The Voice – Voice Premiere Night Five
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) Malik, you had a great audition last night and, you know, you were emotional after that performance. Can you take us back to that moment and, you know, kind of talk about what you were feeling in that moment?
Malik Davage: Oh man, it – the moment was just awesome. Like just going in – it was a lot of nerves going in thinking, okay, I have a lot going on in my head, as far as whether or not a chair will turn or how well I would sound. And then I have my mom and my daughter watching so it’s kind of – it’s even more nerve-wracking to see them, like knowing that they’re watching and everyone’s routing on. So it was an awesome experience in just seeing Adam turn around. It was just so great to get that opportunity.
Q) For Lauryn and Caroline, you’re both so young. I was wondering if you could talk to me about the type of music you typically perform and the type of music you see yourself releasing as a solo artist. And if we can start with Lauryn, please?
Lauryn Judd: All right. So as an artist I like to kind of take older songs and put my twist on them and that’s what I did with Girls Just Want to Have Fun. And I think that going forward I would like to make older sounding songs more jazzy, kind of bring back that old vibe. And that’s the kind of music I would like to make.
Q) Sort of jazzy music?
Lauryn Judd: Jazzy soul, kind of just, almost just like – a singer songwriter is what I am but jazz, soul, pop. It’s like there’s not really a genre that fully incorporates what I would like to be. But some of my influences are Carol King and John Mayer, if that gives you a good idea.
Q) And why Alicia, for you.
Lauryn Judd: Alicia is just so genuine and so awesome. And she’s just a great example to me and my music. She’s a songwriter. She started young. And so I went in wanting her and I went in just looking up to her. And so I felt like she was a good fit for me.
Q) Johnny, what was it like opening for Rod Stewart?
Johnny Gates: I mean it was kind of like a dream come true for me. So my mom is a massive Rod Stewart fan. So growing up it was always kind of a joke that my mom was obsessed with Rod Stewart. So when I got that specific call that we were going on the road with him, we had never played arenas before, anything that size ever. And the fact that we were going with him, it just kind of like, it made me feel like I was on the right track with my life and this journey. And just being out with him was inspiring. I mean he has such a cool voice. And to watch him work the crowd and to make an arena kind of vibe, it was cool. And it was proud for me. My parents came out to the first show and for my mom to see me opening up for her favorite artist was, it was a proud moment for me.
Q) And then kind of your audition song, was that kind of always your first choice of what you wanted to sing for your audition?
Johnny Gates: Yes. I’ve been trying to find singers that have somewhat similar qualities and tone. And I love Rod Stewart and we were literally just coming off of that tour when I even started thinking about The Voice. I think I must have been playing Rod Stewart in my car and singing around the house so when the time came to pick a song I just kind of, I felt it had worked on the road and I had watched him crush it every night with that song. And I wanted to see if I could follow-up.
Q) Caroline, can you talk to me about the music you typically perform and what you think you would perform as a solo artist?
Caroline Sky: Well I write a lot of original music. And I think that my songwriting is mostly influenced by pop and soul artists. I sing a Carol King song for my audition and she is one of my base influences, I think. But I really want to sing I guess pop music but with a lot of influences from sold and from, you know, from folk artists. I think that’s kind of what I try to do. I try to, even if I’m taking an old song, an old Carol King song, I try to put my own spin on it.
Q) And even though you’re 16, you’ve already got an LP out, don’t you? Are all those songs you wrote?
Caroline Sky: Yes, I do. Those are all original songs, yes.
Q) Okay. And why Gwen for you?
Caroline Sky: I’ve been listening to Gwen since I was a little girl and I think she really embodies a lot of what I’m trying to do. She started her band when she was pretty much the same age as me and has become a huge success, you know, sharing her music with the world. And that’s something that I really aspire to do and I really aspire to be like her. So for me it was kind of like a role model decision. I look up to her so much so I knew that it was the right choice to pick her.
Q) Johnny, I was wondering if you could compare the music you’re doing as a solo artist to the music you were doing with Runaway Saints?
Johnny Gates: So, yes, they, with my band Runaway Saints, we’ve always tried to, to be more of a rock-n-roll kind of vibe. But with my solo stuff I’m trying to go for a more stripped down version of that. So some of the artists, I’m a big Ryan Adams fan. So when I’m trying to figure out the sound for the solo stuff I kind of joke around with words, a singer/songwriter but with some, I try to put some balls to it. So I don’t know if we can write that. But it’s just like me, and I do a lot of the solo stuff for my shows on an electric guitar with a reverb kind of sound. So definitely more of a stripped version of Runaway Saints but still with something else there, some ump to it.
Q) And did Runaway Saints ever get to release their album? If not, do you think they ever will?
Johnny Gates: So what’s tough about Runaway Saints is that we spent years at a record label and we never officially released an album which is why we decided to leave the label and go to LA. And yes, I think eventually, we’ve been playing together for literally 13 years. So that’s a long build-up for one album. But I would love nothing else but to release an album with those guys. When that will be I don’t know because my focus is definitely on this right now and I really want to follow-up the show with a solo album. Like I would like that to be my first album. But I would love to down the road do an album with Runaway Saints.
Q) Caroline, so can you talk about, what was it like being in a band with your family?
Caroline Sky: I mean I always grew up with music in the house. And I think that that kind of is a really important part of what shapes me as an artist, just promoting that love of music from a really early age. I mean we never got to a professional level. We only played for family members. But I think it gave me a really good foundation of singing in front of people even if it was just for, you know, 20 people in our living room. And it really, it inspired me to play with other people and to learn from other people as much as I possibly could. Because my dad was really the one who kind of got that whole thing started. And he would play guitar. So he inspires me a lot. But yes, playing the band, I mean it was a really fun experience and it definitely has influenced me even now because it really made me love music from an early age.
Q) Lauryn, you strategically, did that work with your – changing your tone, it actually did sound like two different people. Was that a strategy to get them to turn around?
Lauryn Dodd: I don’t think that was necessarily a strategy but it was just the way that my voice works I think. When I am in a more quiet lower place, I do have a different tone than when I open my mouth and try to get up to those higher notes. And I think that’s just kind of what happened. And also I do think that at that point when I did change my tone, I kind of realized that I got to push really hard if I have to get a chair to turn around. So that could have played a part in it as well.
Q) You got three (teams) to choose from. That could have been really difficult. What ultimately did you go with Alicia?
Lauryn Judd: It was really hard to pick because they all had such convincing arguments and they were all so kind to me. But why I ultimately went with Alicia is I went in with Alicia in mind. And I was so close to going with someone else. But I just, my gut just told me that I should go with Alicia.
Q) Was it Blake that you were going to go with or who was it that you…
Lauryn Judd: It was Gwen. I was super close to going with Gwen because I feel like we have a similar tone and unique sound. But then Alicia just does it for me.
Q) Jack, I was wondering if you could fill us in a little more about what you’ve done musically to this point. You mentioned worship music as being your background. But have you also performed out as an artist?
Jack Cassidy: Yes, a little bit. I’ve done, in Ventura County, I’m a part of many churches. I lead worship consistently on many different days other than just Sundays. Other than that, I’ve done small little things here and there. I’ve done some benefits with my grandmother and my dad. In Palm Springs we did one. We’ve done some stuff at the Civic Arts Plaza which is local. The (Canon) Club. So just little stuff. My dad would, when I was a minor, I’m now 18, but when I was a minor he would just bring me along for like very, very rare occasions. And I would sing with him and he would kind of showcase me in a small light in partiality. But The Voice was the first opportunity where I stepped out in the fullness of what I could do.
Q) And you had to choose between Adam and Alicia. Why Alicia?
Jack Cassidy: Alicia spoke to the personal side of me, who I was on a spiritual level. And she really just understood the reason why I was there. I wasn’t there for myself. I was there for others and she really nailed that. And she saw that. And that’s why I ended up going with her.
Q) What would you consider your biggest musical accomplishment to-date?
Malik Davage: My biggest, well, well one, The Voice is pretty much my biggest…
Q) Yes. I mean other than The Voice?
Malik Davage: Well oh yes. I was going to say other than this is was 106 & Park in 2013. And I opened up for Monica Brown, Enrico Love in 2015. Around that time, that’s when I dropped my first single, Love You Now. That was a big deal for me. I also performed at half time at the Washington Wizards game singing at (Turkey Bowls). And also a big accomplishment was actually (my best bird song) in my All City Honors Choir when I was in middle school, that was another big moment for me as well.
Q) And how do you feel about the match-up between you and Adam?
Malik Davage: Oh yes. I feel like if anyone were to turn and just know that that one chair turned, I felt like the best chair turned for me because Adam, when I think about Adam, Adam is one of the guys who I listened to growing up. And knowing that he’s worked with so many different artists that I’ve listened to and I’ve grown accustomed to, it’s just one of those situations where he turned his chair. And if I don’t get another chance for a chair to turn, well this is one of my best options.