The Voice – Voice Premiere Night Four
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) Kawan, I was wondering if you could fill us in a little bit more on your musical background. What type of music do you normally play, whether you’ve been playing solo or in bands at some point since high school that sort of thing?
Kawan DeBose: Yes, well, I started of course in church. My grandfather’s a pastor so I’m – it’s all church rooted. And then after church I got involved in then – in coffee shops, playing at coffee shops and stuff but like – no, actually I think I was still in high school when I started. And then I started to write music. And I listened to everything jazz, gospel, rock and roll bands like Steely Dan and just a wide talent of music to answer the question.
Q) Okay, and what type of music do you normally play?
Kawan DeBose: R&B soul.
Q) And you had released a single called California but on your Facebook page it says the latest single. Is that only song you’ve released so far or have you released other music?
Kawan DeBose: Yes. Well I’ve released other music but it’s not available online.
Q) Taylor, as a country singer why did you go with a Cher song? Have you performed it before?
Taylor Alexander: Yes. I’ve actually started doing that arrangement back with an old band of mine and probably started doing it somewhere around 2013 or ’12 or so. And I just kind of decided to go like – excuse me. I decided to go with the song mostly because I just – I thought it would be novel like there would be – it’d be something to talk about. It’d be really – and it’d be a great opportunity to turn a song that I thought was really well-written and really cool and kind of on its ear a little bit so that you could hear it from a different perspective.
Q) Going forward do you think you’re going to choose other songs that, you know, people might not expect you to perform?
Taylor Alexander: Yes I think that’s certainly possible. We’ll just have to see what happens with what Adam thinks and such.
Q) By The Voice standards you’ve released a good bit of music. I was wondering if you could talk to me a little bit about how your solo sounds has it evolved over the years and how it compares to what you were doing with Lost Lions?
Troy Ramey: Oh, yes I was actually the band was called In Like Lions. Yes. Yes I have released. In the last three years I’ve released – I released an EP and a handful of singles. And I think my sound is kind of it has evolved a little bit from the old band days which was In Like Lions was kind of like in an arena kind of rock and roll band in the – kind of in the genre of like a Kings of Leon type of group. And since I’ve been on my own I would say my sound’s a little bit more mellow than that. So I kind of put myself in like the Indi-rock soul kind of area. You know, I love rock music and I also love, you know, sweet soft melodies and I try to find a home somewhere in-between there. So that’s really, you know, what I’m trying to accomplish with my music.
Q) And can you talk a little bit about your coaching choice? I think you shocked even Gwen when you picked her.
Troy Ramey: I know. Well, it’s funny because everybody has their own, you know, favorites and their own ideas of who they would want to coach them. The reason I picked Gwen was because I grew up in Vermont in a small town and didn’t have much influence outside of the music we listened to at home. And my sister bought No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom when she was like 13. And that was like the first alternative rock kind of music that I’d ever heard that was modern. And I just fell in love with that. I just to steal that CD from her all the time. And so when I found out that Gwen was going to be a coach on the show I said to myself that if she turned around to me that I would pick her because she was kind of my introduction into modern, like, rock music.
Q) Kawan, what was it like to have Adam, you know, compare your falsetto to Prince?
Kawan DeBose: I was nervous about that. And actually they – they edited it out but, I told them I said, maybe I shouldn’t air that because I just didn’t want – I know how revered Prince is and, you know, there’s certain artists like Whitney and Prince and Michael you kind of just don’t touch. So I was really nervous about it. I was very flattered of course but I just was very, very nervous that that would air and that I would get backlash from that. So yes, to answer your question that’s how I felt about it.
Q) Kind of looking back over the years what was it like opening for people like Mary J. Blige and Ludacris?
Kawan DeBose: Great. Well I can tell you the funniest thing. I shouldn’t say this but I’m going to say it anyway. I remember the show that I did with Mary that we – I opened for her and she made like everybody clear the backstage so I didn’t really get to meet her. And opening for Ludacris was pretty great because he was like two hours late to the show so it was pretty great. It was pretty awesome. It was awesome though, awesome, awesome people too.
Q) Josh, congratulations on the Four-Chair Turn. You and Adam seemed to connect right away. Was there ever like a question that you were not going to pick him or did you consider as in that moment when you were trying to decide was there any other coach that stuck out with you?
Josh West: I mean I was so excited at that point. And we – my family and I we talked about it and we prayed about it. And Adam was the one we were going to go with. Gwen almost had me. They cut out a lot of the stuff that she said actually. But just a lot of the stuff that she was saying they were talking about writing songs and stuff. And then she really almost had me. But Adam had been planned all along and I think I made the right choice, yes.
Q) So did you see any resemblances with you and him? He kept saying that he reminded you of his younger self. Did you see that at all or what did you think about that?
Josh West: Yes that was awesome actually. It was – it’s really cool to connect with somebody like that especially on useful subjects that, you know, are not quite as, you know, popular in the current market. And it was really cool just to kind of get to talk with somebody about that let alone, you know, someone, you know, like Adam Levine who, you know, is telling you that he reminds me of a younger self. You know, that was really awesome. And I just really look forward to working with him based on that experience because obviously going to be a great time.
Q) I’m just curious as to why Micah Tryba wanted to put her career on hold to pursue The Voice?
Micah Tryba: I think life in general is kind of about – is a life that where you take risks – I think is taking risks in life is important and it seems more interesting. And it was a huge risk to drop out of school to do this. But, you know, it was really just something – music is something that I’ve always done. Singing and performing is something that I’ve always done as just kind of like what I do on the side for fun. And, you know, it was always one of those like dreams that you have like as a kid to be able to do this on a stage like The Voice. I really had to sit down and ask myself, you know, do I take a hold of this dream and kind of and run with it and take the chance and take the risk and see what happens? Or do I go to vet school and do the monotony of life? And I just I decided that this is something that if I didn’t do it I’d end up regretting. And luckily my school was very supportive in that, you know, they agreed with my decision. And they were like, “We don’t want you to come here with any regrets or what ifs.” And so they were kind enough to like hold me a spot for next year, were very supportive in me like following my dreams here. And I think I made the right decision and I’m super, super excited for everything that this experience holds for me.
Q) Any reason why you picked Blake over Gwen?
Micah Tryba: Blake – it’s funny, he had kind of been climbing up to my list of like who I wanted to work with leading up to the audition. You know, just I’d heard really wonderful things about him as a coach that he’s just very, very invested in the artists that he has on his team and that he’s a beautiful person as well. I mean they’re all, every one of these coaches is fantastic. But I just heard really wonderful things about him, who he is as a person. And yes I’m super excited. It was a tough decision though. Gwen has some really wonderful things to say and yes, but I do think I made the right choice. He’s great.
Q) Gaby, you worked with John Legend. Did you learn a lot from him and did – and what did you learn with working with John Legend and what do you want to learn with Adam? First of all Adam’s comment about production deals make all of us laugh. But what do you hope to learn?
Gaby Borromeo: Well, I worked with John Legend when I was 16, 17 and I just remember just being in the studio with him and he was just down the hallway and his voice just projected. And it just sends chills down your spine the way he is as an artist and as a person and he sends out this incredible energy. And just seeing that at a young age has really stuck with me. And I learned a lot from him. He’s – at the end of the day I love making music. I know that it’s what I’m meant to do. And if I still have this love and keep going with it I know it’s going to take me somewhere. And you can really see that in John’s music, how he writes, how he sings. He’s just in love with it. What I want to learn from Adam is I think first of all the whole thing about production deals made me laugh. I was in about three of them. And it was just like being in the recording studios, singing all of these songs and it just really got nowhere. And for me I think I just want to learn independence from Adam and this confidence you kind of see on stage I was a little nervous. I mean I had a few flat notes here and there. But I’ve been watching Adam Levine ever since I was a young girl. Songs About Jane is one of my favorite albums of all time and yes.
Q) Songs About Jane, what’s your favorite song on there? I like Harder to Breathe but what was yours?
Gaby Borromeo: Oh, Harder to Breathe, She Will Be Loved. There’s this one song they got the sun ray and your goodbye. That’s really inspired a lot of my writing and how I play guitar too. Funny enough it inspired a song I wrote.
Q) Josh, what’s the name of the band you play in with your dad? And could sort of describe what your typical set list would look like?
Josh West: Absolutely. It’s actually just Josh West although sometimes, if they want less specifically like people know that the band will let them say Josh West Band. We obviously I’m a big fan of rock and that’s obviously why I went with Adam. You know, we both just really resonate with that kind of spirit. And we play a lot of rock music in the band. We play Rolling Stones, Audioslave, excuse me, Black Crowes, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters. We also have stuff like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, let me think. We also have some the In Color. So yes that’s a general set list and that seems to, you know, we’ve been doing it for a while and that seems to the stuff that people really like.
Q) Do you do much original stuff? I mean I know you’re a song writer.
Josh West: Yes we actually don’t do a lot of originals but we actually have our first original show coming up on the 28th. We do write a lot of stuff though. We – we are hoping to start, you know, playing more originals now.
Q) And why Ordinary World as an audition song?
Josh West: That song is one of my favorite songs. It’s – I mean it kind of rides that line that I, you know, like to write in with my father between rock and pop. And it’s also obviously from the 90s. The meaning behind the song is incredibly emotional and deep song. And that’s where I like to write in and that’s where I like to live. Be as open and emotional as possible when I’m singing because, you know, that’s why people listen to music to feel the feelings that they want to feel. And that song has an incredibly deep and personal meaning to the – to Simon Le Bon so that’s – that’s why I chose that song.
Q) Missy, you mentioned on the show that you chose your song because of the message that was in it. So like going forward are you going to continue to choose songs that have that kind of meaning to it?
Missy Robertson: That’s a great question. I’m a song writer and that’s actually really what I love to do and so lyrics are really important to me. And so the fact of getting to do this song with such powerful lyrics that’s definitely something I’m planning on keeping going in the future. And I don’t want to just get up there and just sing a song to sing a song. I want to say something. So that’s my goal.
Q) Aaliyah, I was wondering if you could talk about what prompted you to audition for The Voice this year at such a young age? You’re only 14 right?
Aaliyah Rose: Yes, so when the age got lowered I was super-excited because I’ve always wanted to audition for The Voice. Like it’s always been a dream of mine. And out of like all the shows that’s like the one show that I wanted to do but I had to be 15. And this is like when I was like 11 and so I was always too young. And people would tell me you should audition for The Voice. And I’d be like, “I’m too young.” But as soon as they lowered the age and they contacted me I was so, so excited. And it was just like what? It was just like this is my moment and I was just so grateful that I had the opportunity to audition for all of the coaches. They’re so amazing. And I’ve watched them from such a young age. It was so cool to like see them in person.
Q) You’re going to be going up against people who have been singing for longer than you’ve been alive. How do you feel about that? Is that intimidating at all to you?
Aaliyah Rose: It’s actually – I think it’ll be cool to sing with other artists that are older than me because I can learn from them – their experiences they’ve had. And I think that it would be really good for me.
Q) Aaliyah, how’d it feel when you saw the Meghan Trainor video and the little heads up she gave you? That had to make your smile?
Aaliyah Rose: Oh yes, that was crazy. It meant so much to me that she would take her time out of her day to send that video. She’s such a huge inspiration of mine. I love her so much. She inspires me so much as a artist. And she teaches girls to love themselves and don’t really care about like what other people think about you. Like hey it is – it’s like back off. And I wanted to – that’s something that I wanted to do is to tell other girls, younger girls that they can be who they want to be and love themselves. And so it was – I was just so, like, grateful that she sent that video. And it actually really helped me when I was on stage just I was kind of thinking about like the words she said. It was just really, really nice of her to be myself on stage.
Q) What are you going to learn from Gwen? How’s she as a coach?
Aaliyah Rose: Well she started at a young age when she was a teenager. And so I think that she is really going to be able to help me and share her experiences with me. And I’m just super excited to be able to work with her. She’s an amazing artist and she’s super unique which is awesome because she does all different kind of genres of music. And I’m a pop R&B and her clothing and like we just like relate so much on that level and on a lot of levels. But yes I’m really excited to be working with her.
Q) Taylor, how would you describe the type of country music that you typically write and perform?
Taylor Alexander: Oh, that’s a good question. I think that probably the prevailing term would be traditional country. It – you know, it’s usually a little bit more like something like Merle Haggard or George Jones or Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, that sort of a world. But yes I usually say traditional country or I just say country and let somebody else tell me what they think it sounds like.
Q) Can you tell me a little bit more about Young America? Was that pretty much a cover band or did you guys do original material too and how did it compare to what you’re doing now?
Taylor Alexander: So Young America was pretty much just a fully original band. We did a. few like cover gig stuff but we were really just an original band. And so we – the first record that we did I put out or we put out when I was – I actually graduated high school a semester early. And so we put it out during the second semester of what would have been my senior year. So I was like 17 while we were recording it and then like 18 by the time it came out. And that was kind of like a folk rock, you know, like a lot of people nowadays say like Americana rock kind of a thing. It had that rootsy country thing going on in it but I still wasn’t completely comfortable with like leaning into that style all the way yet. And then the next thing that we did we did an EP in like 2013 that was pretty much full traditional country feel but a little bit more of like the alternative country of, you know, somebody like Wilco or Ryan Adams. You know, we still kind of had that alternative bent. And now the stuff that I have put out as a solo artist is an EP that I put out pretty recently that’s – that I kind of wanted to strip down and do like we recorded it all the way live. And I wanted to record it like an old Gram Parson’s record or something like that. So it feels a little bit more like a 70s or early 70s late 60s traditional country record was kind of what we were kind of interested in per- sonically. So but yes that’s kind of the thing.