‘The Voice’ Season 10 Episode 4 Contestants Interviews

Owen Danoff The Voice
Owen Danoff performs on ‘The Voice’ (Photo by Tyler Golden / NBC)

The Voice coach Blake Shelton seems determined to drive Christina Aguilera crazy on season 10 of NBC’s award-winning series, and in episode four he found the best way to get under her skin was to buzz in at the very last second multiple times. However, despite Blake’s best efforts Christina’s been able to snag a collection of very talented singers for her team including back-up singer Támar Davis; Chelsea Gann who proved she has a huge voice singing Martina McBride’s “Wild Angels”; operatic pop singer Daniel Passino auditioning with “Marvin Gaye”; and Joe Maye who had the experience of a lifetime when Christina joined him onstage for a duet after his audition. But don’t feel sorry for the Mayor of Blakeville as Shelton’s been dubbed this season. Among those committing to Team Blake on episode four of season 10 were Justin Whisnant, Teresa Guidry, and Brittney Lawrence who sang Demi Lovato’s “Warrior” after finally getting the opportunity to perform in front of The Voice coaches after trying out seven times without making it to the big stage.

Team Adam’s season 10 team now includes Owen Danoff, the son of Grammy winner Bill Danoff from Starland Vocal Band (“Afternoon Delight”), and Matt Tedder whose bluesy voice and slide guitar made Adam turn his chair quickly. Brit Jessica Crosbie took on a Coldplay song and earned a spot on Pharrell Williams’ team, and Maya Smith’s rendition of “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” won over both Pharrell and Christina, with Smith ultimately choosing Pharrell. Following the episode, new Blake, Christina, Adam, and Pharrell team members took part in a conference call to talk about their experiences on The Voice.

The Voice Season 10 Episode 4 Contestants Interview:

Chelsea, we didn’t get to see your audition. What did we miss and how do you feel your audition went?

Chelsea Gann: “I was really, really, really excited to audition. I got nervous whenever I hit the stage, so that was hard for me to get over because it just all kind of kicked in. But there’s just an overwhelming sense of excitement and gratitude and such a blessing. And, you know, I love that I was able to sing Martina McBride. She’s literally my favorite artist and the number one artist that I look up to vocally so I was very honored to get to sing her song. And the parts that weren’t shown [were], incredible for me. At the end I got to chat with Christina a little bit and it was just an overall great experience. Like I said, I’m just very grateful.”

Joe, could talk about performing with Christina?

Joe Maye on The Voice
Joe Maye (Photo: Tyler Golden/NBC)
Joe Maye: “It was pretty exciting. It’s funny because a lot of people were asking me about it and it’s like I literally got so lost in the moment I felt like I blacked out. When I was watching it myself on TV, it almost felt like I didn’t know who that was, like I was watching somebody else. It was like a complete out-of-body experience and something just took over and I just got lost in the moment with her. And, it was everything. It was life-changing. So, I’m just so grateful that she shared that moment and made me a part of that with her.”

Chelsea, you’re from a small town in Oklahoma. How have you been sort of pursuing your music? Was there a watch party in Liberty Mounds, America?

Chelsea Gann: “Yes, Liberty Mounds, America. Yes, everybody came out to what I consider the focal point of the town, is a store called the Tigers Den. We call it that because our mascot for the school is tigers. Everybody just came out and it was amazing how many people took time out their busy day to do that. And how cool was that, you know?

Coming from a small town, like there’s nothing to do out here. The only singing I do out here, if it’s not in church, it’s at sporting events at the school. So to pursue it I literally just go all over Tulsa, do what I can in Tulsa as far as singing, collaborating with other people, other bands. I sing the National Anthem at tons of events most of them being at the BOK Center out here. And then I do sing out of town sometimes as well. It’s kind of hard here but it almost makes me want to work harder because I can’t let being from a small town hold me back from pursuing my dreams.”

Jessica, how did you pick that arrangement of a Coldplay song?

Jessica Crosbie: “I started playing that song as a cover like four years ago, and I always tend to take songs and slow them down and play them on my guitar. So that was just a song that I covered and I just felt like I’d gotten a good response from it from my family and friends, so I thought it would be a great one to do for my audition.

I always tend to make things more the singer/songwriter vibe, so I just [thought] that that would be good for the show. It was a risk because I guess I was worried it wasn’t the same as the original and maybe people would be turned off by that. But I’m really happy that they responded so well to it.”

You said you lost some confidence in your music and you were looking for The Voice to help restore that. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

Jessica Crosbie: “Yes. I think well, when I moved to America from England, I had come from a really small music scene. And then I came to Atlanta and I was suddenly part of a huge music scene. I think everybody struggles with comparing themselves and probably not feeling good enough when you’re around so many amazing people and it’s a daily struggle to just remind yourself that you are you and no one else can be you and you can’t be anybody else. So, it was just a journey of regaining that confidence and just letting myself be in that better head space about believing in myself.”

What is the first thing you do to get yourself ready to take a big stage like this in front of a national audience? How do you get over your nerves?

Brittney Lawrence: “You know, I don’t waste my time on being nervous. I think because being nervous is only going to make my voice even weaker. And the thing is like I’ve worked so hard and I’ve auditioned so many times, that it would’ve really stunk to go on out there and if I was super nervous, that would’ve really stunk, you know, and let my nerves get the best of me. So right before I went on, I just took a deep breath and I was like, ‘You know what? This is my time. I finally made it here and it’s my time to shine.’”

Daniel Passino: “I was just going to say I think it’s important to realize that – and I think everyone understands – is that we’re not performing our own songs. We’re performing other people’s songs. So, I think the best way to go about this — and I talked to Christina about this a little bit — it’s the idea that you’re a character when you’re performing that song and you’re basically that person. You’re telling their story. So I feel like I always try to get into that mindset when you’re gong onstage. And so by the time you’re on stage, you’re really not yourself. It’s almost like you’re acting, you know what I mean? You’re a character. You’re that character and you’re trying to portray that story to people.”

Chelsea, what’s it like being on Team Christina?

Chelsea Gann: “Christina – and no one can deny this – she has a legendary voice. She is probably one of the — no, she is one of the best vocalists that has ever existed and will ever exist. And so being on her team is extremely flattering for me because even though we don’t sing the same genre of music, she understands music itself. And to be taught by her and to feed off of pointers and to be able to just learn what she wants you to learn, wants me to learn, has just been a really cool experience because not everybody can say that they’ve learned from Christina Aguilera. I’m so excited with what she has left to teach.”

Daniel, you’ve been a member of the a cappella group at the University of Michigan. What other performing have you done?

Daniel Passino The Voice
Daniel Passino (Photo: Tyler Golden / NBC)
Daniel Passino: “Ever since I’ve been in college, I’ve been studying music at the University of Michigan and that entails being in choir. I’ve been in university choir here. I’ve sung in Orpheus Singers, which is another choir, upper-level choir. I’ve sung in a world choir festival in Portugal, just as an ensemble number, we did Carmina Burana. I sing in the University of Michigan’s Men’s Glee Club. That’s the second oldest collegiate choir in the entire world. I’m a member of The Friars, which is a subset a cappella group at Michigan and in Glee Club. You know, Michigan is just a great environment and we have so many opportunities for singing. We were nominated for a Grammy, actually, two years ago for Best Opera Recording.

I’ve always aspired to be a pop singer, but because of where I come from – I’m from the Midwest – and we don’t really have like that big market vibe. I didn’t want to go too far away from where I was going to school and talking to my dad and talking to my professors, they thought it would be best for me to start and study classical music because that’s kind of the foundation of music. If you want to be a pop singer, all music basically originated from Baroque style music, classical music, so I thought it would be important to learn how to properly sing, how to properly breathe, and how to properly act and do all of these things. That’s why I decided to study classical music.

The solo performances that I have had, they’re all in the Glee Club at Michigan and we performed at Lincoln Center. We performed at Carnegie Hall. We performed at Mormon Tabernacle. I’ve had solos at all of these venues, so it’s always been a classical vibe. So, The Voice yesterday, that was really something very new to me and it was so exciting to kind of get up there and do what all of your idols have done, like Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake. You kind of get to be who you’ve always wanted to be.”

Maya, what type of music do you typically perform?

Maya Smith: “I actually haven’t had much experience. I’ve always been a lover of music, but never necessarily had all of the resource. Like when I was a kid, I was learning how to play violin and then they like took music out of the schools. And because of like my severe shyness, I lack a whole lot of experience because I just wouldn’t get up in front of people you know, until just a few years ago. But the type of music that I love to sing the most is soul music, like all day every day. Aretha Franklin is one of my favorites. Also Lauren Hill, Erykah Badu, you know, those are the types of things that I love to sing. Right now I’m just working on the confidence building. You know, I have years and years and years to make up for.”

Matt, have you been performing as part of a band? Solo? Have you released any music?

Matt Tedder: “I’ve gone back and forth as a solo artist and band projects. There’s so much going on in Nashville and I just think it’s kind of fun to dip and dab and get involved into different types of projects. I think it taught me a lot about being in several bands and then doing my solo project thing and playing on the street, like all these different environments that I’ve been a part of have taught me a lot. But, I have not released any music yet. I’m very hopeful for it in the future. I’ve written a bunch of songs that I’d like to put out as a solo artist, but also with a band backing me up. I love playing with a band. But, you know, sometimes to pay the bills and things like that, it might be more economical to do solo act. But you can’t argue the fact that a band is just such a powerful sound.”

Jessica, you talked about Maroon 5 being a major influence but you wound up going with Pharrell. Why did you choose him?

Jessica Crosbie: “I am still and always was a huge Maroon 5 fan and Songs About Jane which is a huge inspiration to me. I went in there thinking, you know, anybody that turned around for me, I would be grateful to work with. But because I had been such a fan of his, I guess I was leaning towards that. But in the moment, when I had all of my options in front of me, I genuinely considered all of them. They were so gracious and wonderful in everything they said. But I just felt a very strong connection to Pharrell and what he said to me about never getting in the way, only to hold a mirror up to show me myself. That just completely swayed me, and I know I made the right choice.”

Owen, you had a lot of options. Why did you go with Adam?

Owen Danoff: “Going into it, honestly, I thought I was going to go with Pharrell or Blake. And then Adam was the first to turn around and complimented my guitar playing, which goes a long way with me. Everything kind of came flooding back to me. I had been a Maroon 5 fan for a very long time and I thought that we just had – I thought he really understood where I was coming from. I grew up listening to pop rock and all that stuff. I think it just was the best fit in terms of genre, so I went with my gut in the moment and ended up picking him.”

Brittney, you had had a choice between Christina and Blake and you went with Blake. Why was that?

Brittney Lawrence: “That seems to be the question is why didn’t I pick her. And to be completely honest with you, she’s my girl. I went out there thinking, ‘Oh my gosh,’ you know? I mean, even before I walked on I’m like, ‘I can’t believe she’s back.’ Like, ‘My gosh that’s so surreal.’ And I was completely convinced that like first of all, if anybody would’ve turned around, I would’ve gone with anybody because it’s just a privilege to work with anybody. But she is like my idol. I always loved singing her stuff. My first ever competition I ever won was one of her songs and I love her so much.

And then when I got to choose between Blake or Christina, looking back now I’m going, ‘Oh my gosh,’ you know, because it was just so crazy. You know, a crazy moment. I was listening to both coaches and what they had to say to me, and I don’t know. There was just something that Blake said and that’s why I went with him. I don’t know. It just was a great feeling and I was completely shocked myself that I went with him over her. I never thought I’d choose anybody over Christina. But, yes, I’m really happy that I went with Blake, you know? He’s a great guy and he’s hilarious and he’s an awesome coach.”

Brittney, this was your seventh time trying out. What’s the farthest you had made it previously?

Brittney Lawrence: “Well, the first mass calls with everybody, the open calls bring in thousands of people. I’ve made those a couple times. And then I’ve made it to like the second round a couple times. And then there’s multiple steps, obviously, before you get to your blind audition. That’s why there’s so many incredible people. When you watch it on TV – that’s usually where I would not get the call to continue and everything, which is cool. When I first started I thought yes, I have a chance. And then I would go out there and hear all of this amazing talent and go, ‘Well, I’d better work on it.’ So I feel like this time, this is the actual time that, ‘Hey, I can hang here,’ kind of thing.”

Maya, can you explain what made you go with Pharrell?

Maya Smith: “I knew that I was going to pick Pharrell even when trying out for The Voice was just a daydream when I was work. You know, when I’m at work just thinking about trying out for The Voice, I just knew that it was always going to be Pharrell because I’ve been a fan of Pharrell’s literally since I was a kid, since I was in middle school, since he was producing records with Neptunes and N.E.R.D. I’ve been a fan of his.

I love Christina. I really do. I’ve always been a fan of hers too, but unfortunately I already knew who I was going with, no matter what. So Pharrell turned his chair around and that’s who I was going to go with.”