The Voice Season 6 Blind Auditions – Interview with the New Team Members

The Voice Season 6 Blind Auditions Interviews
Christopher Hawkes and Miranda Dawn perform on 'The Voice' (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
Season six of NBC’s The Voice kicked off on Monday, February 24, 2014 with Blake Shelton and Adam Levine welcoming back into the fold season four coaches Shakira and Usher. And just as with previous seasons, The Voice coaches had to battle it out to secure the best singing talent possible for their individual teams. Season six blind audition contestants were an incredibly talent group, and coaches even went as far as to show off a Grammy (Usher) or their abs (also Usher) or ask for a date (Shakira) in order to win over singers.
By the end of the first show of season six, Team Adam was comprised of Christina Grimmie and the duo Dawn & Hawkes while Team Shakira snagged Jeremy Briggs and Kristen Merlin. Team Usher and his abs won over Biff Gore, Bria Kelly, and T.J. Wilkins, and Team Blake landed second-time auditioner Jake Worthington. The day after the auditions aired all of The Voice episode one team members (with the exception of Worthington) took part in a conference call to discuss their The Voice experiences thus far.
Have you searched yourself on Google since the blind audition?
Bria Kelly: [Laughing] “I have.”
How does that make you feel?
Bria Kelly: “It’s ridiculous! Everything’s kind of blown up, mainly my Twitter. I started off with 3,000 yesterday and somehow today I’m up at 10,100 followers, so that’s cool. Google, there’s tons of articles and everything that I haven’t really gotten a chance to read all of them but it’s surreal at this point.”
Going into the audition you mentioned that you were hoping to pick Adam as your coach if he turned around. Did Usher showing you his Grammy and talking about getting you one help change your mind? Why did you go with Usher?
Bria Kelly: “[…]I was so happy when they turned around and then once everybody started talking, you know, Shakira, Adam and Blake they were all like bickering with each other and everything and doing their normal thing, and Usher was just like completely stoned-faced, like concentrated on me on stage and he seemed really, really, really interested. He was just like really into me as a performer.”
It was just like the things he said. I remember him saying while he was on stage, he’s like, I’m going to focus all my attention where it needs to be on you.’ And he pointed to the other judges or coaches and he was like, ‘Not on them – on you.’ And so that’s what kind of sold me.”
Christina and for Bria, you both have had some success in the industry. You’ve achieved a lot on your own, what do you hope to get from this experience with The Voice?
Christina Grimmie: “Well for me, I mean I’m like Internet-based, you know, that’s kind of where I came from and I just feel like there’s only so much you can do with putting your content out on the Internet. National television, it’s just a whole different ballgame; it’s a broader audience and that’s just not something that I’ve ever been able to do online. No matter how long I’ve been doing it, what I’m doing online it’s like nothing compared to what one night of being on television can do. So I’m kind of hoping that, you know, if I really stay on the show that it can kind of really show who I am as an artist and who I am as a performer and hopefully people just vote for me and whatnot.”
Bria Kelly: “I definitely want to be able to cut a record to be honest with you. I don’t have the money to be able to do that at this point, I want to work with songwriters, get my own music out there. I have been on bigger stages before but just like locally, I haven’t like toured or anything. I would like to get the chance to be able to do that and, you know, maybe meeting Christina Grimmie along the way because I hear she’s like really awesome. [Laughing] No, I just want to be able to cut a record and I just want to get my own music out there and have people download it on iTunes. I just want to be able to make my own music and have people be happy with it.”
What compelled you to take it to The Voice?
Miranda Dawn: “It seemed like a natural progression for us. There was a lot of serendipity around our whole musical relationship and our relationship with each other, and this kind of fell in line with that. A lot of things sort of transpired that kind of drew us to it. It’s a show that’s build on positive energy and we could kind of feel that from the start and it gave us sort of the courage to pursue it.”
What was it about “I’ve Just Seen a Face” that made you say this is the one we have to introduce ourselves with?
Miranda Dawn: “To be honest, we have a lot of history individually with the Beatles, both of our dads played music for us growing up and introduced us to the Beatles and so we have that in common when we first started playing together. And that song in particular was really cool because the story kind of matches our story a little bit. It’s got some of the elements genre-wise that we like to incorporate into our own music – into our original music. It’s got a little bit of Country in it and it’s just kind of a classic theme. It’s always intimidating, especially to take on something like a Beatles song, so we just tried to sort of make it our own by adopting a story, if that makes since.”
Does the song reflect the story of how you met?
Chris Hawkes: “Right. So when I first saw Miranda it was kind of a cross a smoky dance floor. I first saw her and asked her to dance and that’s how we met. So, yes, the story sort of reflects a little bit of that and we like that aspect of it.”
Miranda Dawn: “Yes it’s so funny. You know, 15 years ago when my dad was first teaching me that song on the guitar, if someone could have read a crystal ball and told me that I was going to meet the love of my life in the same way those lyrics were written and then perform that song with him on national television, that would have blown my mind as a young girl. And so it’s crazy to see literally dreams come true, I guess.”
Kristen, how does a girl from the Boston area get into Country music?
Kristen Merlin: “It’s kind of funny, I hated Country growing up and then as it kind of took a turn toward more like pop rock Country, I started digging in artists like Reba McEntire and Martina McBride really turned me onto things. And this is kind of with the storytelling that all the Country songs have is really what drew me into it because whenever – [even with] my own stuff – it’s kind of the same thing, you draw from emotions and things that you go through and you tell a story.”
The Voice Season 6 Interviews
Bria Kelly performing on 'The Voice' (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
Bria, are you open to moving your music in a more R&B direction?
Bria Kelly: “Definitely, my biggest influence right now is an artist named ZZ Ward. And what I basically want to do in my music now is a Bluesy vocally and then musically in the background I kind of wanted to have like and R&B feel, like something mainstream that can be played on the radio. I don’t want an old school sound because I know that’s not really going to sell, but I’m going to try to do something that really is different but good and relatable at the same time.”
Bria, is your heart still in Country and could you see yourself coming back to Country in a purer form after trying other genres?
Bria Kelly: “I honestly think the only reason I was singing Country music is I mean I love it, I love listening to it. Even the songs I write, they don’t sound Country at all and I can’t help that. They sound a little bit more R&Bish and so I’m thinking this is like more maybe my avenue of where I’m meant to go. And because of where I’m from in Virginia, Country music is like it’s huge and so I kind of felt like I was obligated to stay in this genre.”
What was your reaction when you saw how well you did on the iTunes chart right after the blind auditions?
Christina Grimmie: “Dude, that’s crazy for me. That’s kind of crazy, just the fact that like one night on a TV should could do that. You know, and just being so proud of what you’ve done and it’s kind of a confirmation that you’re supposed to be here and you’re supposed to be doing what you’re doing. And it’s just crazy, I’m just really blessed and excited to be here.”
Chris Hawkes: “That’s a good question. That’s a hard feeling to encapsulate in words because it was a very surreal experience. This whole process sort of feels like a blessing and a gift at times. And I think the thing that’s allowed us to stay connected to it – to have some string of connection – is trying to represent ourselves the way that we are naturally on our own. And we hope that that’s kind of what made the show – our part of that song and the show – interesting is that we were kind of representing ourselves, if that make sense.”
The Voice Season 6 Interviews
Jeremy Briggs on season six of 'The Voice' (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
Jeremy, Shakira wasn’t the most obvious choice so what did she say that actually made you change your mind about who you were going with?
Jeremy Briggs: “You know, I kind of went in just wanting to leave it up to the moment and listen to everything both of them had to say. I mean it’s, at least for me, going out there during the blind audition, it’s kind of a surreal moment. I got more of a vibe for each coach and I was getting more of kind of like an energy from each one them. I just felt that Shakira fought for [me] performing and she was more passionate about what she was saying. And I decided to just go with my gut and pick Shakira.
Because most of us are never going to be on The Voice and have a chair turn around, what does it actually feel like when that first chair flips around?
Jeremy Briggs: “You know, I mean going back to playing baseball and just kind of being prepared for a situation and any kind of outcome that might happen, I just wanted to give a good performance. I just wanted to get up there and do the best I could, whether a chair turned around or not. So once the first chair turned around…I mean it felt great, but I really wasn’t thinking about it too much. I know that there was a lot more of the song to perform still and I wanted to do the best I could throughout the entire thing.”
Why did you choose the coach you chose?
Kristen Merlin: “My original thought in my head was, it was going to be Blake and then this would be Adam, this could be Usher, and Shakira for some reason would have been my last choice. I think it’s just because I wasn’t so familiar with her […]. And then the more they talked to me and they kind of battled over me, it seems very genuine with what Shakira was saying. I saw the connection with her that I didn’t much feel with Adam. Not that I don’t think he would be a great coach because I think he’s tremendous, but I just felt like there was more pull.”
Biff Gore: “I just stood there for a long time just thinking there’s obviously choices. I mean Adam turned first and Blake and I know that those guys have the capacity to win. But my mind just kept going back to season four of The Voice and just watching some of Usher’s techniques and how he guided artists like Michelle Chamuel all the way to the finals. And that mixed with a little bit of prayer … I was praying and just asking the Lord to help me make the right decision. And what I landed on was Usher. He didn’t really have a lot to say but what he said impacted me. And, again, I saw he guided some of the other people in season four and I thought, ‘You know, if he could do that for him, maybe he could do that for me and help me get further down the line.'”
T.J. Wilkins: “Well it was a very tough decision at first because initially in my mind I first had Blake in my sights based on him turning the chair first. And it seemed like he really wanted me to be a part of his team, very much so. But I decided to go with Usher mainly because of his coaching style, but also he’s a person who I have studied my whole career and many aspects of my career I’ve patterned after his. And I just thought this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work side-by-side with someone who I’ve admired for years and I can actually get to learn from this person face-to-face every day. So that was the selling point for me to join Team Usher and I’m glad I made the right decision.”
Chris Hawkes: “Well that’s a good question because we actually went into it without really being prepared for who we were going to pick and we didn’t really go in with a preconceived notion. I told Miranda I was going to trust her intuition because she always has such great woman’s intuition. We talked about it – you could tell on that show we talked about it for a pretty good bit – and we decided that the things that Adam had to say to us really spoke specifically about the genres that we’re most interested in and what sparks our creativity as performers, as songwriters. I think that instantly gave us a connection with him and, you know, personally made us feel more secure in that relationship. And it coincided with the respect that we already had for him going into it.”
Christina Grimmie: “Well I kind of knew I either wanted to go with Adam or Usher if either of them turned around and mainly just because I feel like Adam’s the pop guy and Usher’s like the R&B guy. But I had a thing about what I wanted to do as an artist and Adam, I’ve just see the way that he has coached and I like his tactics. I like what he does. And aside from that just in the moment he just seemed like he was just wanted to take me all the way. Some people can kind of just throw you sales pitches, you know, like, ‘I’m going to win with you. I’m going to take you all the way,’ but you see that all the time and no one really takes them all the way. So I was just trying to read them a little bit and I just feel like Adam – the fact that I wanted to go with him originally and then it ended up he was really, really pulling for me, that together it was just like I had to pick him. And like Biff said, I really was strongly really praying about it the previous weeks before the blinds.”
Bria, why did you decide to audition for The Voice and not another show like American Idol or The X Factor?
Bria Kelly: “I can definitely answer this question. The Voice is an extremely nurturing environment and you can just tell that by being on the show. They don’t have any gimmicks, they don’t show people who are horrible during their first audition just to get a few laughs out of the audience at home. It’s definitely all about the music and that’s something that I definitely wanted to be a part of. It’s all positive and I didn’t want to be a part of something that portrays people in a negative way. And I think I made the best decision ever by trying out for the show because it’s changed my life in so many positive ways. I’ve met so many amazing people. Everybody’s so humble and it’s amazing to see how everyone just interacts. Everyone is so happy with this show as a whole and I’m part of that group.”
-Posted by Rebecca Murray

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