Interviews From Last Night: Kat Robichaud

The Voice - Season 5

Okay, folks, here’s a bonus: you’ve probably seen my post-elimination interview with Kat Robichaud on TODAY.com (if you haven’t, here’s the link). There’s quite a bit that was in the original article that didn’t make print, however, and it’s some real food for thought, so I wanted to publish it here for you to enjoy.

Here’s what you didn’t read:

What did Kat believe kept her landing in the bottom three?

“Who knows?” she said. “I can only be myself. A lot of people said ‘Kat cares more about being a star than she does [being] an artist,’ and that’s kind of true in a sense, but also not really because I’m not willing to do a song just to get more votes.

“I have to be myself, and I think it’s really important that I remain myself,” she continued. “I think there are a lot of people in the world right now that think that they have to be someone that they’re not to fit in, and I think it’s really important for them to know that they need to just continue to be themselves and love themselves for who they are.”

In essence, Kat just summed up the entire premise behind The Voice: for artists to be who they are, and not try to be something that they’re not. Really beautiful words, in this writer’s opinion.

On another note – if you’ve read the TODAY article – it’s prompted a firestorm of comments regarding Kat’s opinion that performance should matter on the show. A lot of people are saying negative things that she doesn’t deserve; as someone who’s gotten to know Kat, however briefly, I can say that she’s a lovely person and not at all the “sore loser” that she’s being made out to be.

And I personally think she has a point. The show may be called The Voice, and vocals will always be paramount, but I do think that artists should also do more than just stand there and sing. When I go to a live performance, I go for the experience; if I just wanted the music, I’d stay home and listen to the album.

But what do you think? Agree or disagree with Kat? I’m curious to know. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Artist Update: Amber Carrington

The Voice - Season 4

The biggest surprise in Season 4 of The Voice was Amber Carrington, who started the show as an aspiring country artist and rose to become an amazing all-around performer under the guidance of coach Adam Levine. Not only was she talented, but offstage she was also one of the show’s most enjoyable personalities. BFTV recently caught up with Amber to talk about how her career and life have been after finishing in The Voice‘s top five.

“I got more than I ever imagined from The Voice,” she told us. “I learned so much about myself as not only an artist but as a person and I grew incredible amounts through out the experience. What I will take with me most is the fans that I gained and the friends – cast and crew – who I became so close to. Those relationships will go on forever. I love my fans!”

What was her favorite experience on the national stage? “The first thing I always think of is the moment I performed ‘Skyfall.’ It was such an epic peak in the show for me, and I will always wish that I could go back in time to that moment,” she said. “I felt so free and fierce – it was incredible!”

Almost immediately after her time on the hit NBC series ended, Amber’s career started moving forward. “The next morning after the wrap party and all the festivities of the finale, I woke up still in the same hotel I had been in for months,” she said, “only now with plans to travel right back to the Universal lot to participate in a show called Home & Family on the Hallmark channel. That was a pretty fun experience…very different from The Voice but I did get to perform and be involved in another TV show.

“Normal life after that was a bit of a drag for like a week,” she added, “but then I got right back up on my feet and started making small trips to Nashville and then finally decided to pack up and move here!” Nashville being the home to many former The Voice artists, including another Team Adam member, Season 2 finalist Tony Lucca.

Since settling in her new city, Amber has stayed busy. “[I've] been writing a ton – with a few Voice friends,” she said. “I got a booking agent finally to help me sort through all the inquiries. I feel so grown up now, because I even have an attorney. I have also signed with Fusion Music management group, and am being managed by the same man who managed Lady Antebellum in the past, Daniel Miller. I am building my team of people around me to represent my music and business when approached by record labels and [for] publishing deals!”

She’s lined up more than a few gigs, too. Amber is singing the National Anthem for several NFL teams during October, including the Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers. She’s playing several shows in those areas as well. so be sure you check her website (ambercarrington.com) to see when and where she’ll be performing near you.

What’s been the most memorable event that she’s been a part of? “The coolest thing that has happened to me since The Voice was definitely getting to sing ‘Crazy’ by Patsy Cline alongside Vince Gill and The Time Jumpers at 3rd and Lindsley for my first real live performance in Nashville,” she added. “That was just so incredible!”

Of course, fans always want to know if Voice artists will re-team with their coaches after the show is over, so we asked Amber if that’s in the cards for her, too. “I do have Adam’s number, you know?” she told us. “So I have texted him a bit about things that are going on in my career [and] about his recent engagement. Other than that, we have remained friends, but no plans to work together just yet.”

Amber has also stayed in touch with her longtime supporters, especially the folks at LaRue Chic Boutique in Texas, where she worked prior to her appearance on The Voice. “LaRue Chic Boutique is one of my most favorite places to go and shop! I love the atmosphere and the people who work there. It’s just full of energy and color, which both make me very happy!,” she enthused. “They have become my clothing sponsor and also my merchandise designers. All my merchandise plus other super cute items can be found on their website at iShopLaRue.com.

“I am so excited to be a part of LaRue’s very first annual Pinktoberfest,” she added. “This is a breast cancer awareness festival with tons of raffles, auctions, a traveling mammogram truck and a live concert!” You can find more information on Pinktoberfest, which happens this Thursday, October 24, by visiting the official event page on the LaRue website.

From there, the sky’s the limit. “After October my schedule will slow down a lot!” Amber continued. “I am going to be focusing on writing great songs and getting a publishing deal. Then [I'll] gather up all the right songs and take [them] to record label showcases to look for a record deal, and finally get new music out for all my sweet patient fans! Whether this will all happen before the year is out or in ten years, no one knows.”

Empowered and energized, Amber is excited for her future, and continuing to share her positive energy with everyone around her. Asked what advice she’d pass on to our readers, “Be confident in the person that you are!” she enthused. “In any career path or life challenge that you face, you have to look at yourself and love what you see. Everyone could use a little tweaking ,but overall, love the person that you are and see yourself for greatness. As soon as you can find that happiness within you, then you will attract beautiful things.”

You can keep up with Amber by visiting her website (ambercarrington.com) and following her on Twitter (@ambercarrington).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Season 4 Finale Interviews

The Voice - Season 4

The rest of my Season 4 finale interviews are now posted across the interwebs:

Artist Update: Josiah Hawley

The Voice - Season 4Josiah Hawley is not only returning to The Voice for the finale – but he’s also got new music of his own to reveal today! BFTV caught up with the Team Usher singer to talk about his now-available EP, plus returning to the hit NBC series and how he plans to make the most of his national exposure.

“I’m really happy exactly as it happened,” said Josiah, who left The Voice after his live show performance of Coldplay’s “Clocks,” and will be returning to sing with the rest of Team Usher for the finale. “I feel like it’s been a great stepping stone for me to step into the next phase of my career. It’s helped me to be seen and be known enough to have meetings with some very cool people.

“The good thing is too, because I got [voted] off when I [did], it also helps not to be pigeonholed,” he added. “I’m super-grateful for the show, but at the same time, you don’t want to be known as ‘the reality show person’ for the rest of your life.”

He told us that after you leave the show, “Two things happen. The first thing is, you can just kind of breathe for a second. You don’t have the stress. And then it hits you real quick that ‘Now I’ve got to do this on my own, and I’ve got to get out there and make something of myself, because that was just step one.’ Then it becomes real. And it’s exciting.”

Step two for Josiah is the release of his EP, plus a corresponding YouTube web series. “I definitely had some music in the works already, but I finished a brand new song that I’m really excited about,” he revealed. “It does have influence because of the show and what went well, and the response I got on certain songs. It’s one that I think will have good reception with people.” That song is called “Beautiful To Me” and you’ll be able to get it on Noisetrade for free, along with his other new tracks, starting today.

“It’s kind of a love song and it just highlights my musical influences. I’m a pop-rock artist,” Josiah explained. “We stuck a little bit of jazz in there. It’s just a smooth song and it’s really fun.”

He has a plan to keep connected with the new fans he made through his TV exposure, staying active on social media including YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, so that you can see fresh videos and behind-the-scenes photos. “Twitter, I wasn’t very huge on it before the show,” he admitted with a laugh. “I had 700 some followers and now I have over 61,000. The same with Instagram. The goal was, I spoke with my lawyers right after the show and they’re like ‘Your social media’s blown up, that’s great. You’ve just got to keep going, get yourself out there in front of everybody.’” Now he’s definitely in the spotlight, and he’ll hopefully stay there.

Although he found himself as the heartthrob of The Voice, Josiah wants fans to know that he’s more than just a good-looking white guy with a guitar. “When the show started, they always have a story that they want to start with, to reveal a little bit about the artist,” said Josiah, whose on-air story focused on his modeling career.

“What I wanted people to really see is I grew up in a huge family – I’m the second of six kids – and it wasn’t a small town but it wasn’t a big town. I grew up doing concrete construction. That was my whole life. Every time I go back home to visit, that’s what I do. [I'm] just a hard worker in that sense, and an athlete, and I’ve been able to take those principles and apply them to music. If you want to be successful in music, you’ve got to work hard every day, all day.”

You can check out Josiah’s new music on his YouTube channel and download it on Noisetrade today. Also be sure to follow Josiah on Twitter (@JosiahHawley). The Voice crowns its season-four winner tonight on NBC.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Artist Update: Paulina Cerrilla

The Voice

She may not have made it through the battle rounds in Season 3 of The Voice, but Paulina Cerrilla is keeping busy, not only as a musical artist but also as an actress. The Team Christina singer is now one of the stars of the musical short film String Theory, which is currently trying to pull together production funding on Kickstarter. BFTV recently phoned Paulina to learn all about String Theory and talk about her life after The Voice.

“It’s been a wonderful journey,” she enthused, “because ever since The Voice, I have more people recognizing me. It kind of gives you more credibility. It’s helped me a lot in my music career and also my acting career.”

“When I heard about String Theory and how amazing it was, how music is such a big part of it, I read the script and I was like ‘I really want to do this,’” continued Paulina, who plays the character Aurora in the film written and directed by Jonathan Pezza. “Music is intertwined in every single character’s life.

“What really attracted me to it was you have three main characters and they never meet necessarily. Their stories are completely separate. I meet Patsy [played by Abraham Benrubi, ER] once but I never meet Yun [Thien Nguyen]. And we all unknowingly influence each other throughout the film. Everything comes in a full circle. It’s brilliantly, brilliantly written and the music is all [woven] in there. It’s very real and from the heart.”

The film’s creative team is so passionate about the project that they’re taking some pretty big steps to pitch it to the public. On the movie’s official website, you can view the entire screenplay, so that you know exactly what you’re investing into. They’re also planning to release a corresponding EP of the film’s music on iTunes. And if that’s not enough, Paulina teased that select Kickstarter backers who pledge a mere $3 will get a digital download of the song “About Home” that won’t be included on that EP.

“I loved my fans so much that I just really wanted to do a fully produced version,” she said. “So for a limited time, during the Kickstarter campaign, we’re actually offering the fully produced song that you won’t be able to get on iTunes.” You can pledge through Kickstarter until June 29.

String Theory isn’t Paulina’s first venture into acting. “I’ve been acting for a really long time. I got my start in musical theater when I was like nine years old,” she told us. “But the main reason why I haven’t been doing a lot of acting was I literally looked the same way for the past four years. Here I was a 14-year-old looking like she was 19. So it was a little bit difficult for me to get 14-year-old parts. I’ve kind of grown into my age. I’ve gotten a chance to get more acting jobs.”

She’s hoping String Theory will also boost her resume: “It’s so different from who I am [and] who people know me to be,” she continued. “It’ll show that I take acting very seriously because I’m playing a completely different character.”

Yet even she dives into acting, Paulina told us she won’t let go of her music career, either. “I’m going to do both,” she said. “I’m super-excited about String Theory and I’m planning on continuing my acting career [but] I’m totally not going to let the music drop. I’m working it out on recording. I’m just now starting to kick it up back on YouTube. What’s really cool that [The Voice] didn’t talk about, I’m Mexican, so I plan to use my Hispanic influences in my music. It shows a lot in my YouTube videos.” On Paulina’s YouTube channel (itsmepaulina), you can find all her videos, including a performance of “About Home.”

With the movie in front of her, she added that she also appreciates the show that came before. “The Voice has sent nothing but positive things my way,” she  told us. “I’m so grateful I did it.” Now Paulina has the opportunity to bring her positive energy and can-do attitude to the rest of the entertainment world, and we’ll be watching to see what she does next.

If you’re interested in supporting String Theory, you can visit the film’s Kickstarter page or official website. You can keep up with Paulina via her website (paulinaworld.com) or on Twitter (@itsmepaulina7).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Artist Update: Chris Cauley

Chris CauleyChris Cauley has been hard at work since joining Team Adam in season two of NBC’s The Voice, and now he’s close to a brand-new EP. With just days to go on a Kickstarter campaign, Chris joined BFTV to tell us what we can expect from his new music and how he’s been since we saw him in the Voice battle rounds.

“This EP has really consumed everything. We’ve been working kind of on and off since November to be honest,” he explained of the five-song project. “Basically what we did, we kind of went back to Michael Jackson, the King of Pop and who I’m just the biggest fan of. The whole theme when recording was ‘What would Michael do?’ It’s a very, very musical EP, but a five-year-old could sing along to it because it has the hooks that pop music does. It’s kind of got a Michael Jackson meets Maroon 5 meets The Jackson 5 sound.”

The Georgia-based singer made a big move when he signed with Red Light Management, which also represents heavyweight artists like Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews Band, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Luke Bryan. “They’re one of the biggest management companies in the world,” Chris said. “We went all or nothing in this. We’ve got a full string section orchestra, live horn. Having Red Light on my side and having people waiting on it, we were like ‘We gotta go big for this.’”

Voice fans remember Chris for the different arrangement of Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” that landed him on Adam Levine‘s team, as well as the battle round where he sang U2′s “Beautiful Day” with eventual Team Adam finalist Tony Lucca. What you might not be as aware of is that he’s been a touring musician for a decade.

“What I want people to know I was on The Voice, but long before that I was grinding it out for 10 years,” he continued. “All the years of grinding and having nothing to show for it is kind of coming down to this. It’s been 10 years in the making.” To that end, Chris wants fans to see each Kickstarter pledge as not just a one-off donation to the new record, but “more of an investment into a career.”

With two seasons having happened since Chris was a part of NBC’s hit show, it’s no longer a huge part of his life. “I embrace it when it comes up, but it’s been awhile since I’ve used it to my advantage,” he explained. “Even during the show – I know producers hated hearing this – I was just being honest [and saying] ‘This isn’t life or death for me. This is just a fun, incredible experience. I’m content.’ Even my exit interview, I said ‘Tony deserved it.’

“Tony and I got to be really good friends. We weren’t out for blood like they want you to be on TV,” he continued. The two still keep in touch, and Chris also opened for Tony on one night during his “Chapter Two” tour last year. He’s highly complimentary of his former teammate. “Without me even asking, Tony’s been typing about my Kickstarter,” Chris told us. “Someone asked a question, and obviously Tony has so many likes on Facebook, [but] I noticed he responded. He went way out of his way to get that one person to pledge, which was cool. I’m so happy for him.”

Chris also took the stage with another Team Adam alumnus, season one winner Javier Colon, recently in San Diego. The two share a mutual close friend, keyboardist Matt Cusson, and had met before but were surprised to find they were sharing the stage. “We didn’t even know each other was [scheduled for] the show,” Chris told us with a laugh. “It was booked through our separate college agencies. Javier didn’t even know I was going to be there. I didn’t even know I was opening for him. He’s doing really well.”

Now he’s hoping that he can enjoy some of the same success his colleagues have. “It’s been awesome,” he told us of the ongoing process to get his EP to the finish line. “I’d love for it to be a warm and fuzzy success story.”

You can pledge to Chris’s Kickstarter effort by clicking here, keep up with him on Twitter (@ChrisCauley), and check out him performing “Ordinary People” with fellow Voice alum Mathai below.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Excerpts appear at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @bigredchairs.

Photo credit: Dash Photography

Meet Team Blake’s Holly Tucker

The Voice - Season 4

Blake Shelton has his dream team on The Voice this season: a final three loaded completely with country artists. BFTV recently caught up with one of those artists, Baylor marching band star Holly Tucker, to get to know her better.

“I always expected big things because I’ve seen the show on TV and it just looks larger than life,” Holly said of her Voice experience so far. “That’s exactly what I got and more.”

Speaking of big things, America has watched Holly blow the doors off the Voice studio with her powerful performances of LeAnn Rimes’ “How Do I Live” and Martina McBride’s “Broken Wing.” How does she prepare her voice to be able to hit such amazing notes every time she takes the stage? “It takes a lot of warm-up,” she explained. “You just have to sing scales and make your voice be able to hit those notes with ease. And breathing. Breathing is very important.”

Breathing is something that Holly has learned to do over her time on The Voice. Her coach has pointed out to her that she is sometimes too hard on herself, and that he wants to see her have more fun. Now that America has voted her through into the Top 12 and later the Top 10, it’s given her more confidence in herself.

“I feel incredible,” she said. “Just being able to go up there and feel so strong and so confident. I should’ve been feeling this way the whole time. And now I finally feel like I’ve grown into the [belief] that I deserve to be here and it’s a really good feeling.

“Getting that validation from America, as well as my coach, is the best feeling in the world.”

Has that affirmation meant that she’s stopped being so self-critical? “I do feel like I’m getting there,” Holly continued. “When I start to do that, I just think to myself, ‘Holly, back up. You’re fine. It’s okay to be imperfect sometimes. It’s all right.’”

Whereas many artists on The Voice go out and find new identities through the course of competition, she has decided that she’s already found the genre she wants to remain in. “I want to stick to country,” she explained. “Even if I may go out and experiment with some other genres, I’m always going to be country and I love my country fans. That’s just who I am.”

No matter what happens, to her, being on the show has paid off. “I already feel like a winner,” she said, “because I’ve gotten to learn so much throughout this experience and have Blake coach me and teach me everything he knows. Of course I want to move forward, but I will never count this as anything I regret.”

Although she’s now facing the best of the competition, Holly isn’t dwelling too much on if or when she might go home. “No point in worrying. That’s what I say,” she told us. “America is going to vote on what they like, and what happens happens, and it happens for a reason.”

Holly performs for your vote tonight as The Voice continues at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC. You can also watch her and all of Team Blake rocking out on “Play Something Country” with this article.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Excerpts appear at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @bigredchairs.

 

Artist Update: Vicci Martinez

The VoiceVicci Martinez is still enjoying a newfound career success almost two years after she was a finalist on the first season of The Voice. Though the Seattle native was a talented musician well before the NBC series came into her life, the TV show vaulted her into the national spotlight, and Vicci has made the most of it. Universal Music Group, the record label affiliated with The Voice, offered her a deal after the show. She subsequently released her self-titled album, and now you can see the music video for the album’s first single, “Come Along.”

Big Red Chairs caught up with Vicci the day after she shot the “Come Along” video to look back on her album and talk about the journey she’s taken since we all fell in love with her voice.

The video for “Come Along” arrives ten months after the release of the album on which the song appears, but Vicci believes that the delay actually worked in her favor. “I was supposed to do a video this time last year and I think what happened was, the label was going to give me a chance to develop a little and see how the song and the record were going to go. But I’m really happy that it happened that way,” she explained. “It’s been a really busy year, but with a lot of evolution as far as me and this album, and playing it live and being able to have a relationship with these songs. Normally I write songs and I’ve been playing them for awhile and then I make an album. This is the opposite.”

“We’ve been visiting a lot of radio stations and the song has been going up on the charts the last few months,” she continued. “I’ve been really seeing a lot of success in actually going to stations and making relationships with people. I’m actually hoping I can do more of that. Just kind of having that one-on-one with the stations and the people. It’s kind of them taking a risk on me, adding the song to their playlist, because I’m a developing artist.”

It’s been a longer road for Vicci than many of the Voice artists who have followed her. She was the last finalist from season one to release an album, and of the four performers from that first cycle who were signed to Universal, she’s one of only two still with the label (the other being runner-up Dia Frampton). As so much of the post-reality show business now seems to rest on how quickly an artist can get material out before the next one takes their place in the public eye, Vicci is a breath of fresh air, a true artist whose primary concern is always for her work.

“I’m really happy,” she said about the trajectory of her career. “At first, everything was happening so quickly. I kind of thought, are they just going to drop me and forget about me, knowing that Javier [Colon] wasn’t with the label anymore [and] I think they let go of Xenia. I was like, ‘I haven’t even been released yet and it seems like they’re getting rid of people.’ Then they just kind of slowed it down. They didn’t put [the album] out in stores. I was like, ‘Oh my God, what am I supposed to do?’ I’m supposed to be with this major label [and] that’s why you sign with a label.

“My manager, Beth [Tallman], who’s just so wonderful, said, ‘Let’s go to the radio stations on our own and just go do it.’ And because of that and the song doing well, now the album’s in stores and now I’m doing the video,” she continued. “It’s been very humbling and it’s been very great to go through that process of starting from square one again. Really making the label recognize me as a real artist, it’s made it more rewarding.”

Where other artists might have expected more stardom after being a finalist on a hugely popular show, having been a working musician before TV came calling, Vicci is firmly down to earth. “I even had a line in one of my songs that says ‘Let go of all of your expectations,’ because you never know what’s going to happen,” she said, looking back at her experience on The Voice. “Adam Levine’s manager even took me aside once, and he was like ‘These shows are so unnatural for an artist. This is not how it happens. With Maroon 5, it took us being on the road for two years to get the songs to start charting.’ That’s the way it happens for everybody else. To expect everything to move that quickly, it’s just not natural. To have [the label] slow down and to have all these speed bumps come along the way, I think I needed to go through that. It was good for me to really just plant my feet again.”

While she still cherishes the time she spent as a member of Team Cee Lo Green, Vicci explained that she also wants to continue with a career that stands on its own, too. “I definitely am great friends with the people, the crew and the staff on The Voice, anything they’ve needed from me or anything I’ve needed from them. They’ve been so great. If they ask me to do anything I’m happy to do so,” said Vicci, who returned to the show in season two along with the three other first-season finalists. “But I think I’ve kind of gone through the trenches in the last couple years of kind of proving myself, not only to a new audience but also to my label. I feel like I have become a priority for them because I’ve shown that ‘Hey, you can’t get rid of me. I’m going to do my work here and I’m not going to just lean on The Voice to get any success.’ I’m in it for the long haul.”

“I don’t talk to Cee Lo anymore,” she continued. “I know I can lean on him if I need to talk to him, but he’s busy. It was great [working with him], and he did help get me out there and he sang on the record, but he’s not in this video. This was a song I chose and I invited him to be a part of the song. It wasn’t him pushing me toward doing this. This came from me. It was me choosing the song to be the single and now it’s working in my favor.”

If you see Vicci back on The Voice again, it might be in one of those big red chairs. “I always felt like I could somehow maybe be a coach one day,” she added. “But I think it takes going through the hard knocks to be able to come onto a show like that and really have advice to give and coaching to give. I don’t think I’m there yet.”

Right now, she’s hoping to get on a summer tour and planning to put more time into Vicci, including a potential second music video, before she gives any thought to a next album. When she does finally stop and look back, what’s going to make her think this whole journey from music to reality TV and back again has been worth it? “I think for me it’s just making sure that I continue to have good intention in my music, which has always been to inspire people to do what they love – any kind of art, anything that makes you feel passion and freedom in your work, in your craft, in your life,” she said. “That’s the biggest thing for me. That doesn’t just come through music. It also comes through action and your way of life. I have to make sure I’m living by those words as well. To me, that’s a success story.”

You can watch the video for “Come Along” on VEVO below. You can also keep up with Vicci by visiting her official website and following her on Twitter (@VicciMartinez).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Excerpts appear at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @bigredchairs.

Artist Update: Tim Mahoney

Tim-Mahoney

While The Voice is going full steam ahead, one of BFTV’s very first favorites from the series is moving forward in his career as well. Tim Mahoney – the season one member of Team Adam that Adam Levine infamously thought was a woman when listening to his blind audition – not only has a new album out, but is broadening his teaching career, too. BFTV recently caught up with Tim to get the dish on everything he has going on.

Tim dropped his newest album, Shine Through, earlier this spring following a handful of individual songs, including his playful TV experience-inspired track, “Hey Adam Levine,” which caused a sensation when it debuted. “Post-The Voice, I have come out with a few singles, [but] as far as a new release of original material, it’s the first time since 2007,” he said. “I did want to do it different this time. I wanted to make it feel like we’re all musicians playing together, so we recorded it mostly live in a few days. The only tracks that are not [live] are ‘Hey Adam Levine’ and a track called ‘Truth Can Hurt.’ Not a lot of overdubs; didn’t want to get crazy with that. I didn’t want to make it seem too shiny.”

That’s because Tim has always been a down-to-earth working musician, traveling throughout his native Minnesota playing his gigs and paying his dues. Aside from The Voice and a previous audition for Rock Star: INXS – the series which fellow Minnesotan and season two Voice artist Jordis Unga placed fifth on – he hasn’t attracted the kind of national attention that other artists from reality competition series have.  He’s just quietly continued making solid pop-rock music.

“There’s a track on there called ‘Shadow’ which, it’s a really mellow, dark song, but I do feel it’s one of the best I’ve ever written,” he said. “I was with a girl for a fair amount of time, and we split up, and that song is about her. There’s some really fun stuff. The song on there I kind of just think is fun is called ‘Put A Line There.’ The single’s actually a song called ‘Shine Through,’ which I wrote for a guy who wanted me to write him a song [as] a surprise for his wife, and I ended up liking the song.”

As it’s coming up on two years since the end of Tim’s season of The Voice, does he now officially consider the show part of his past? “I’ve already kind of moved on but people haven’t,” he said. “The show is so big now. I talk about The Voice every single day, and I don’t choose to. I just mean that [it happens], from tweets to somebody mentioning Adam Levine. But hey, if it gets a few more people to a show, who really cares?”

Next month, Tim is turning his reality-show experience into a course to help others who have the same ambition. Entitled “Nailed It: How to Audition for The Voice and Other Vocal Competitions,” the one-day class will be held at Minneapolis’s MacPhail School of Music from 2-4 PM on Sunday, May 5. The cost is $50 and it’s open to hopefuls ages 15 and up. MacPhail voice instructor Andrea Leap will be teaching alongside Tim.

“I had the idea when people were calling and sending me messages asking [about] trying out for The Voice,” he explained. “They would ask, ‘Should I do it?’ One example was Chris Mann from season two. We had a two-hour conversation, and I told him he should try out and stick to his Josh Groban vocal style. He did just that and came in fourth place.”

In his MacPhail class, Tim will cover not only the obvious aspects of reality competition, such as song choice and performance, but also other less-discussed parts, such as the business and legal issues that await should you happen to make it onto TV. Anyone who’s interested in the course can find more information at Tim’s website (timmahoney.com).

While he may not have won The Voice, the longtime working musician has carved out a steady workload for himself. So what will make him consider his career worth it? “I think as you get older, those [things] change a little bit. At least with me they did,” he said. “You start to look at the reality of it. I’ve been living for music for awhile and I’ve done well. I started to realize if you can just touch some people, that’s the success.

“I had a woman who came to me about three months ago and said, ‘I love your music, I wonder if I can get it before it comes out,’ and she said the reason why was ‘Because I probably won’t be alive when the CD comes out.’ She has this extremely rare disease and she was hoping to get my new songs before she died,” he continued. “I went and visited with her. I brought my guitar and an unreleased copy of this new record, played some songs for her. And she still is alive, she didn’t think she would be. But it was kind of surreal. She said that day kind of made part of her life complete. That’s making it.”

Shine Through is now available on iTunes and through other music retailers. For more information on Tim Mahoney, you can visit his official website or follow him on Twitter (@timmahoneymusic).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Excerpts appear at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @bigredchairs.

Artist Interviews: Christian Porter, Jess Kellner, Vedo

The Voice - Season 4

Did you enjoy last week’s premiere of The Voice? After we watched them make the coaches’ chairs turn on Monday, BFTV spoke with several of the incoming artists from the blind auditions, so that you could get to know them a little better. Here are some words from Team Blake’s Christian Porter, Team Usher’s Jess Kellner, and Team Usher’s Vedo.

“The experience is absolutely amazing, very surprising, but I’m very grateful to be where I’m at,” said bar musician Christian, who can be found on Twitter at @porterchristian. “I never expected it to blow up on Twitter and Facebook and social media the way it has. But at the end of the day, I’m very excited.”

He turned heads – and chairs – with a very different arrangement of the hit “Sexy and I Know It,” and he wants Voice fans to know where the idea for that unique rendition came from. “The version was influenced by a YouTube star by the name of Noah Guthrie. And I didn’t necessarily steal it from him in any way, I took his version and I covered his version,” he explained. “I didn’t cover LMFAO’s ‘Sexy and I Know It,’ I covered Noah Guthrie’s version of ‘Sexy and I Know It.’ That’s where the whole concept of the song came from. But I really took it into my hands in a way, really worked with the band, and definitely made it my own.”

To commemorate his making it onto The Voice, Christian got together with his loved ones at the bar where he’s been performing. “We actually had a nice little viewing party,” he said. “All my family and friends and all my extended family at the bar, they all came out and supported me and we all watched it on the big screen.”

For Jess, whose version of ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ earned her a spot on Team Usher, “This experience has far exceeded anything I could have ever even thought up in my head! [It's] so wonderful to have people support me and believe in my dream,” she said. “The last 24 hours have been nuts. Going from 94 twitter friends to over 2000 in a night was just insanity. It’s been wonderful to have people reach out to me and lift me up. And we had a little watch party at my house with some of my closest friends!”

In the video package during her blind audition, she discussed how she’s been balancing her musical aspirations with her hairstyling career, and Jess shed a little more light on just how hard she’s been working to make her dreams come true. “Before The Voice, I worked on average five days a week during the day as a hairdresser, and would have gigs at night throughout the week,” she explained. “It was super tiring to stay out till 3 and wake up [for] work at 7 consecutively!”

You can find Jess on Twitter (@JessicaKellner3), and she also wants to invite Voice fans to check out the website of her band, Jess and the Echoes (jechomusic.com). “I have a single out on my website called ‘Time Traveler Song.’ It relates to my story on The Voice and paints a picture of the struggles I’ve been through,” she said. “It’s a very lovely song and it’s near and dear to my heart.”

What’s going to make Jess feel her time on The Voice has been a success? “I consider this whole experience a success in itself,” she continued. “Just making it to the top 48 out of 60,000 people is an enormous accomplishment. I’m proud [to get] this far and will continue to try and succeed even further.”

Joining her on Team Usher is Vedo, whose take on Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” impressed the man credited with discovering Bieber. “My experience on The Voice so far [is] much more than I envisioned. It has been very overwhelming but in a good way,” he said. “When a snippet of my blind audition aired, my Twitter mentions [and] Facebook notifications were being flooded, along with all the calls and texts I was receiving at one time. I loved it.”

“My last 24 hours since the premiere have been wonderful,” explained the R&B singer, who is on Twitter at @VedoTheSinger and also has videos on YouTube under the same username. “Several people have already recognized me from the show. Usher mentioned and followed me on Twitter. Christina Millan sub-tweeted me! My Twitter went up 4,000-plus followers in a matter of 24 hours, Facebook likes went up dramatically, and my Instagram likes as well. So I’ve been a celeb for the last 24 hours. “

Vedo’s biggest supporter is his mother, whom he spoke quite a bit about during blind auditions, and he shared with us some of the lessons he’s learned from her. “My mother has been a major inspiration for me, and some of the most valuable things she has taught me are [to] keep God first, do right by people, never give up, go after your dream and stop at nothing. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something.”

So what does he hope to learn while being mentored Usher? “A few things I want to learn from my coach [are] how to stay relevant when the industry changes so much, how to stand out, how to convey emotion no matter what kind of song you sing,” he said, “and what is it going take to win the competition?”

Find out who else will join Christian, Jess and Vedo as The Voice continues its blind auditions tonight and Tuesday at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.

For more on The Voice and its artists, you can visit BFTV’s dedicated The Voice blog, Big Red Chairs.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Excerpts appear at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @bigredchairs.