. He went to college in Washington for hotel management, but left once he realized he could make a career out of music and now performs with his current band, "Barry Black and the Sensuals." Follow Barry on Twitter at @mrbarryblackDestinee Quinn (Team Christina) - Surprise, AZ
Destinee started performing in talent shows at 13, and won a chance to open for Alice Cooper at 16. She now gigs three nights a week in restaurants and performs every Sunday at a local biker bar. Although her local career has taken off she's ready to take her voice to a bigger stage. Follow Destinee on Twitter at @destineequinnHolly Henry (Team Blake) - Minneapolis, MN
Holly started singing when she was 3 years old, but she has very little performance experience. She currently lives with her parents and works at a pancake house, but her true calling is singing and songwriting. Holly's always been shy, but she's willing to set those fears aside for a shot at pursuing her dreams. Follow Holly on Twitter at @hollymaehenryAustin Jenckes (Team Blake) - Seattle, WA
Austin fell in love with music because of his late father, who played guitar and sang as a hobby. His life's aspiration is to share his voice with the world. Austin performs with his Dad's guitar in his memory and wants to make his dad proud by becoming The Voice. Follow Austin on Twitter at @austinjenckesE.G. Daily (Team Blake) - Hollywood, CA
An LA native, E.G. started singing in a band at age 15 but fell into acting, where she appeared in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" and "Valley Girl" in the 80's. Her path shifted in the 90's when she became a sought-after voice over artist, most notably voicing Tommy Pickles on TV's "Rugrats." She has always been a musician at heart and hopes that The Voice will give her a second chance to use her voice for what it was meant for: singing. Follow E.G. on Twitter at @RealegdailyJonny Gray (Team CeeLo) - Austin, TX
At 18, Jonny joined the Air Force and was deployed to the Middle East shortly after. During his service, he played guitar to boost morale. Jonny hasn't cut his hair since leaving the military and has made a living performing around his hometown of Austin, Texas. Follow Jonny on Twitter at @jonnygraymusicTessanne Chin (Team Adam) - Kingston, Jamaica
Growing up on the island of Jamaica with musical parents, Tessanne knew she always wanted to be a musician. For three years, she sang back-up for reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, but eventually broke out as a solo artist in Jamaica. Tessanne has not been able to make any waves in the USA, but she's hoping that The Voice will take her global. Follow Tessanne on Twitter at @TessanneCole Vosbury (Team CeeLo) - Shreveport, LA
Cole can play a variety of instruments and loves to put a funky twist on familiar songs when he performs. His grandmother and musical mentor, Nita Lynn, is a famed country artist. Cole tried out for The Voice in order to make his grandma and his family proud. Follow Cole on Twitter at @colevosbury
Photo credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC
Photo credit: Tyler Golden/NBC