Now that we’ve discovered who’s going to be in the competition, it’s time for you to get to know the artists from Season 3 of The Voice through my series of in-depth interviews. First up is Team Adam’s Benji, whose version of the Dylan classic “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” caught the ear of Adam Levine.
“It’s good to see all the hard work and time and dedication pay off,” he told me. “I’ve been in a band for like ten years. I’ve been doing it for a really long time.” He added that his experience on The Voice has been “so much bigger” than he thought it would be. “Going into it, I thought ‘This is going to be a really cool experience.’ I tried to manage my expectations as far as making it on the show; I kind of just went for it [and] it’s been incredible. Not just from the perspective of music and reach, but I’ve met so many amazing people and had so many amazing friendships and had great conversations.”
“Out of all the judges, probably the one that I’d been following for the longest amount of time is Adam,” he added, describing his new coach as “A really cool guy. Very chill, a lot of fun to be around. He taught me a lot about what it means to be yourself, even when you’re singing covers. I’ve never much sung other people’s songs and one of the most difficult things for me was singing ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.’ I’m a huge fan of Dylan and older generations of music. How do you do that? How do you put yourself in those shoes?” With his coach’s help, he’s learned how to answer those questions.
It was when Adam turned his chair during blind auditions that being on The Voice started to sink in for Benji: “During the blinds, my whole focus was don’t look at the chairs,” he explained, “so I’m singing and it isn’t even up to the big part of the song, and I just happened to accidentally look that direction and I saw the chair start to spin. I pointed at him and he pointed back at me. I was like, ‘This is getting real.’”
That started a new journey for Benji, one that brought out the competitive instinct he has from his passion for race car driving. He doesn’t want to settle for second place. “Winning is kind of the goal,” he told me. “I’ve always been a really competitive guy. Competition and having a competitive streak is necessary in that field as well. I definitely want to win.”
But that doesn’t mean it’s all about winning: “There’s a lot of goals I have in my life,” he continued. “I’ve always wanted to have a hand in stopping human trafficking in the United States – using the influence I have as an artist to [raise] more awareness of that.”
With battle rounds being pre-taped earlier this year, Benji already knows if he’s still in the competition or if his time on The Voice is over, but that hasn’t dampened his enjoyment of the show. “To me, it’s still a lot of fun. It’s so exciting to me,” he said. “To see all the episodes air, how it all comes out, it’s a lot of fun to me. When the premiere aired, I was like ‘Oh my gosh,’ and honestly I’ve had to watch pretty much every show. I’ve just enjoyed seeing everyone’s stories.”
Who are his other favorites among the Top 64? “First and foremost it would be Dez Duron and Trevin Hunte,” he said. “I roomed with Dez for the blinds; that guy is absolutely fantastic. Trevin and I became friends in three nanoseconds.” His other picks include Terisa Griffin and his teammate Melanie Martinez.
Make sure you’re following Benji on Twitter (@BenTheBrownie) – and stay tuned to see who I’ll be talking with next!