The Voice – Season 13: Audition Night Five
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) My question is for the three singers who we didn’t really get to see last night – Katrina, Natalie, and Ryan. I was hoping you could tell me what we missed in your blind audition, how you picked your song, how you felt the performance went, who turned, what type of feedback you got, and how you feel about the matchup of you and your coach. If we could start with Natalie please.
Natalie Stovall: Well, I picked a song called If It Hadn’t Been For Love, which was a Steeldrivers song and that’s kind of a bluegrass band and Nashville, and it was my very first introduction to Chris Stapleton’s voice back when I first heard that band and so I just — I love the song. I thought it was unique and I thought it represented me as my voice, and an artist. And I play fiddle on it normally when I actually sing the song live, but yes, I mean it was such an incredible experience and the whole time, it’s like I’m a country singer from Nashville and I was just visualizing Blake turning around and he’s the one that turned around. And all four of the coaches had beautiful things to say. I mean they all were very encouraging and had great things to say but I went towards the end of the blind auditions and so Blake was the one that turned around and I’m very thankful for that.
Ryan Scripps: I picked Body like a Back Road by Sam Hunt and it just kind of shows who I am as an artist. Sam Hunt obviously is more the pop modern country and that’s really the route that I’ve been taking in the past few years as I’ve been pursuing this as a career. And it’s just a fun song. I have a lot of fun singing it. I can relate to it and it’s one of my girlfriend’s favorite songs so I kind of did it for her as well. And Blake was the only one who turned around and super grateful for that. All I needed was one chair to turn, but even better that it being Blake and being the only one because he was the one coach that I was going to for from the very beginning. So yes, it was a really fun audition. I made a fun arrangement with the song, and changed it up, made it my own. So super grateful for the opportunity.
Katrina Rose: So I sang a song called Cosmic Blues in the style of Janis Joplin. She has been a huge influence on my singing and my style for a long time. I just think she is one of the original greats. We have a lot of similar influences even further back, like she was very influenced by some of the original blues rockers, Bessie Smith, Odetta, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Etta James, and that’s a lot of my influence. I just really wanted a song that said something, that made you feel that guttural soul clenching something. And I just think that’s what music’s about. It’s about being that universal language that speaks across all cultures, all societies, all ethnic backgrounds, all economic backgrounds. It’s just something that brings people together so I just really wanted a song that would speak to people and I loved it. I’m sad more didn’t air but I’m glad we got those iTunes that people can buy and hear the whole thing, and — which go ahead and do that. No, just kidding. And yes, and Miley turned around. She was the only person to turn around. J-Hud definitely seemed a little disappointed that she didn’t turn around but they gave me great feedback and Miley was really stoked to have somebody really different on her team. So I feel good about it. I’m excited to be Team Miley and so far, an all-girls team, which is really cool.
Q) I have a question for Jon and Chloe. Jon, Adam admitted that you could potentially be the winner of The Voice and Chloe, Blake says he thinks you’ll be in the finale. Do you guys think a huge compliment like that adds pressure because you feel like you work harder to meet such high expectations? Or does it actually take some of the pressure off since maybe you feel the coaches would have a tough time letting you go in the next round? I guess I’ll start with Jon.
Jon Mero: I don’t think that takes pressure off at all. I think that adds a lot of pressure because it kind of raises the expectation. So I basically have to bring it every single time that I perform. So I don’t think that it takes pressure. I definitely — it made me feel like I need to make sure that I’m on my A Game every single time.
Q) Okay, and how about you, Chloe?
Chloe Kohanski: I think I agree with Jon. It definitely doesn’t take any pressure off, but at the same time for me personally, I kind of came onto this show looking for someone to kind of tell me that this is what I’m supposed to be doing and I believed it for myself, but I needed some type of validation or reassurance in that. So hearing the coaches say those things, it almost put a needed pressure on myself. I needed that to know, okay, not only am I good enough and I should be doing this, but now I’m kind of inspired to do something bigger every single time and to leave the same impression every single time, no matter how far I move forward. You know what I mean? I hope that answers the question.
Q) Dennis, I was wondering, you play guitar for Adam Wakefield and did he figure into your decision to choose Blake? And what kind of advice did he give you?
Dennis Drummond: I would say Adam gave a really good argument and I was really torn. It was a tough decision to pick Blake but just seeing my genre of music that I’ve always been drawn to has been ’70s rock and late ’60s, the southern rock, and blues, and I’ve always — I appreciate old country music. And although I don’t sing it, but I thought that maybe my taste in songs might fare better on his team. But seeing how the songs Adam was able to choose and how Adam was able to show his skills as a guitar player and as a piano player, and as a singer, really — the advice he gave me was, he said, “Don’t suck.” He’s one of my good buddies. We just got done playing video games together. We’re just like – we hang out. So he was just like go out there and sing the song, tell the story. Don’t go out and try those crazy vocal acrobatics because that ain’t you. Just be true to what it is that you do and nobody can be a better Dennis. I was like right on. So that’s kind of what I went out there doing.
Q) Rebecca, being from Mason, Michigan and Lucas Holiday is also on the show from Lansing, Michigan, I just wanted to ask you a little bit about how well, if at all, Lucas, what it feels like to have two singers from within about 15 miles of each other on the show.
Rebecca Brunner: It’s been so cool being able to get to know Lucas. The first day we met, we both found out we’re from Lansing. We just have been saying Lansing Represent every time we see each other. So it’s been really cool because I’ve not only found a brother but he’s from my home town. So I would say it’s been really awesome because we both know a lot of the same people. So we’ve been able to get a lot of support through each other and just kind of momentum off of that. So I think it’s been incredible and I’m super happy for him and I’m so happy that we can be alongside during this process for sure.
Q) Whitney, I was wondering what you thought of Adam’s comment and did you intentionally sing the Drake song in the Christina Grimmie version that he commented on? And also, do you think you were destined to be on Team Adam?
Whitney Fenimore: I honest to God did not even know that she sang that song until I looked it up 24 hours before my audition and I freaked out. And I was just wondering if anyone else had done that song and I saw that she did it, and I was like oh my gosh. I felt like I wasn’t worthy to do that song and so that put a lot of weird pressure on me because I didn’t want anybody to think that I was trying to step in any sort of shoes that I wasn’t supposed to or whatever. Because that is not at all what my intentions were. But I’m glad that Adam received the song well. He said it was like she said hello to him and I thought that was so sweet and I’m glad that he was able to have that time during the song. But no, I didn’t intentionally do it. A friend and I came up with that arrangement and I love that song and I did not know until right before. And then as far as being on Adam’s team, it kind of feels like it was destined to happen. I mean I did not know he was going to turn but it felt like the right fit. I’ve been a huge fan of his since I was a little kid and it was such an honor to have him say the things that he did and I couldn’t be happier to be on his team.
Q) For Chloe, Dennis and Iliana, judging from the bios we heard last night, it sounds like the three of you haven’t done a whole lot as solo artists. If that’s the case and can you talk to me a little bit about the solo music you envision yourself making and who your inspirations are? And if we start off with Chloe please.
Chloe Kohanski: I have been playing music for about three years now, three or four years now and the first project I ever did was when I decided I want to sing, not just in terms of a choir or something, because I didn’t really know if it was even possible for me. So I auditioned to sing in a blues band. It was strictly blues music, which was kind of cool because I have a lower register voice. I think I’ll always appreciate the blues, which is also why I like Fleetwood Mac and even some of their earlier stuff before Stevie Nicks was even in the band, that kind of vibe and then also psychedelic rock and more recent rock is still influenced from blues. So I feel like for me personally, when I envision myself doing solo work, I wanted to kind of a combination of the emotion and the desperation that blues music has but in a modern way. I think it’s something that people kind of tap into but I don’t know if it’s been done the way that I want to do it. And I don’t even think I really know what it is yet but I think this show is helping me kind of figure it out. I want it to be something that everybody enjoys, not just a small group of people. Because I feel like nowadays, blues rock and Americana is a niche and it’s not everybody’s thing. And I kind of wanted to be more relevant to all people. I don’t know if that makes sense but I think with my age and the fact that I’m a girl and it’s not really typical for — I think people don’t expect me to sing the way that I do. So I want to kind of — I don’t know, I just want to keep going down the path that I’m going because I feel like it’s kind of special in a way. So I don’t know. I kind of went on a rant there.
Dennis Drummond: Well, my relationship with music has always been from the standpoint of just working. I started playing out in clubs and bars up in Warren, Ohio, my hometown, when I was 12 years old was when I first received compensation for music. So from that point on, I got more gigs. I never really had a “real job.” My real job was I’d play four hours, 10:00 to 2:00 on the weekend. I’d see my teachers out on the weekends. That’s always been my thing. And I never really — I’ve always just done the songs that I wanted to do always the way that I like to do them. That’s always been my thing is they could be from different genres. They could be — a woman could have sung it. It could have been whatever and I’ve always liked to try to filter it through whatever it is that I do and be able to play it. But it’s kind of become a thing from the necessity of having to feel like four hour nights. And I’m used to doing — I’m used to trying to get as much out of a song as you can get musically so that you can make it through. Four hours is a long time so flash forward to now and my adult life. I moved down to Nashville with the idea just to work and I moved down with just the idea to play guitar for artists. So my genre has always just been whatever the gig has needed me to be. And so it hasn’t really been until recently that I got my gig at Hotel Indigo. I played there every Tuesday for three years. That was where I hit the woodshed as a singer and really was singing more because I was normally just taking road gigs. I played with artists around town and I sing harmonies and that’s what it was. So my genre has always been — I’ve always leaned more toward power trio, blues. I’m a humongous Hendrix fan. I’ve always really respected him. My bands have always just been trios with doing Joe Cocker songs, doing songs that old Beatles tunes. We do Cyndi Lauper tunes. We just kind of have fun and we entertain the crowd but I’ve never really taken a step out before as an artist before this. So it was quite the push out of the nest. That being said, moving forward, I’m a big fan of Marcus King Band and Jerry Carr, Jr., people who are that vein. Obviously you hear John Mayer and stuff. It’s in that vein of this guitar heavy music. I’ve always expected a solo.
Ilianna Viramontes: Hi. So I think I’ve always put myself in group situations, like I’ve always been a part of a choir I think with my church choir for a long time and then I started doing choirs in my school. And I guess I just never — I always wanted and pictured myself as more of a solo artist but I never, I guess, had the confidence and drive to put myself out there until I auditioned for Berkeley College of Music. And that was my first accomplishment, seeing myself as a solo artist. And then that’s when I decided to audition for The Voice and that was the first big thing I ever really did. So I’d say I’ve always been more on the pop side. Like some of the people that I look up to are Ingrid Michaelson. I love Sara Bareilles and Norah Jones. But yes.
Q) I said that was a really big stage to make one of your first big solo appearances on. How’d you deal with the pressure?
Ilianna Viramontes: It was definitely nerve wracking but it was definitely the best decision I ever made.
Q) Ilianna, Adam kept insisting that you should join Miley’s team instead of Blake’s and Ignatious, Adam really pushed for you to join Jennifer’s team over Blake’s. So how much of a role did Adam’s influence play to your decisions? How do you remain quiet? Were you leaning towards Blake or do you think you would have made a different choice? I guess we can start with Ilianna.
Ilianna Viramontes: Hi. I went into the blind audition kind of already leaning towards Miley but I will say that it was really close. I almost picked Blake but I’ve just always been such a huge fan of Miley since I was little. I was even Miley — I was Hannah Montana for Halloween in fourth grade and she’s always had a big influence on me in the music industry and everything. And I think it was just always going to be Miley for me.
Q) And how about you Ignatious?
Ignatious Carmouche: For me, I felt like I wanted to pick Adam from jump. Adam was my first option because I was on his team from the Snapchat. So I figured that going from him being — getting me there, picking me from me singing in my bedroom, submitting my video to get this chance to win, to not even knowing that I was getting this opportunity, I just felt like getting to work with him would have been a great moment for me. I thought it would have been a great moment for TV to see the transition that we would make. So I believe that with him suggesting this, and pushing for me, I always thought that in that moment, maybe he saw something aside from the battle that he and Blake always have. It definitely did influence my decision but Blake was always — he was actually my second choice before Jennifer, but Adam’s influence definitely did make a difference.
Q) It sounded like Adam not turning around surprised you. Did he ever talk to you about why he didn’t later on? Did you guys ever have a conversation about that?
Ignatious Carmouche: Well, yes. Up there, he did say that he was distracted by the artist that went on before me or something like that, that he was upset about not getting or something like that. But he was really disappointed. Immediately, he recognized me before I could even introduce myself. He immediately came on stage and apologized for not turning. But as far as that, that’s the only conversation that we were able to have about it.
Q) Brandon, you chose Adam over Jennifer Hudson. Was it your mom shouting off stage or was there another reason why you made that decision?
Brandon Brown: Well, my mom definitely did influence my decision. It was kind of like a hard decision to make. I didn’t know whether to go with Jennifer or Adam but I just felt like Adam could really help me get stronger in places where I was weak, like in other genres. And I did believe that Jennifer could still help my voice become more stronger and she would be a really great coach vocally to have. But I kind of, for a little while, I started to say to myself I wanted to go for Adam. So that made it a little easier but it was still a really extremely tough decision.
Q) Jon, you picked Adam because his style was close to yours. Do you consider yourself a pop singer like Adam?
Jon Mero: I definitely consider myself a pop singer.
Q) Okay, would you compare yourself to somebody who’s out there right now?
Jon Mero: Let’s see here, I really — I think the greatest pop entertainer of all time right now is Bruno Mars and of course, the songs that I sing, a lot of people drew those comparisons but I really, really what Bruno Mars is doing. As far as Maroon 5, they were the first band. When my parents started letting me listen to secular music at a certain age and they were one of the first bands that I was able to — that my parents let me listen to. And course it was the Songs About Jane album, and I just loved kind of the funk inside of Maroon 5’s music. And so I honestly I had always gunned for Adam. I had wanted to pick either Adam or Blake quite honestly because I kind of like doing things that people don’t expect me to do but I always — but Adam was always there in the works and I’m so happy that he had turned around and I got to pick him.
Q) Dennis, how did you wind up performing with Adam Wakefield and are there any other Nashville artists that you’ve backed that we might have heard of?
Dennis Drummond: Well, I knew Adam before he was The Adam Wakefield. We used to do little weird gigs together in little like – we were both like weird little kids, like getting weird and playing this obscure song but we don’t ever get a chance to do it. I met Adam because he called me up to do an organ trio gig at this club here in Nashville. We had a residency and it was just organ, me — him on keys and me on guitar and a drummer. And so I know him as a killer keys player, killer guitar player that can sing. So we were friends before he went on this show and then we were always looking for ways just to play together. But the natural thing is you’ve just got to work. So everybody has a million gigs going on and whenever we’d play together, we’d have a lot of fun. But when he got off the show, he called me. He was like hey man, I have the momentum going on and I’d love you to come on the road with me. We rehearsed and it’s been that ever since. We’re going out in a couple weeks to go out again. I’m playing guitar with him on the road, doing harmonies and stuff like that. That’s my job. That’s what I do in town. But I’ve got other Nashville artists I’ve played for. Last week, I played with Barrett Baber. That was a couple seasons ago. I play with my buddy, Noland, a band called Walker McGuire. I have a lot of gigs on my calendar, just like a lot of working musicians in Nashville. You have a lot of things that you juggle just to try to make things work and it’s been great. I love being on the road with Adam. Adam, he was my most recent gigs steady. When I was with him it was pretty much only Adam because he was playing every weekend and it’s been fun. Like I said, I’m going back out with him in a couple weeks to do it again.
Q) Rebecca, even Blake noted that Believer was a really challenging song. Why did you choose it?
Rebecca Brunner: Yes, a lot of people have been asking me this. I am more of a folk pop singer and I went for more of a pop rock song, but I felt like it was a really current song right now so I felt that it would be good to maybe not just be another R&B soul singer on the show and kind of change it up. With having a soulful voice, go for more of a rap song and to make it more unique to get kind of like what’s that. That’s an interesting take. So I did kind of do it for the head turns to make an interesting choice and to be different but also relevant. So obviously, nerves sink in and it’s a whole different story because it’s a really fast song. But I love that song. I think it has a good message and I felt like it would be relevant in the pop world today but also could be — it could showcase a different side of my voice and to be more unique than just what I’m labeled as.
Q) Ilianna, based on what we heard last night, you skipped your high school graduation to audition for The Voice. Was that a tough decision to make?
Ilianna Viramontes: Honestly, I don’t think it was really a tough decision just for myself because this is such an amazing opportunity. I figured — I wasn’t always the type to care that much about — this might sound kind of bad, but care that much about high school, I guess. I did my school work. I did what I needed to do to graduate, but the actual graduation just didn’t fall under the — it wasn’t as important to me as this opportunity. And the only reason I was going to go back was for my mom, but she even — it was harder on my mom than it was for me. So yes, I think that I definitely don’t regret it at all. I’m going to have a college graduation so it wasn’t too hard of a decision.
Q) And will you be attending Berkeley?
Ilianna Viramontes: Yes, I’m going to be attending next fall.