Artist Update: Pip

The Voice - Season 2

Pip was one of my favorite artists from season two of The Voice, and he’s been one of my good friends ever since. So I’m excited to report that he has a lot of interesting stuff going on – he’s signed a distribution deal with a company that’s tied to Universal Music Group (the record label behind the show, remember) and just came off a few shows on The Voice Tour. Click on over to Examiner for the latest from Pip!

Click here to read my interview with Pip at Examiner.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Caroline Glaser Song Premiere

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I’ve teamed with my friend Caroline Glaser from The Voice season four to premiere one of the songs from her forthcoming six-track EP, Better Days Vol. 2, which arrives in September. You can click over to Starpulse to listen to the new track from Caroline, and I also asked her what we can expect from the record and about her touring schedule, which is wrapping up this week with several California shows opening for Us The Duo.

Click here to read my interview with Caroline Glaser and check out the exclusive premiere from her new EP at Starpulse.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Photo Credit: Chris Bauer

‘The Voice Tour’ Review

The Voice Tour

I had the opportunity to check out the new iteration of The Voice Tour in San Diego last week at one of its final stops, and now I can weigh in with my verdict. Was it as good as the first tour? Does it have what it takes to last more than one round? I weigh in on those issues, and spotlight some of the best performances, in my review at Examiner.  (It does not include  reference to when Will Champlin and Jake Worthington made me sing Taylor Swift. Sorry, America.)

Click here to read my The Voice Tour review at Examiner.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Photo Credit: Melissa Borgmeyer for BFTV

Will Champlin Previews ‘The Voice Tour’

The Voice

I’ve been a fan of Will Champlin ever since his blind audition on The Voice, so I was thrilled to catch up with him to help promote The Voice Tour, which stops in my hometown of San Diego on Sunday. (And yes, I will be at the show.) Click on over to Examiner as Will gave me some hints about the tour and some tidbits about his new album, Borrowing Trouble.

Click here to read my interview with Will Champlin at Examiner.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Tessanne Chin’s Album Is Out

TessanneChin

Republic Records has finally released Tessanne Chin’s post-Season 5 album, Count On Your Love – though as far as I can tell, they didn’t formally announce it, nor make it available for anything other than digital download. Thankfully, I had it pre-ordered from iTunes, so I gave it a listen and prepared a review. Did the album stand up? Will it hopefully be successful the way someone from this show deserves to be?

Click here to read my review of Count On My Love at Examiner.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

News Roundup: June 2, 2014

The Voice

It’s only been about two weeks since Josh Kaufman was named champ of The Voice Season 6, but the show’s coaches and alumni are already making offseason moves. We’ve compiled the notable happenings for you below in this first June edition of our The Voice news roundup.

Adam Levine’s Feature Film Debut Is Almost Here

We’re just a few weeks away from seeing coach Adam Levine make his acting debut. Begin Again, in which Adam plays musician Dave Kohl, has its limited release Friday, June 27 and then expands everywhere on July 11.

The cast also includes Keira Knightley as Dave’s jilted girlfriend, Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers) as a music producer, and coach Cee Lo Green as…well, he seems pretty much like a fictionalized version of Cee Lo Green.

You can check out the new trailer for Begin Again below. It includes Adam singing a new track, “Lost Stars,” which we assume will be included on the movie soundtrack that Adam’s own 222 Records is releasing at the beginning of July. You can pre-order your copy now.

Jake Barker Has A New EP

Fresh off being spontaneously added to The Voice Tour, Season 6 alumni Jake Barker – pictured at the top of this article, and probably best known for taking on Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved” before being eliminated in the first round of playoffs – has released a new EP. You can download the four-song Stage Fright on iTunes now.

James Wolpert’s Kickstarter Comes To An End

Team Adam’s James Wolpert was one step shy of making it to the Season 5 finals; he’s been working hard to parlay his exposure into the funds needed to release new music. James’s Kickstarter is almost over, but you still have time to donate and help him reach his goal.

As of Sunday night, when we went to press, James was less than $3,000 shy of his $25,000 target. His campaign ends tomorrow, June 3, just before 9 PM PST. To get more information or to donate, go directly to his Kickstarter page (kickstarter.com/projects/584074878/james-wolpert-makes-a-record).

Casey Weston’s Recent Music Video

Season 1 semifinalist Casey Weston recently dropped a new music video, “Back To The Start.” Take a look at it below.

New Tour Dates For Tony Lucca

One of the busiest alumni is Season 2 finalist Tony Lucca, who’s almost always on the road somewhere. This summer, he’s touring with both Tyler Hilton and Tonic’s Emerson Hart.

Tony and Tyler take to the road beginning July 8 in Louisville, KY and they wrap up July 22 in Nashville, TN. Then in August, Tony jets over to the West Coast to join Emerson for a short stint that runs from August 2 in Phoenix, AZ to August 9 in Seattle, WA. For all the tour dates and locations, hit up his website (tonylucca.com).

If you’re on either coast, these are great opportunities to check Tony out live – we’ve been to several of his shows, and he never, ever disappoints.

Blake Shelton Has A Pizza

You’ve probably seen the billion commercials for this, but it’s just too amusing not to mention. Blake Shelton has teamed up with Pizza Hut, and they’ve given him his own “Blake’s Smokehouse BBQ” pizza – which consists of bacon, ham, and pork covered with honey barbeque sauce. We think it should’ve come with a special latte.

The Voice season 7 will begin airing on NBC this fall; The Voice Tour launches in San Antonio, Texas later this month. For more updates on artists after the show, visit our sister site Big Red Chairs (bigredchairs.com) and follow it on Twitter (@bigredchairs).

(c)2014 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.

News Roundup: May 14, 2014

The Voice

Just in time to promote their new singles – and the recently announced The Voice tour – the three finalists from Season 5 of the hit NBC show came back to its stage this week. BFTV caught up with Jacquie Lee and Will Champlin on Monday, and we’ve included the video of their performances as well as that of Season 5 winner Tessanne Chin in case you missed them. The songs are available on iTunes as well.

Jacquie spoke with us about being reunited with Tessanne and Will for the tour, which begins next month in San Antonio, Texas. “I’ve seen Tess and Will since [the end of Season 5],” she said, “and then I met Dia for the first time the other day…Dia is amazing. We’re both nerds. We get along really well and we’re going to have so much fun on tour. She’s already like a big sister kind of figure.”

About her new single, “It’s my first song that I’m ever releasing,” she told us. “We’ve been working hard on it…I worked my butt off after The Voice, and I’m coming back as a new artist, away from the show as my own person, so it’s a really cool feeling…I’m really honored to be singing it on The Voice stage where it all started.”

What’s been the coolest thing that’s happened to Jacquie since The Voice? “Ed [Sheeran]. Ed followed me on Twitter,” she laughed, but then teased, “I have some exciting news – just keep an ear open. You should just be hearing a lot from me really soon.”

Here’s Jacquie performing “Broken Ones,” which amusingly is just one word off the title of Dia Frampton’s first post-show single, that was called “The Broken Ones.”

Will Champlin was the third-place finisher in Season 5, and we asked him if there’s any one Season 6 artist that he would like to see take home the title – and therefore a guaranteed place alongside him on tour. “I don’t know. It’s hard to say and hard to speculate at this point,” he said. “It’s anybody’s game. I think they’re all talented and I know what it’s like to be in their position.”

Has his career after The Voice gotten the boost he hoped it would? “Yeah,” he told us. “I just know that it set me into a state of priority to work on the music that’s going to work for me as an artist. I’ve been just putting my nose to the grinder in the studio and trying to get this album done before the tour comes out and just try to drive it home.”

Will released his first single “Last Man Standing” a few months ago, and “Eye of the Pyramid” is setting a benchmark for him, too. “it’s going to radio without a label,” he told us, “which is another very cool thing.” That’s extremely cool, although we hope somebody wises up and signs this tremendously talented artist soon.

Here’s Will performing “Eye of the Pyramid.”

Tessanne was unavailable to join us for an interview, but here’s her performance of “Everything Reminds Me Of You.” According to her comments on Tuesday night, her post-Voice album will be available in June.

Thanks to the results of Tuesday night’s semifinal eliminations show, we now know that The Voice Tour will include Tessanne, Jacquie, Will, Season 1’s Dia Frampton, and Season 6’s Christina Grimmie, Josh Kaufman and Jake Worthington.

The seventh and final spot will go to one artist also from Season 6 – either Audra McLaughlin (Team Blake), Delvin Choice (Team Adam), Kat Perkins (Team Adam), Kristin Merlin (Team Shakira) or Sisaundra Lewis (Team Blake) – who receives the most Twitter votes. You can vote at the tour website (nbcthevoicetour.com/pick). Tickets for the tour are on sale now through Ticketmaster, so don’t wait!

In other news that you didn’t see televised on Tuesday, Team Adam has been busy. Fresh off his successful Kickstarter, Season 2’s Tony Lucca will be playing select West Coast tour dates this fall with Tonic’s Emerson Hart, including Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles; you can find more information at his website (tonylucca.com).

Season 1’s Casey Weston also released a new music video, “Back To The Start,” which we’ve included below for you to watch.

And if you’ve missed any of our recent The Voice alumni interviews, we’ve included some links to the last couple of them here: Nicole Nelson (Season 3), Nicholas David (Season 3), Caroline Glaser (Season 4), Kat Robichaud (Season 5).

The Voice finishes Season 6 this week and Season 7 will begin this fall.

(c)2014 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.

5 Soundbites From The Top 10

The Voice

The Voice had a wild Monday night as the Top 10 performed hoping to reach the Top 8, while there were celebrity guests at hand and the coaches got into some shenanigans off-stage. Here are some of the interesting and amusing soundbites from the artists, as well as Shakira’s insight into getting her team back on the right track after a difficult first week of live playoffs, and Usher’s important advice to singers.

01) Delvin Choice didn’t know who Graham Nash was prior to rehearsal. Each of the coaches was permitted to bring in a new advisor, and Adam Levine chose Graham Nash, of the legendary trio Crosby Stills and Nash. But Team Adam’s Delvin didn’t know he was in the presence of a rock superstar until he looked Nash up online. “Once I realized who he was, I knew his name by the end of the night,” he quipped, going on to say, “He had a lot of great things to say. A lot of words of wisdom. He’s a legend. He can tell you how to rewrite your ABC’s and you’ll go back.”

02) Some people double-checked their microphones this week. After the snafu that caused half of Kristen Merlin’s performance to go unheard last Monday, there was some extra precaution when it came to making sure the equipment worked. “I think I checked it twice,” said Delvin. “During rehearsal, I think I checked it three times, because it really wasn’t on.”

The one singer who wasn’t fazed was the person the glitch actually happened to. Kristen told us, “I was just throwing it in their hands and hoping for the best.”

03) Shakira was very careful about picking the right guest mentor. With Team Shakira already down an artist, the Latin superstar brought in producer Busbee – who worked on her recent self-titled album Shakira as well as with Christina Aguilera and Season 1 runner-up Dia Frampton – to help them rebound. She told us why she thought he was the best choice for her duo.

“He’s an amazing producer with a great resume; he’s worked with Pink and Rascal Flatts and Lady Antebellum and me and Blake. So I thought that his opinion would be very valuable,” she said. “He’s very smart and very direct as well. And I needed that. I needed someone who would not beat around the bushes but deliver straight advice to my contestants. And he did. He did amazingly well.”

04) The artists don’t think that they’re as good as you think they are. We asked two frontrunners, Team Blake’s Sisaundra Lewis and Team Adam’s Christina Grimmie, if they feel like they’re at the top of the competition. They don’t. “I appreciate all the positive comments and everything, but there’s so much amazing talent on the show that there’s no way I would take it for granted that ‘Oh, God, you got this.’ No,” said Sisaundra. “Every single day I live in the moment and just try to practice and present excellence.”

“Tere are nine other incredible artists here and I would be foolish to think that I’m a solo frontrunner. That’s just a very arrogant way of going about it,” concurred Christina. “Everyone here is incredibly talented and any one of us could be going home at any time. I just keep telling myself, just work hard. Just do your thing.”

05) Usher’s tips for balancing everyone else’s opinions. How do you balance your opinions as an artist with those of your coach, your guest mentor of the week, and the social media feedback from America? Usher gave us his thoughts on keeping it all straight. “You know what you do?” he told us. “You go out there and you realize there’s no right or wrong. There’s just the hard work that you put in. Everyone’s going to have an opinion. Do your best, and walk away from it knowing that you gave it your all. That’s the one thing that I tell each and every person about life, period. Someone’s going to have an opinion, whether it’s art, whether it’s a conversation, whatever it may be… But you have to honestly be connected to what you’re doing.”

The Voice narrows down its Top 10 to the Top 8 tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.

(c)2014 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: Nicole Nelson

Dwight and Nicole

We all fell in love with Nicole Nelson when she was part of Team Adam in season 3 of NBC’s The Voice, but as with all the artists on that series, that’s just one part of her story. Nicole and her partner Dwight Ritcher just released their album Shine On last week, and she was kind enough to sit down with BFTV to discuss the record and how the Dwight & Nicole sound compares to what we heard on The Voice.

“I don’t think there’s any difference at all,” she told us. “I don’t know how to be anything other than myself, one hundred percent. My aim is always to be myself and always a better version of myself. I’ve grown from what I’ve learned from the show, and from meeting and meshing with so many incredible people.”

Nicole turned all four coaches’ chairs during her blind audition with her cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which is also one of the tracks that appears on Shine On. We asked her if including the song that introduced her to American TV audiences was a coincidence or on purpose. “It was a conscious decision. I always wanted to record that song and I would have either way,” she explained. “For me, singing a 60 second version on the show to a pre-recorded track, it was a great opportunity. The song actually became a hit on iTunes.

“But I just sort of felt that song, it needs to be alive and be breathing and I wanted to record it with my group. We just did it live, we did two takes and just took our favorite version, which was the second take. There’s a magic in the live thing that’s different from singing to a track that somebody recorded a week earlier. It can breathe and it has our own stamp on it. I was able to relax and let the feeling. It had that energy to it and that’s what we want it.”

You can actually hear the difference in Dwight & Nicole’s version of “Hallelujah,” which we’ve included below so you can check it out for yourself.

So what about the rest of the record? What can those audiences, who may not have looked past the TV show, expect from hearing Dwight & Nicole? “What I love about the album is that it touches on multiple layers of feeling and expression,” Nicole said. “What I feel like has happened in popular music is that things get boiled down and fine-tuned in order to sell them easily to a market. Which makes sense as a business. But what I miss about old records that I love is that they dive deeper than that and tell a 360 degree story. All of these inflections of personality come through.”

The duo is now playing several live shows on the East Coast in support of the record (all of which you can find information about on their website), and Nicole told us she’s looking forward to more. “Absolutely look for touring,” she said. “We’re talking with a few different booking agencies.”

Is there anyone she’d love to share the stage with? “Bonnie Raitt has always been a dream of mine. That’s something I would love to do.”

Of course, appearing on The Voice has raised her profile. “It absolutely still resonates,” Nicole told us. “I think one of the reasons why is because it was actually just over a year ago since they started doubling up seasons. It was like a year and a half ago that I was on the show.”

But that’s just one component to Nicole Nelson as an artist, and to the Dwight & Nicole story. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Dr. Maya Angelou, B.B. King, Norah Jones, and The Avett Brothers. They’ve played Fenway Park and Symphony Hall. Like many artists who’ve appeared on The Voice, they had many things to be proud of before reality TV became part of their lives, and now with Shine On, they have plenty to be proud of after. For Nicole’s part, she has absolutely no regrets.

“The path that I’ve been on is exactly the right one for me,” Nicole reflected. “[The Voice] was an absolute perfect experience. And when it was time to go home, I left graciously. And I’m making music with the man that I love. I’m just so lucky.”

Shine On is available now on iTunes; for more on Dwight & Nicole, be sure to visit their website (dwightandnicole.com) and follow them on Twitter (@dwightandnicole). You can also follow Nicole herself on Twitter (@nicolenelsong).

(c)2014 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.

Tony Lucca Returns With ‘Drawing Board’ EP

Drawing Board EDIT

Less than a year after making a splash with his With The Whole World Watching EP, Tony Lucca is back with a new acoustic record, Drawing Board.

The five-song EP features the title track as well as the songs “All My Friends,” “Nashville,” “Los Angeles (In The Rear View)” and “My Love.” For those of you who somehow still haven’t heard him outside of Season 2 of The Voice, the album is typical Tony Lucca material: soulful, simple music that’s honest and without an ounce of pretention. Especially when listened to in conjunction with Whole World WatchingDrawing Board gives a sense of how much a true craftsman Lucca is. He puts together beautiful, meaningful music with just a guitar, hard work, and a whole lot of heart.

The record is reminiscent of Lucca’s Voice colleague and one-time tour partner Justin Hopkins’ 2012 acoustic release This Could Happen Anywhere, in that the decision to go acoustic allows the listener to even better appreciate the purity of Lucca’s vocals. Always perfectly understandable and heartfelt, he’s got one of the best voices in the music business.

Lucca is currently on the road playing select dates with Honor by August, and remains at work on a full-length album that will be his first release under his deal with Voice coach Adam Levine’s 222 Records. Last fall, he co-headlined the ‘Keys, Strings and Band of Kings’ tour with Brendan James, and also performed at halftime during the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day game in his native Detroit. We checked in with him during a West Coast tour stop in October; that interview can be found here.

You can download Drawing Board now on iTunes. For more on Tony Lucca, visit his website (tonylucca.com) and follow him on Twitter (@luccadoes).

(c)2014 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.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of JLS