Chloe Kohanski – The Voice
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) I saw the interview you did right after the show last night where you said the first thing you want to do is start working on an album. I was wondering if you could share a little bit more about your vision for that album and the sound you’ll be going for.
Chloe Kohanski: Well, I think it’s pretty clear. I’ve stayed true to the path that I started the show on and I just want to make music that kind of stands the test of time. I want to bring classic rock back into pop culture. So I want to kind of blend the older, timeless sound with some modern influences as well and, you know, really just kind of do my take on the sounds that I have been covering. It’s one thing to cover other people’s songs that are already so brilliant, but to actually be able to create and write songs like that is the true proof of an artist. So I’m excited to just start dreaming it up and working on it.
Q) Yes. And have you already written some songs for a potential project or do you have some friends maybe back in Nashville you’re hoping to work with on a project?
Chloe Kohanski: I mean yes, I definitely have songs and I definitely have people that I’d love to work with. I’m not really sure what the plan is moving forward with the record. I haven’t even had the meeting yet. So I’m sure it’s going to be great. I’m sure it’s going to involve a lot of different people and, you know, hopefully a lot of different influences. So I think whatever happens is going to be an amazing record, which I’m going to try really hard to make sure I actually get the record, you know? I want to make a record. That’s what I want. That’s why I’m doing this.
Q) I’m just wondering, I know that you worked with Miley Cyrus and Blake Shelton. Could you talk a little bit about the differences between being on those two teams?
Chloe Kohanski: Yes, Miley’s super awesome. Started out on her team and, you know, she’s just incredible. She’s a visionary, a creator. And she has a lot of vision for performances and specific ideas. And I think that although I’m not sure what it would have looked like if I would have finished the season with Miley, I think, you know, we’re both so creative that there might have been moments where it might have gotten a little hectic.
So, I’m really glad that Blake stole me because working with him has been incredible. He’s really just showed me how to stay true to myself as an artist, not to compromise my vision, and just to be myself. And he lets me kind of do my thing, you know? He doesn’t really have too much to say in regard to what I’m wearing or how I’m doing my hair or, you know, the lighting or the set design because I’m very hands-on with all of that. And he’s really let me have the freedom and liberty to do that. So I wouldn’t have wanted things to go any differently.
Q) Did you learn anything musically from him?
Chloe Kohanski: Yes, musically I learned how to get out of my own head and just feel the music and have fun. Blake is a really light hearted, funny guy and I can get pretty serious when it comes to music — in a good way, but sometimes in a negative a way. So really he is just 100% and he just had a good time when he performed. It’s what he loves and it’s who he is. And he’s really challenged me to, you know, incorporate that into my artistry as well, just letting it be a fun experience.
Q) I was curious, do you have any bit of a backstory to how they got Billy Idol?
Chloe Kohanski: Well, we turn in a list of people that we would love and be honored to perform with. And it was a pretty big list that I sent in, but I know Billy Idol was on my list. I didn’t know if that was a possibility but apparently Billy reached out to The Voice and when it was kind of put on his radar that he was one of my inspirations, he reached out to The Voice and told them when he was available to record a performance and we made it happen. And I got to kind of hang out with him backstage before we went on. He was so awesome, so down to earth. And really just got to talk to him and tell him that his type of singing, his style really influences me as an artist. And I want to be half as cool as him. He is just the coolest guy ever.
Q) I loved your reaction when you found out.
Chloe Kohanski: Yes. I was very emotional just because that’s something that really to me goes beyond this show and it’s more of just an actual moment. Me being able to sing with a legend like Billy Idol is huge and I’ll carry that with me for the rest of my life.
Q) I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about your involvement with the Vegas show — how long you’re going to be with that show, how you see that working out with also working on an album at the same time.
Chloe Kohanski: So unfortunately probably not the answer that you’re probably looking for, but I have been told little to no details about the Vegas process. The only thing that we were told is that whoever wins gets the opportunity to be involved with the Vegas show and a part of it at some point. I have no idea the duration or the date. I know it starts in the spring and that it’s going to be incredible, but I don’t know for sure what my involvement in the residency will be, but I would be stoked to be a part of it in whatever way I can.
And yes, if that means traveling to Vegas to perform throughout the week or over the course of a month or two or whatever that looks like while working on the beginning stages of a record — which is my plan to kind of, you know, navigate through both of those, because it is possible to work on more than just one project at once. We’ve been doing it on the show this whole time.
Q) I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about your original song, “Wish I Didn’t Love You.” Did you and Blake choose it together? Did you have more than one song to choose from?
Chloe Kohanski: Yes. So basically, everything moved really fast. I mean, it went from the eight to the top four. We had to instantly find songs that were ready to be performed live on television and also pretty much in 24 hours ready to record it in a studio. I had sent in a couple of original songs of my own that were not finished. They were about maybe 40-50% done. And we just really didn’t have the time to commit to really building a track, getting everybody on the same page. So they enlisted people to help us find songs and get the license to perform on national television. They actually emailed me a demo of “Wish I Didn’t Love You” and they said this is, you know, something that we feel like is similar to what you sent in, but it’s finished, it’s ready to go. And it’s a super big song and it’s very emotional and it seems right up your alley.
And I listened to it and literally I was speechless because I just felt instantly so connected with the storyline of that song. It’s exactly what I want to do as an artist. I want to tell stories and I want to make music that almost feels timeless and feels like it’s from another decade. You know what I mean? And that song to me really represented that. It was a pretty big ballad and I don’t just want to be a ballad singer but I had sang quite a few ballads on the show and I think people like that vulnerable moment.
And as far as subject matter it doesn’t matter who you are. Everybody has fallen in love or been, you know, happy in love and then also falling out of love, going through those emotions. And it’s one thing to say I love you to someone, but to actually admit to yourself that you wish you didn’t love him, that’s a whole other kind of level of pain. And everybody experiences that at some point in life even if it’s not romantic. It’s totally a topic that needs to be discussed and talked about. And yes, I think I love that song so much and I’m so happy people reacted the way they did and that it also helped them think through that song.
Q) And the duet you did with Blake, did you come together on that? Did you decide that together?
Chloe Kohanski: Well I was wondering all season what we were going to sing together because our voices are so different, but I was also so excited. Blake actually emailed me and was like, what do you think about Roy Orbison and “You’ve Got It?” And I was like wow I love it because it had the sort country, old school kind of shuffle and groove that Blake sounds so nice on, but then also like a bluesy, kind of rock, fun, upbeat kind of attitude. And so I was very onboard with that song and it was so much fun to perform it. And I felt like our voices blended really nicely together.
Q) So you started out on Team Miley and got onto Team Blake. So my question was do they have any, I mean, they seem more competitive than the artists on the show, I’ve noticed. They don’t give you any type of input. Like Miley for instance, did she ever give you any more input after that point? Or was it just like once you’ve left a team, is that it?
Chloe Kohanski: Well I mean, you know, probably just for the sake of everybody kind of respecting each other’s boundaries, whenever you move to another team as far as input goes, you don’t really discuss that with any other coach. Does that make sense?
Q) Yes. Yes, it makes sense.
Chloe Kohanski: Yes. So I definitely talked to Miley and had a great conversation with her I think on Sunday night or yes, Sunday night. And I had a great conversation with her, but it was just about life and about personal stuff. And it was just like in person in the artist tent behind the stage. And I think, you know, speaking about the songs and the performances is more so just between you and your coach because it is a competition. But I feel like they do a good job of knowing when to kind of give their opinion as far as after your performance and not so much giving input before.
Q) Right. And did you notice any differences in coaching styles that Blake had between you and with Red?
Chloe Kohanski: To be honest, no. I think Blake Shelton was the same with me and with Red and with everybody every season of the show. I mean, I feel like he just always lets artists just do their thing. He lets them be themselves. And that is my answer for when people ask how Blake Shelton has won so many seasons. I’m like well, if you pay attention to what he does, he really doesn’t get in the way of the artist. He just lets them do their thing on the show and celebrates who they are. He’s never asked me to change or be anything other than Chloe. And I think that’s awesome.
Q) I know you were part of a blues band for a while before The Voice. And then you were part of a duo that seemed more singer and songwriter-ish from what I could tell. When did this become your lane? When did you discover this sound and this is what I should be doing?
Chloe Kohanski: Truthfully when I was in a blues band, I was in the band when I was a lot younger and I was in that band for over ten years. And we only played straight up blues for about six months. So it wasn’t a blues band. It was a blues rock band and we were blues influenced just like rock music is blues influenced. So we quickly started playing Led Zeppelin, a little bit of Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac. That’s when I really started to resonate with Stevie Nicks. And that is something that I’ve done on The Voice. So I think I’ve always been a rock singer. Just as blues progressed into rock, I started listening to blues that progressed into rock. So it’s always been in there. It just took me a minute but this is the lane that I feel like I am supposed to be in.
Q) I know you covered a lot of classic rock songs on the show. But I was wondering if you could talk about what some of your contemporary influences are.
Chloe Kohanski: To be honest, I don’t listen to contemporary music. I don’t listen to a lot of contemporary rock. There’s a certain element to classic rock that I don’t think is around anymore. It’s like missing in the industry right now. And I’m not sure like as far as an influencer of my music if I have a specific modern artist or band that I would say. But I listen to a lot of modern music but it’s just all types of genres. Like rap music. I listen to Sizzle. I listen to (Tamen Bola). I listen to Rihanna. I mean, I listen to like everything under the sun. And I actually love just to put it all together and kind of listen to it as it like as a mix because it all influences me and the way I feel. But the music that I want to make I feel like is I have to look to the past to kind of bring inspiration from that.
Q) So Brooke mentioned in an earlier interview that had you stayed on Team Miley, that viewers most likely would’ve credited Miley more for your, you know, your creative ability on the show as far as your songs and how you – I mean, you said Blake gives a lot of freedom. But I was curious what you thought of that comment. Do you think that necessarily would have been true had you stayed on Team Miley?
Chloe Kohanski: Yes, I mean I totally agree. Miley actually said that to Brooke and to me on stage after one of the shows. She said that she was really glad everything worked out the way that it did, because if I would have stayed on her team, even if she would have let me do whatever I wanted to do, it always would have been attached to well, Miley’s really out there. Miley’s really good. So Miley probably came up with the idea. But working with Blake allowed me to really do my own thing and get the credit that I feel like I earned from creating my own kind of experience and feeling for each song and each performance. So yes, I totally agree with that very true statement. I think everything worked out exactly the way that it was supposed to.