On The Voice, Team Adam has established itself as the team to beat. Before they head into knockout rounds, BFTV caught up with three of Adam’s strong female artists – the phenomenal Sarah Simmons (pictured), surprising Amber Carrington and not-as-yet-unleashed Amy Whitcomb – to get to know them a little bit better.
Sarah told us that her four-chair blind audition “just completely wrecked my soul in a beautiful way. It was deeply humbling, overwhelming, and I know I’m only 23, but it’s been a hard life for me in ways growing up, and [I] just can’t believe this is happening. [I'm] blown away by the one above me opening doors to shine through, and to use all my pains and be able to pour them out through music.”
Her battle with Duncan Kamakana was one of the best in Season 4, and we asked her how the two of them gelled together so well in such a short period of time. “I love my buddy Duncan!” Sarah gushed. “Why we looked so uncomfortable in our band rehearsal is because it was a song that we weren’t used to singing, and also our voices are completely different, and we hadn’t had much time to rehearse it. Also, I believe why we started to gel even more is because our goal together was not to think about the outcome of the battle at all, but to put on an incredible performance and feel every note, every lyric together – [to] escape into the song and display it together.
“We were already by then good buddies, but became real, true friends following that from just being able to hang out here in California, and through practices [and] jam sessions. [I'm] so blessed to know Duncan, he’s a really a great guy, and a good friend,” she continued.
Would she consider recording with Duncan in the future? “Gosh, we would love that actually!” Sarah enthused. “We’ve been talking about doing that sometime after all of this. That’s what is so great about this show, is that not only is it an incredible opportunity, but you meet incredible souls and those friendships just are so appointed in such a beautiful way! [I] can’t wait to make music with a couple people here.”
Another person Sarah has affection for is her coach, Adam Levine. “Adam is such an awesome soul!” she told us. “Seriously, he genuinely cares for us, and wants the best for us. That’s real rare to find in today’s world, especially coming from an accomplished, successful, well-known artist like him. He gives so much time to us, and I am so grateful for that. A couple of my favorite times with Adam are listening to his advice, encouragement, and just being able to be really goofy with him. You would think being around someone well-known would make you feel nervous or something, but I feel completely comfortable like I’m just hanging out with a brother.”
If Sarah were in Adam’s position, who would she push her button for? “Good question!” she replied. “I would turn my chair for Patrick Dodd, Amber Carrington, Garrett Gardner, Karina Iglesias, Shawna P, Brandon Roush and Judith Hill. I love everyone – but man, do those voices I wrote move my soul!”
Amber Carrington shocked The Voice fans when she upset another four-chair artist, Sasha Allen, in the battle rounds. Who is this talented artist and how did she put on such a great performance? She told us how she went from Adam’s last pick to a true contender.
“Going into my blind audition I had no clue how many spots were left,” she explained, “but right after I was chosen by Adam and I walked backstage, one of the producers told me that Adam gave me his last spot on his team and I was totally shocked! I never imagined Adam turning for me at all. He was the last person I thought would turn, actually. He tends to be very picky and like voices that are very unique, and in my eyes I didn’t compare to the people on his team in the past. Come to find out, he really liked what he heard! I really feel like I am right where I am supposed to be and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Even though Amber sees herself as a country artist, she definitely believes that she picked the right coach. “Adam has so much knowledge about so many little things that make what we do work,” she continued. “I don’t think it matters that he is not a country artist because he has helped me in many other ways, such as my confidence and believing in who I am, and not worrying about what everyone else sounds like. He is very into what makes everyone individual and that definitely shows with the artists who are on his very diverse team.
“He has definitely gotten me out of my comfort zone which is something I have needed,” she said. “I think I am really finding who I am while on his team because I am experimenting with songs and genres that I never used to even try. Whereas if I were to be on Blake’s team, as a fellow country artist, I would probably be doing the same songs I have done for years.”
Besides, Adam’s choice of advisor did give Amber a little bit of country: “What I thought was so perfect was when I walked into the room for our piano rehearsal and Hillary Scott was who Adam chose to be our mentor,” she added. “That couldn’t have worked out better for me!”
Her battle matchup did prompt a little bit of doubt, but that didn’t last long. “When I was paired with Sasha, at first I did think that this was Adam’s way of just getting me eliminated because my opponent was everything I was not,” Amber admitted. “I kept trying to keep in mind, though, that Adam paired me with her because he saw something in me that could put up a good fight.
“I worked so hard on our battle song and I really tried to make sure and focus on who I am and not get too intimidated by Sasha’s big voice. My confidence definitely shot up after making it on Adam’s team, and I brought a totally new me to the stage the night of the battles – and it sure paid off!”
“Being paired with Sasha was a huge shocker for me – and actually my whole team. We all thought she would go against another one of the best on our team, Judith,” Amber reflected. “Being paired with Sasha though, win or lose, I don’t think I would have traded it for anything. I learned a lot from her and the whole situation. If you are around people who are worse than you, then you tend to just stay the same that you ar,e but if you are around people who are better than you, then you strive to be more. I was very intimidated by Sasha and her powerhouse voic,e but I also admire her for her strong personality and confidence.
“I feel like being paired with her pushed me to work harder and after I won that battle my mind was going insane!” she said. “I really and truly couldn’t believe it at first, I was just taken over by excitement because I knew that meant I was going on to the next round. Then I walked backstage and realized that I beat Sasha Allen in our battle, and I started to cry because I had worked so hard for this. Confidence is definitely rising throughout the show, because you work so hard for so many hours on just a short cut of a song and you stress yourself out over it all. When it finally pays off and you succeed, it is the best feeling in the world. You become proud of something that you created and you achieved for yourself.”
Now that she’s shown us what she can really do, “I really want to continue on the path that I have started,” Amber told us. “I feel as if I have kept climbing up a ladder with every performance I do. Something the coaches have kept saying is that I surprise them every time I am up on that stage and I don’t intend for that to stop. I want to keep learning new things from Adam and continue to stay out of my comfort zone, because I believe that is where I work best.
“Overall, my one huge goal is to just do songs that mean something to me and have something to say,” she continued. “[To be] connecting with America and speaking to at least one person that needs to either hear my story or the words in a song. I want to inspire others to never look back and to just live and chase after your dreams.”
One of the artists who’s deserved much more screen time than she’s gotten is Amy Whitcomb, who suffered from being montaged both during her blind audition and her battle round. Fans of singing competitions know that Amy was one of the members of all-girl a cappella group Delilah during the last season of NBC’s The Sing-Off. But how did she get from there to performing as a solo artist on The Voice?
“The Sing-Off definitely gave me a lot of contacts and enough exposure to really start branching off and pursuing my solo career,” she said. “I’ve been recording, performing, and teaching voice like crazy in between experiences, all preparing more for this solo opportunity.
“The shows are similar because they’re both reality TV, so I wasn’t blindsided by that aspect,” continued Amy, who said that her Sing-Off experience “definitely” helped her this time around. “I really wasn’t phased by the cameras, the lights, the rush, so I was really able to focus more on improving my voice and my stage presence. But being on stage without a group behind me has been a huge growing experience and has challenged me beyond expectations! It was tough. But I’ve come a long way!”
Fans have complained about artists being montaged numerous times, but how much does it really affect the artists? “My exposure has definitely been less, some of the least among the contestants, but my fans have been paying close attention to my seconds of screen time, supporting me on iTunes and spreading the word!” said Amy. “My fan base keeps growing. Sure, [it] could have been growing at a faster pace if people actually got to hear me sing, but I have to believe that in the long run, this won’t be anything that will hold me back. Plus, there is so much talent on this season and I’m grateful that my fellow artists – and now some of my closest friends – have gotten the screen time they need and deserve.”
What does she want to accomplish with her time on The Voice? “I want to fine-tune my gift and my whole package,” she said. “This experience has been about branding myself, establishing a sure direction, and tweaking what I need to in order to establish a professional status as a solo act.”
Is there anything that she’d be afraid of tackling in the next round? “I’m up for anything,” Amy assured us. “Ballads definitely scare me – it’s tough to sing in that vulnerable place of my voice under the nerves and pressure – but bring it on! I welcome all challenges.”
You can watch Sarah, Amber and Amy continue on as The Voice begins its knockout rounds tonight 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.