If there was a Miss Congeniality in Season 2 of The Voice, it was Team Adam’s Karla Davis. The North Carolina native always had a smile on her face and a sunny disposition. She always had a kind word for everyone (yours truly included), made friends everywhere she went, and took everything in stride up to and including the night she was eliminated from competition. That same positive, can-do attitude has served Karla well as she works on continuing her career after the series.
“It’s the strangest thing to watch the show now,” she said, catching up with me while traveling through Texas after her recent West Coast stops with Pip and Lindsey Pavao. “I always point out something on the TV and I’m like, ‘I was there, I did that.’ It was a really huge thing. At some point in every episode I’ll just get mad at myself. I could’ve done so much better on the show if I’d just relaxed a little bit more.”
“The main thing for me was my nerves,” she explained. “The main thing I got out of the show – other than getting to hang out with Adam Levine, which was awesome – I’m so much more comfortable as a performer now. I’m not nervous now, for any show that I do. I like taking chances now. Looking back at it now, that was my purpose [for] being on the show.”
She had the help of her coach Adam Levine and his Season 2 advisor Alanis Morrissette, who helped Karla create her alter ego ‘Bertha’ just before she squared off against Orlando Napier in the battle rounds. “They were trying to get me to sing a really huge note,” Karla told me. “I didn’t think I was gong to be able to do it and Adam was like, ‘Come on, you’re going to be able to do it.’ I did it, and I was super-excited – I ran around the room, and Adam was just dying laughing. He named the big voice inside of me Bertha. Every shoot we had after that, he always called me Bertha.”
Her coach always had her back, even when it wasn’t on camera. “Right before my first live round, before the music started, Adam was like ‘Karla, you can do this.’ And he said that right before I started singing. He didn’t have to. He was trying to make me believe more in myself.”
Karla was equally supportive of her fellow artists and the other folks around her. You can credit her with alerting me to just how big Big Red Chairs had become: I was under the impression I was writing into a void until Karla met me, recognized my Twitter handle and told me that the artists talked about me. It was my lightbulb moment, and the one that inspired me to make this blog into what you see today. That’s the kind of outgoing, sweet person that she is.
Like many of the artists from Season 2, Karla has been working steadily since the end of her time on the show to get the most out of the national exposure. She was the first artist from the season to release a full album, entitled 360, which arrived in June, and she’s been touring since then. “I was supposed to have a couple weeks off [but] little stuff keeps coming in,” she told me, adding that she’ll be taking a break from being on the road. “For the next month, I want to focus on writing. I have ideas that I want to write about, melodies in my head. I want to start pitching songs; I have a lot of songs that I’ve written lately that I think are worthy of a big artist. We’re trying right now to find the right artist to pitch certain songs to.”
On the show, Karla tackled songs by The Commodores, Bonnie Raitt and B.o.B, and she’s done excellent covers of the Maroon 5 hits “Moves Like Jagger” and “Payphone.” Yet if you listen to 360, it is most definitely a country album. So how does she see herself as an artist? “As a writer, I’m a country writer. I write because I’m from the country. That’s what I know,” she said. “As a singer, I don’t have the traditional country twang, but I don’t know. I still have country roots.
“I love doing covers of all kinds; I don’t like to put myself in a box. If I never have to say a genre, that’s awesome. But there’s definitely nothing wrong with people thinking I’m a country singer.”
Like many of her fellow competitors, Karla formed relationships while competing on The Voice that she still holds dear today, as evidenced by the fact that she’s just come from doing several shows with fellow alumni. “I was not expecting to actually make really, really good friends there and I did. I miss the people probably more than anything,” she confided. “I’m trying to make the most of that exposure while it’s still relevant. I would love for people to just see me live. I want to play live for people. I think it’s a completely different experience when people hear an artist live.” Make sure you check out Karla’s website for her upcoming tour dates.
Looking back on The Voice, what does she think about having been a part of it all? “I loved being on the show. That opportunity won’t come along again in my life. It’s something that you can’t replicate,” she told me. “I sang in Florida a few weeks ago in front of like 25,000 people at Tropicana Field, but it was nothing close to the feeling [of being on the Voice stage].”
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Exclusive to Big Red Chairs. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.