Artist Update: Todd Kessler

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One of the artists who definitely got away on The Voice was Team Cee Lo’s Todd Kessler from season three. Thankfully, Todd and his band The New Folk have stayed busy, and with their newest single out via Bandcamp I got to sit down with Todd last week and catch up with him. Click on over to my The Voice Examiner page to read the interview.

Click here to read my interview with Todd Kessler 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: Cory DeWald/Courtesy of Novo PR

Cee Lo Green Leaving ‘The Voice’

The Voice - Season 5

Cee Lo Green is leaving The Voice again – permanently this time. I give the facts of the situation and a quick look back at his coaching record on the show at Fan Voice. (Forgive the lack of length; why is it every time he announces he’s going somewhere, I’m on vacation? Trufax.)

What do you think of the news? Surprised or not surprised? And who do you think should fill Cee Lo’s chair? Should NBC try to retain Usher for back-to-back seasons like Blake and Adam, or look for a new coach, and if so, who would you suggest?

Artist Update: Kat Robichaud

Kat Robichaud

Kat Robichaud impressed us during Season 5 of The Voice with both her hard rocking on stage and her straight talk off of it. BFTV spoke to Kat on Monday about her Kickstarter campaign for a post-show album, and what she really wanted to say about her time on the show.

“The pacing of life is so different,” she said of transitioning out of reality TV. “When you’re on the show, you’re constantly busy. There’s constantly something to look forward to. Then you get eliminated, and you go home, and everything is going just as it should go. But it’s not as fast-paced as the show, so you feel like nothing’s happening, even though it is.”

For Kat, life after The Voice is working out well. “It’s been great,” she enthused. She’s gained a manager, gotten to perform with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer (one of her influences), and is finding herself very much in demand. “People are asking me to play benefit concerts, which is awesome. This past weekend I was involved with a benefit that raises money for children with learning disabilities,” she told us. “I’m recording the new album at an amazing state of the art studio in North Carolina and they asked me to come there.”

As for post-show celebrity, “I didn’t really want that to begin with,” she explained. “I do get recognized when I go out. It’s nice. But that’s not why I did the show. I wanted to network. I wanted to build a portfolio for myself outside of my band that had broken up.”

The album following The Voice is a hurdle that every alumnus ultimately has to clear; we’re all waiting and listening to see if a contestant’s original music will capture us the way their covers did on the show. In Kat’s case, she has a specific vision of what we’ll hear; it’s “very piano-driven rock and roll,” influenced by the likes of Palmer, David Bowie and Electric Light Orchestra. And like many others before her, she’s turned to Kickstarter to make it possible.

“The incentives are really cool,” she said. “One of the packages includes a print that I made of an illustration of the Tenth Doctor [from Doctor Who]; it’s his face and it’s completely made out of roses. There’s a lot of other really cool stuff you can do. I’ll write a song for you. There’s a package on there where I’ll actually come out and play a house party for you.

“Because it’s all fan-funded, I can offer things for a lot less money. You can get the digital download of the album for two dollars,” she continued. “Ten dollars gets you a deluxe digital download. Twenty dollars will get you a signed hard copy of the album. Every cent goes toward the album, and it goes toward making the album and getting things right back into your hands. We want to raise as much as we possibly can, because we want to make this album the best it can possibly be.”

While she’s working on her new record, Kat is still in touch with many of the friends she made from the show. “I just talked to Nic [Hawk]. Nic and I are staying close,” she said. “I talk to Caroline [Pennell] every now and then, Keaira LaShae, I actually just emailed Barry [Black] to see if he would want to get together on something for the Vegas show that I’m doing. Tessanne [Chin] has teased saying that she would invite everybody to Jamaica for a reunion. I text with Cee Lo [Green] every now and then.”

Which leads us to perhaps the biggest thing you don’t know about Kat Robichaud. Always one of her season’s most approachable artists, she’s been slightly misjudged since her departure, and she wants to set the record straight – she has nothing but good things to say about her time on The Voice.

“I’m so excited to move forward with my career, and I certainly don’t want to get typecast [as] ‘Kat from The Voice‘. I want to push past that and be known as Kat Robichaud, like Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson,” she said. “But that’s not to say that I’m ever going to forget what The Voice did for me.

“Every single person that works on that show, they have very big hearts and they were very good to me. I never felt like a number when I was on the show. I always felt like I mattered, even when I was eliminated. They took care of me and they made me feel special,” she reflected. “I will always love and support that show and the people who are on it. I loved every second of it.” We loved having her, and we’re excited to hear what she does next.

You can donate to Kat’s Kickstarter until March 5 by visiting her campaign page ( You can also follow her on Twitter (@katrowbeeshow) and Facebook (

The Voice returns to NBC on Monday, February 24; for more on the show and all of its past artists, you can visit our sister site ( and follow us 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.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kat Robichaud

Artist Update: Nicholas David

Nicholas David

As The Voice gears up for another season, it’s time for us to fill you in on what some of the show’s great artists are up to now. Season 3 finalist Nicholas David has kept pretty busy since being a member of Team Cee Lo, and BFTV snagged some time with him recently to chat about the success of his Say Goodbye EP and the charity work that this awesomely down-to-earth performer has been doing abroad.

Nicholas has racked up plenty of travel miles since the June release of his EP, touring with the Avett Brothers on the West Coast, then visiting the East Coast and Texas. With successful shows behind him, he’s now focused on making even more new music. “We’ve been doing some recording in Los Angeles and Minnesota,” he told us. “When I got back from Mexico, I had my heart just blown wide open by working down there with the kids, and I was just so inspired I just started writing all this music. I came back and I couldn’t not write.”

The work to which he’s referring is the time he spent in Mexico with the Smile Network, a nonprofit organization that organizes groups to travel to third world countries to help those with cleft lips and palates. Nicholas pitched in by doing everything from visiting the homes of these folks in need, to literally carrying children in to surgery.

“It was a huge dose of perspective,” he reflected. “I was down there for like a week with some of the world’s finest surgeons and pediatricians and nursing assistants. And I’m down there like, ‘What am I doing down here?’ But then also I heard spirits like, ‘You’re down here to be yourself and by being you that’s enough.’ I’d play music to the different villagers that were waiting in the hallway. I was playing music for the kids.

“We got to go to one of the villages,” he continued, “and it was crazy. This guy, he has two kids and he makes seven dollars a week. To see that, but then to see in their eyes true happiness, and to hear the translators say they have everything because they have each other, that’s the real treasure. I walked away from that like a new man.”

In addition to working with Smile Network – he’s since been asked to be an ambassador for the organization – Nicholas is also involved with another charitable group, Blessings In A Backpack. Devoting time to helping others is important to him, and that’s no surprise when we’re talking about one of the most humble and kind people ever to have been on the Voice stage. In everything he does, he just radiates warmth and goodwill, and he’s someone that we’re proud to count as part of the show’s family.

Of course, there’s still professional work to be done, too. “I’d like to [tour] the Southeast, and I know we’re slotted to go to the South by Southwest Festival in Texas,” said Nicholas, who also performed at the historic Metrodome prior to its closing. “I’d like to try and get overseas. I’d also like to try to be in a Disney movie.”

And even with everything he’s doing in the world, with making music and playing shows and doing good deeds for the less fortunate, he’s still putting his family first. “With as busy as this has been, I’m trying to spend a lot of time with my kids,” he told us. “We’re playing a lot of Legos.”

You can download Nicholas’s EP on iTunes, visit his official website (, which contains his personal blog, and follow him on Twitter (@thefeelin).

The Voice returns to NBC on Monday, February 24; for more on the show and all of its past artists, you can visit our sister site ( and follow us 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.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Michael J Media

Artist Update: Nicholas David

The Voice - Season 4

Nicholas David is coming back to Los Angeles. The singer-songwriter, who captured America’s attention as the third-place finisher in Season 3 of NBC’s The Voice, has been on a roll ever since his time on the series ended. He’s released an EP (produced by Voice bandleader Paul Mirkovich), toured steadily, and even returned to the hit reality show’s stage for an encore performance. BFTV caught up with Nicholas on Monday to preview tonight’s gig at the El Rey Theater, and look forward to the future.

Fans who come to the show can expect “a lot of new material,” Nicholas told us. “We’re getting ready to work on a new album. [There are] some of the things from the EP. [Also] touching on some of the stuff from The Voice. We pay tribute to that – but we add a little spice on some of those songs.”

He’ll be supported by his own band, The Feelin. “I’m so excited to bring them out here,” he gushed. “I’m super-excited to be back, back in California, back in LA, back in Hollywood. But it’s fun to be back with my band. This is a dream come true not only for myself but for a lot of them too.” Fellow Voice alum Mackenzie Bourg (who, like Nicholas, was part of Team Cee Lo Green in Season 3) and Amber Rubarth will also be joining him on the bill.

The performance at the El Rey is just step one for Nicholas, with the announcement coming earlier this week that he would be joining The Avett Brothers on tour from October 4 through October 20. He’s also still enjoying the positive reception to his EP, Say Goodbye, which arrived in June. “How the majority of people got to know me was kind of like soul music. So putting out some of the more folky stuff, I didn’t know how people were going to take it,” he said. “It’s been really good. A lot of people have been commenting on it. It’s really cool just to see that people are responding to it in a positive way.”

Yet while he appreciates his present situation, he’s wasting no time looking towards his future. “I’m already kind of on to the next music project. I love recording and I love that process and I love creating. I like to say the tunes, they’re born and then they age,” he explained. “We’re actually doing some recording with the band while the band’s out in Hollywood. Recording some new material and getting that ready to go for the new record. We’re working up some stuff for September, but it’s not solidified yet.”

Here is Nicholas performing the title track from his EP in June.

The buzz has multiplied since Nicholas’s time on The Voice last fall, during which he surprised America by making it all the way to the finals, behind only Terry McDermott and eventual winner Cassadee Pope. Looking back on the experience, “I didn’t really have any expectations going into it, because I never really knew what to expect from it,” he told us. “I really didn’t know how to take it. It was a total leap of faith. I remember before the chairs turned [during his blind audition], I was like ‘If the chairs turn, awesome. If they don’t, awesome.’

“It just kept going [and] I just kept that open mentality. It was more an opportunity which turned into an adventure,” he continued. “People still recognize [me] and say thank you, and say they loved it and this and that. It’s cool to get recognized and I love that stuff. Without any of that. I wouldn’t be going on these adventures.”

“I give back as much as I can. I believe we’ve all been given gifts and we’ve got to use them,” Nicholas added. “What’s really important is that these people, [I’m] touching their hearts. Sometimes they have tears in their eyes when they speak about it. I definitely say I’m enjoying the ride.”

Nicholas David performs at the El Rey Theater tonight, August 14; you can purchase tickets here. You can also find out more about Nicholas by visiting his official website ( and following him on Twitter (@thefeelin). His new EP, Say Goodbye, is available on iTunes by clicking here.

(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: Angie Johnson

Angie Johnson

Angie Johnson found national fame when the producers of The Voice saw a video of her performing Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” and invited her to audition for the hit NBC show’s second season. Since becoming a member of Team Cee Lo, Angie’s careers – both in music and the United States military – are now going stronger than ever.

She’s signed with Sony Music, released her new EP Sing For You, has performed at CMA Fest, and in Ohio she’ll get to open for country superstar Martina McBride. At the same time, Angie continues to serve her country. Big Red Chairs caught up with her during a recent rehearsal to chat with Angie about how The Voice affected her life and career, how she broke out afterward, and what’s ahead of her.

Angie’s rise began not long after leaving The Voice during the battle rounds. “I was more than halfway through my Kickstarter campaign and I think we were pretty close to raising everything that we needed,” she explained. “I got this phone call. My manager was like ‘We have this appointment with [Sony Music Nashville chairman and CEO] Gary Overton. He wants to meet you.’ I don’t really even know how he got my name. Once we had the meeting, he was like ‘I’ve seen your video. I’ve seen you all over YouTube. I’ve seen your Voice performances.’ He said ‘Just kind of tell me what you’re doing.’ And I told him.”

So on March 19, Kickstarter backers received a letter from Overton, not only announcing that Angie had signed a recording contract with Sony, but also explaining that her fans were going to remain a crucial part of the process. That was something she was adamant about. “It ended up being a really great marriage between me and my Kickstarter fans and the record label,” Angie continued. Sony even sent out an exclusive poster to all her backers, with their names on it as a thank-you for their support.

The four-song Sing For You shows a variety of different sides, and it’s hard for Angie to pick a favorite even from that limited number of tracks. “I’m biased because I co-wrote two of the songs on there,” she laughed. “I love ‘Sing For You’ and I love ‘Swagger.’ One is very solumn and it’s very raw – and the next one is nothing but a party dance song!”

With the EP out, Angie – who now resides in Nashville and says she’s “always been a country singer” even if she was singing Pat Benatar on national TV –  is now focused on hitting the road for live performances, although she added that a full album is in the works. Aside from CMA Fest, “I’m going to be all over the place. I’m going to be in [Washington] DC doing some shows for military events,” she said. “I’ve got a show in Ohio coming up. I’m opening up for Martina McBride.” That’s July 26 at the Ohio State Fair; for a list of all Angie’s upcoming tour dates, click here.

She’s already accomplished some pretty great things, and has some others on her radar for the future. “I sang at the White House last year, which wasn’t something I ever saw on my radar, but was such an incredible experience,” she told us. “I’ve also performed at The Grand Ole Opry twice now – it’s the most incredible place, magical even, with how many of the greats in music who have performed there. That’s probably my one big long term goal – I want to be invited to become a member of The Grand Ole Opry.  I used to watch Grand Ole Opry Live on The Nashville Network with my Dad when I was growing up and it’s been a dream of mine to be a member ever since.

“My short term goals are two-fold at the moment.  I really want to get back overseas to do a USO show for deployed troops.  I’ve gone over every couple of years since I joined the Air Force so I’m due for another trip to the Middle East.  The other thing I can’t wait for is to hear one of my songs on the radio for the first time.  I will totally freak out and probably cry!”

“My whole career has pretty much been spur of the moment,” Angie continued. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen. Nobody knew The Voice was going to happen. No one figured I’d be eliminated so quickly. And I didn’t think I was going to get a record.”

Although her reality TV experience is now two seasons old, she hasn’t forgotten it and it hasn’t forgotten her, either. “It’s actually been really awesome,” she said of post-show life. “When people come talk to me during meet and greets after shows, some will say ‘I loved you on The Voice.’  Then they promptly express how they felt when I got eliminated.  I just tell them that everything worked out the way it was supposed to and that my career is in a great place regardless.  On the other hand, I think the fact that I was on the show for such a short period of time makes a lot of people forget that I was even on it. That has probably helped me avoid any ‘reality show’ labels.”

What about how the journey has been for her personally? She explained, “It’s not really what I’ve learned about myself as much as what I’ve learned about God.  I had this burning desire to do music at a very young age, like six or seven years old.  I really believe that desire was planted by God. And I tried and tried to accomplish what I considered success with no luck at all.  I got discouraged and inevitably gave up on believing that God put that passion inside me for a reason.

“And what I learned through all of this is that He has a plan, and it’s starts before you’re born. I believe His will for your life aligns with what you’re passionate about and that you should never give that up.  But even if you do, sometimes He’ll use viral YouTube videos, Carson Daly and reality TV shows to yank you back into doing what you’re supposed to do.”

Now, through faith, hard work and YouTube, Angie has the career many reality hopefuls aspire to – a major-label record deal, new music being released and a busy performance schedule. Yet even as she achieves her dreams, she’s still the same Angie Johnson we got to know and fall in love with on The Voice. “I’m still in the National Guard. I still serve one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer,” she said.

And she’s still cheering on her fellow Voice alums, saying that she can’t wait to hear from “my awesome pal Chris Cauley, who sang against Tony [Lucca] in the battle rounds. He just had his Kickstarter campaign successfully funded a couple of weeks ago.  I cannot wait to hear the project that he’s been working on. He has amazing vocal ability, so I know the project is going to be great.” She added that she’d be open to returning to the Voice stage herself, if producers were interested in having her back.

Angie’s career is poised to continue growing and growing as she reveals herself to be not only a talented singer, but also someone who audiences can look up to, with her winning personality and strong commitment to public service. Now that she’s found the national spotlight, let’s hope it stays on her for a long time to come.

You can follow Angie’s amazing story by visiting her official website (, following her on Twitter (@AngieJohnson), or checking out her YouTube channel (officialangiejohnson). Sing For You is now available on iTunes.

(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 courtesy of Splash Public Relations

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.