Brittany's 'The Voice' Blog: Interviews With Monday Night's Artists!
March 13th, 2012 11:00am EDT
Here's the latest on and around NBC's The Voice: hear what Juliet Simms, Kim Yarbrough and Lee Koch had to say before their battle round performances!
If you missed any of last night's battles, you can read my recap here.
Team Cee Lo / Twitter: @JulietSimmsALL
Don't let appearances fool you: Team Red Zone's rocker Juliet Simms is surprisingly sweet and outgoing, even if the above picture suggests that she might beat you up for looking at her funny. She will not. She is more likely to make you laugh with how funny and approachable she is.
"This is all I've ever done my entire life. This is my huge passion," she told me. That passion came through in her blind audition version of 'Oh! Darling,' which had coach Adam Levine singing along with her. Although Adam and Christina fought over her, she elected to choose Cee Lo as her coach. Some people have asked her why she didn't choose Adam, since he's so good-looking. "That's not why you choose a coach!" she explained with a laugh.
"I was up there for like twenty minutes," she elaborated, "and Cee Lo, there was something telling me to go with him. He just pressed all the right buttons," pun not intended.
Cee Lo's huge persona didn't deter Juliet whatsoever. "He is a huge, larger than life figure, but that's what makes him such a great coach. It's like he knows everything. He's just got so much knowledge. That translates well into teaching people," she said, as we joked that she could call him up to answer unrelated questions. "Can you pair feathers and sparkles together? He would be able to answer that," she quipped.
You can also add her to the list of people who weren't sure about reality TV until they experienced what The Voice is and what it stands for.
"I'm not gonna lie, when I first got presented with the idea, I was very hesitant, until I watched season one and it was just so different from anything I've ever seen," she told me. "You're getting to go and show America who you are as an artist. You might go home but you're still part of that team and part of something that's so awesome."
"They take people who don't fit the mold. You don't have to have some crazy voice. You have to just be yourself," she continued. In Juliet's eyes, The Voice remains a unique experience among reality shows: "I don't want to name any names, but I was watching a show the other day, and where's the class? It just rubbed me the wrong way."
Thankfully, Juliet found the show that was right for her, and after she outsung Sarah Golden this week, we'll see her at the live shows next month. Will she be The Voice? She doesn't know, but she's certainly got her eyes on the prize.
"I'm mainly focused on winning," she told me. "And stealing Cee Lo's cat. The cat's frickin' awesome."
Look out, Purrfect!
Download Juliet's solo version of "Stay With Me."
Team Adam / Twitter: @kimyarbrough
If I was asked to talk about people from this season whom I enjoy not just as artists, but as people, Kim Yarbrough would be near the top of that list. Yes, mention is always made of how she is one of the oldest performers in the competition, but who cares? Kim is what we mean when we throw out that phrase "age is just a number."
For one, she's obviously talented to still be in the competition, after going up against Whitney Myer, who got all four coaches to turn for her in blind auditions. It was a pairing that surprised everyone, but Kim's experience helped her edge out Whitney to gain a spot in the live shows. It's hard to believe that she's tried out for other shows and never gotten a callback.
For two, Kim is just a great person to be around. She comes to the table not only with that experience, but with such a positive outlook, especially when you factor in everything she's been through. She knows who she is and what she stands for, and has such a wonderful energy about her. Thank heaven that Adam Levine hit his button and got this lady on his team.
"I've never been through a process like this," Kim told me. "This has been the most amazing, humane process of any audition I've ever done. We're treated like superstars from the very beginning, and I'm like, who does that? I'm left speechless by the whole thing."
"It's been great being on Adam's team," she confided, "because he really has a strategy for everything that he does. He doesn't just have a strategy for winning The Voice. This is his M.O. In this industry, nothing is really a coincidence. No one's an overnight success. Every bit of it is planned. You really have to set yourself up for success, and he does that. It's refreshing to see that somebody's not going to lie to you and say, 'I just happened up here.'"
Kim knows that first-hand, and as such, the newfound attention she's received from being on the show is something she appreciates. "It's very validating and very cool to know that people are watching your journey. It makes me know that this is transcending my little life. It's really about a much bigger picture."
Describing herself as someone who likes to "live in the moment," she's vastly enjoying her experience on The Voice. "The most fun is getting to know the other artists and people on my team, and just being on that damn stage. Being on that stage in front of the entire world. There's no describing it. It's the most exhilarating feeling in the world. I truthfully feel like I've already won because getting on that stage, performing for these four superstars and an audience of people on a hit TV show, you can't ask for more than that!"
So what kind of music would you find on Kim's playlist or in her car? "You would find a lot of Michael Jackson. You would find a copy of every recording that man ever did," she told me. "You would find a lot of Jill Scott. I have all of her albums. You would find a lot of classical music. And you'd also find some rap. But mostly, you'd find Michael Jackson. And I do have to say, Songs About Jane is my favorite Maroon 5 album, and 'Moves Like Jagger' is my favorite song of the moment."
In that case, Kim obviously fits perfectly working with the front man of Maroon 5, and I'm certainly thrilled to have her representing my team.
Download Kim's solo version of "No More Drama."
Team Christina / Twitter: @LeeKochMusic
I give Lee Koch a gold star, because he and I (and season one's Xenia, for that matter) all come from the same hometown. There's an amount of pride that comes with seeing where I come from represented not once, but twice at what I consider an elite level of competition.
Plus, Lee has a guitar and a harmonica. How can you not like a guy who plays the guitar and a harmonica in the same song? Who brings his wife with him on interviews? And, as Cee Lo Green himself pointed out, kind of looks like Jesus in the right lighting?
He might have lost out to Lindsey Pavao in the battle rounds, but Lee proved that he could sing Bob Dylan (in his blind audition) and Nirvana (in the battle). Not bad for a guy who didn't really know what he was getting himself into.
"I wasn't familiar with it and I still am being updated on how it's supposed to work," he confessed. It turns out we have season one to thank for his presence on the show: "I got an email from the guy who manages Dia Frampton. His girlfriend saw a show and bought a CD, and so he heard the CD and thought I might fit on the show. He tried to convince me to do it and I said no [but] we didn't really have much to lose."
Though he isn't sure he'd try out for another reality show, Lee stressed that "I'm very grateful for the whole opportunity to not only get out in front of millions of people, but to meet the people that I've met. Even on the production side of things, really good people."
"I came out of the blind audition with a lot of really good friends. If you're toward the end of the auditions, you have to wait a little longer, and you're bonding with all these people who are going through the same thing," he explained. "I've become a big fan of a lot of these musicians. Jamar [Rogers] was awesome. Whitney was awesome. Justin Hopkins was my roommate. Anthony Evans was one of my roommates. I got to hear a wide array of huge talent."
It almost feels like Lee's naivete toward the phenomenon that is singing competitions has ended up being a strength for him. All he wants to do is be a musician, and he doesn't see himself any differently even now. He isn't blinded by the attention, or already plotting how to use it to get ahead, or even that worried about the process. He's content to simply show up and sing, and even his future plans aren't that lofty.
"I've thought about what I'd like to do after, and really it's just to try and get consistent gigs," he told me. "Now I think it'll be a lot easier to call a venue up. I'm just hoping to actually make a career out of this. Be with my wife as much as possible and provide for a family."
Here's to hoping The Voice opens some doors for him, and the next time he comes back to Temecula, it's because he's making a swing through while working on his new career.
Download Lee's version of "Like A Rolling Stone."
Read on for news updates and this week's Voice calendar...
There's both good news and bad news in Voice buzz this week. The good news is that Cee Lo Green has announced a Las Vegas residency. He'll bring his act to Sin City, following the likes of Celine Dion, Elton John and Barry Manilow. The show will be called "Loberace," which is perfect for Cee Lo, and start at Planet Hollywood on August 29. You can find more details at Billboard.
But there's sad news out of the Maroon 5 camp (well, depending on how you look at it): the band issued a statement saying that keyboardist, background vocalist and co-songwriter Jesse Carmichael would be stepping away from the group in order to pursue other interests.
The band still plans to complete work on their upcoming fourth album and take it on tour (when depending on if NBC will bring The Voice back for season three in the fall or wait until next year). I certainly wish Jesse all the best, but at the same time, wish for his quick return to Maroon 5, which won't be the same without him.
It was also announced that Adam will be debuting his own fragrance, called (what else?) '222.' It'll come out for both men and women, and in various sizes and gift sets, starting in May 2013...so you've got awhile to wait. I'll be over here with my '222' by First Act guitar.
Meanwhile, you can still see Adam working on his golf swing on Golf Channel's The Haney Project, which airs Mondays opposite The Voice but also re-airs during the week (check your local listings). I can't golf and don't watch it on TV, but the show's worth a look just to see Adam's colorful (as usual) reactions on the course.
In season one artist news, Team Christina's Cherie Oakley and Team Blake's Patrick Thomas have collaborated on a new single, which you can download on iTunes, and Vicci Martinez's highly anticipated new album finally has an Amazon pre-order listing, though the release date there has yet to be updated.
Here's what's going on around the country:
March 13, 2012
Blake Shelton and Dia Frampton at Rabobank Arena (Bakersfield, CA) (tickets)
Javier Colon at Fargo Theatre (Fargo, ND)
March 14, 2012
Blake Shelton and Dia Frampton at Reno Events Center (Reno, NV) (tickets)
March 15, 2012
Blake Shelton and Dia Frampton at Power Balance Pavilion (Sacramento, CA) (tickets)
March 16, 2012
Blake Shelton and Dia Frampton at HP Pavilion (San Jose, CA) (tickets)
Rebecca Loebe is a panelist at SXSW (Austin, TX)
March 17, 2012
Blake Shelton and Dia Frampton finish their Well-Lit & Amplified Tour at Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas, NV)
March 18, 2012
Dia Frampton at Troubadour (West Hollywood, CA) (tickets)
March 19, 2012
Tje Austin at Waterloo Records (Austin, TX)
March 20, 2012
Beverly McClellan opens for B.B. King at Gillioz Theatre (Springfield, MO)
I'll see you next Tuesday, but for updates on all things Voice 24/7/365, visit my blog BigRedChairs.com. You can also follow @bigredchairs on Twitter and visit Facebook.com/bigredchairs.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.
Related: Adam Levine, Beverly McClellan, Blake Shelton, Carson Daly, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Christina Milian, Javier Colon, Jesse Carmichael, Maroon 5, Patrick Thomas, Rebecca Loebe, The Voice, Tje Austin, Vicci Martinez, Starpulse Exclusives, Interviews, Television, Music, Rock Music, Rap/Hip-Hop, Country, Pop, Reality, Interviews, NBC, Indie Music, Power Pop, Alternative
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Photo Credits: NBC