Troy Ramey – The Voice
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) Do you think that song choice had some type of merit on you getting taken out on this round?
A) Probably. But I think it also comes down to, you know, popularity contest a little bit, which is okay, you know? I knew that going into it. Obviously, the younger kids are a lot more active on Twitter and people that may have loved what I did may not be in that demographic where they’re quick to get on Twitter and do an instant save. You know, it’s just the way it works. But like song choice – if people want to talk about my song choice, it’s still number one on the iTunes rock chart so it’s like, you know, maybe it wasn’t good enough for the demographic of the show, but like people are buying the song and love what I do and I’m very proud.
Q) What was your thinking when you chose Drift Away?
A) Well, I’ve always loved that song. And obviously, you know, you got to kind of – you have to pick a song that you don’t really have a chance to change at all because it’s a last chance song. You don’t get an opportunity to really put that much effort into it. So, I felt like it was a great fit for me to showcase the soulful side of my voice. And it’s kind of hard to pick one song that represents you, but I felt like that was kind of a contrast to the other songs I’ve done on the show. And I’m really proud with how it went and I don’t have any regrets about it at all.
Q) So, I’d like to know if you were surprised that you landed in the bottom two to begin with. And then, what did you think your chances were, being saved? Were you ultimately surprised to be eliminated?
A) I was a little surprised to land in the bottom two because I was really happy with the way that Free Fallin’ went and it was doing so well on the charts. It’s still number one on the rock chart. And I think it peaked in the 50s on the overall chart. So just, you know, it’s one of those things where my goal when I came to the show was to make it into the top 12. And I did that. And I was okay going home either way because I have a career in music that was there before I came to The Voice and it will always be there after this. And so, I never hung my hat on this as like a last chance opportunity. It’s just The Voice for me was a way to get more people to see my music that I wrote about my life. And so, to be in the bottom two or the top two doesn’t matter to me. I did know, when I was standing up there next to Mr. Handsome, Mark Isaiah, I knew I probably had no shot, so I was kind of okay going home at that moment.
Q) Just because of the kids voting on Twitter earlier?
A) Yes. I knew I had no shot against him because he’s so popular. And he’s a good friend of mine. And it’s actually kind of funny because I became good friends with him. He’s such a young, humble, talented kid that I dedicated like my Instagram stories to being like a fake fanboy of him. It’s kind of like the funniest thing because all day every day I was just like teasing him and then we end up there on stage together and it was kind of a cool moment. I’m happy that he’s the one that kicked me out.
Q) So, during the knockouts — going back to the knockout round — Gwen mentioned that there was more of you that she hadn’t seen yet, and then also she mentioned last night about your hilarious side that she’d like to bring out more. And with such limited time that you guys have on the show, is there a solution to that? Like or were you strategizing to bring out more of yourself to show to America?
A) Yes. I mean, it’s impossible really because, you know, first of all I’m not in control of how everything gets edited. So, like there are definitely moments where things shine but for the story line that the show needs to achieve, may not include the part of me that I want to get out there. But, it’s also a serious thing when, you know, there’s a lot on the line because you want to try to get to the point quickly. And music is very serious. So, I always kind of felt a challenge to try to include humor in serious music. But I do that in my life and my private life and social media. And I try to, you know, I do think if people really saw like the actual side of me, then I would’ve have a better shot in terms of popularity and voting, stuff like that. But ultimately, like I know that I was really happy that both Gwen and Blake said that about me on the show last night, because that really meant a lot to me, that they appreciate that side of me. And the feedback I’ve been getting on social media has been absolutely incredible today. And like I feel like I connected more with people last night and today than I had throughout the course of this whole show because they are opening up to me on social media and seeing the actual me rather than me the Troy that’s on the show. Because it is a television show, you know? And you got to try to do your best and be at attention at all times. So, when people discover me, the real me, and the natural personality that I have and ultimately discover my music, it’s going to be – they’re really going to understand the whole package.
Q) I was wondering what was the experience like of being mentored? I know that you’re an artist with a lot of experience. Did you learn a lot from Gwen and Blake and Shania?
A) I did. I mean it’s kind of hard to explain because like there are certain things that – a lot of things come down to taste. And especially like all the experience that I have and developing myself as an artist and really knowing my voice and knowing my limits, it is hard sometimes to like really allow yourself to have an open mind. But I went in there with an open mind and I did learn a couple things — not really about singing, to be honest with you. But about performing. And there’s a difference when you’re performing to a club of people who love you opposed to performing on a television show where you’re trying to win people over. That was, you know, something that I needed to learn how to do because there’s almost kind of a feeling of, not desperation but a longing in your performance because you’re trying so hard to like get people in. And it almost feels super unnatural because when performing in my shows, like I’m just relaxed. I’m me. I’m messing around with people because I already know that they’re – I already have them. And it’s a much different experience. So, the one thing that I think I really took away from The Voice is how to adapt to a different scenario, because that’s not real life. Nobody’s spent their entire career on The Voice. You know what I mean? So, you kind of have to play the game a little bit and try to win people over in a way that fits the scenario. But I learned a lot about myself in terms of how much I can compromise my own style and still achieve what the show needs or what Gwen needed for the television show in terms of how I would sing a song, because there are certain choices I made melodically on the show that I never would have done in my real life. But just because Gwen is really serious about singing the melody dead on, never changing, it, I had to try to pull myself towards that thinking a little bit — which was very unnatural for me. But ultimately…
Q) Yes. I was wondering how you felt about that. Because I noticed that sometimes, she would give you that note but you wouldn’t do it completely. You took her advice sort of on that, but I could tell it felt like you were maybe going away from that a little bit.
A)Yes. I really respect her opinion on that and I think a lot of people might feel that way. But that is something that I disagree with completely and I always will. I always have. Because some of my favorite artists when they cover a song, sounds nothing like the original song. That’s the beauty of it. Because they reinterpreted that song and gave it a new life. Like Ryan Adams is a great example of that. My favorite song that he’s done is Wonderwall. And, you know, an Oasis cover. It sounds nothing like the original but it’s absolutely beautiful. And John Mayer – the reason I picked Free Fallin’ is because I wanted to do the John Mayer version of that song and when we got into rehearsal Gwen wanted to hear the Tom Petty melody. So, I ended up singing that song in a totally different way than I would have — which is okay, you know. I have to make compromises because of the situation. But I totally respect that way of thinking but it’s not my way of thinking. And people that love my music and my type of music would never care at all if I changed the melody of the song. They would probably respect it.
Q) Well that was I think your strength, was that your ability to kind of rework songs in a different way. It really made you unique.
A) Well, thank you so much. I appreciate that. Because I’m not the type of singer that can – like I kept telling them on the show, like I’m not Mr. Power Note, you know? I’m not Mr. Big Note, like theatrical singer. This is why I as kind of like happy and surprised that I made it so long in the show. But like that’s what a lot of people think makes a great singer. And in my opinion, you don’t have to be acrobatic with your voice to be a great singer. You just have to be honest and original and true to what you feel. And that’s the most important thing for me in music and I’ll always feel that way. So, I don’t regret changing things up at all because if I didn’t, then no one would’ve cared about me at all. I would never have made it this far. And to be quite honest, Gwen never would’ve turned around. If I sang Wild World the exact way that Cat Stevens sang Wild World, I guarantee none of those coaches would’ve turned around. Because it would’ve sounded awful. And so, while I 100% respect Gwen’s opinion and her guidance, it’s not a part of who I am. It’s not the way that I sing.
Q) So, what’s next for you now? You’re on your way back home. And so, what do you do now?
A) Next, I got a lot of stuff planned. I’m going to be playing a ton of shows. You know, I got a lot of meetings to set up. And things are going to be already are on fire for me. I came here. I turned down multiple record deals before I came to The Voice. And I really a record deal doesn’t mean success. A record deal, it has to be the right deal, you know? And so fortunately for me, I’ve been able to achieve a pretty good level of success on my own with no money, no budget, no team around me. Like before I came to The Voice, I already had millions of plays in the last year of my own music on Spotify and thousands of downloads of my original music on iTunes. So I’m just going to continue with what I was doing because it was working. People connect to my songs. And you know, I’m so grateful to The Voice because I was able to reach a huge audience and now I have them in my – I have their attention. So, I’m going to continue to try to make everybody proud and be me and sing songs that I wrote about my life and songs that I love and put 100% of me into it and just see where it takes me. And I know that it’s going to continue to take me from stage to stage.
Q) So Troy, Mark and yourself landed in the bottom two last night after your coaches had to save you during the live playoff. So, I’m wondering if you really think that’s a coincidence, considering you were both saved and then ended up in the bottom two. Do you think like the saved artists are naturally maybe at a disadvantage now, which would include TSoul and Stephanie because they have to work harder for votes? Or do you think the results were a direct reflection on Monday night’s performances?
A) I don’t think it has a direct reflection of performances. I think a lot of it has to do with popularity on social media. And, you know, Mark is pretty popular on social media. But so is TSoul and Stephanie [Rice]. And I think I had a really strong performance. I’m not going to compare myself to anybody. I don’t know. It’s a kind of – because the voting rules changed so much it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen. But like I said before, I know people connected with my performance. It’s still number one on the rock charts and I think it’s still in the top 100 on the overall as we speak. And you know, that’s a clear indication that people connected with my performance. I think that I might – because of the fact that I wasn’t able to really let people in on who I am, maybe they didn’t connect with my personality on the show because they didn’t quite see me for who I am. But, you know, it’s all good because it all comes to an end at some point. And I’m happy that I reached my goal getting into the top 12 and letting people hear who I am.
Q) I’m also wondering what Gwen said to you after you were eliminated and if you got any advice from any of the other coaches?
A) Yes. Gwen, she basically just said she was so happy that I picked her and she couldn’t believe that I picked her from the beginning, and that she believes in me and loves my voice and believes in me as an artist and that she’s going to be following my journey. And that meant a lot to me because it’s just, you know, as much as you know that it all comes to an end — and I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty sad — it was a pretty sad moment. And I said earlier I feel like I got dumped on prom night. But like if NBC was my date and Gwen was the cool teacher that like pulled me into the teacher’s lounge to let me cry secretly. It’s not like I was emotional because it’s the biggest stage on planet Earth. And what Gwen said to me, there’s a lot of stuff that Gwen said to me in the blind audition that didn’t make the show. And she really fought for me very hard and she said she believed me and her whole career came down to gut feeling. And she had a gut feeling that we were meant to work together. And that really meant a lot to me. And I believe that that’s true because I don’t know how I would have survived on other teams because there is a lot of competition this season. And Gwen believed in me and she gave me the shot to be in the top 12 where there wouldn’t have been this spotlight on me right now if I wasn’t in the top 12. Even though I’m going home, I’m feeling so much love from everybody and support. And I went out with a bang, like I’m proud of what I did. I’m really proud of that performance and I’m proud that I picked Gwen. And I really know that I made the right choice.