By Jamie Ruby
This week started with part four of the blind auditions on NBC's singing competition The Voice
. During the auditions Adam Levine added three to his team: Sharon Mathai, Karla Davis, and Nicolle Galyon, while Blake Shelton added four to his: Naia Kete, ALyX, Charlotte Sometimes, and Jordan Rager.
The group of contestants recently talked to the digital media about their experiences and making it on The Voice
NBC Conference CallThe Voice
Team Adam and Team Blake
Team Adam: Mathai, Karla Davis, and Nicolle Galyon
Team Blake: Naia Kete, ALyX, Charlotte Sometimes, and Jordan
February 21, 2012QUESTION:
Nicole, my question is for you. You're a classically trained pianist; as you said, there's not a lot of that in country music. So what is appealing to you about going into that particular genre of music?NICOLLE GALYON:
Well, I tell people that I never really chose country music. You know, I grew up in Kansas and when I started writing songs, I was writing what I knew. And that just ended up being country. And as long as I'm being honest, my music's going to be country.QUESTION:
How do you see piano tying into country music? Do you think it would have to be in a certain form of country music or what do you think that would bring to in certain country songs?NICOLLE GALYON:
Well, I'm not trying to bring classical piano into country music. I'm just trying to integrate piano into country. And, you know, I grew up playing piano for the Methodist church and every Sunday we would go to my grandma's house and our whole family would gather around the piano and at holidays we'd gather around the piano. And to me that's very middle America and very country.
And so I don't feel like it's a forced thing to sit at a piano and play country music. And if you turn on the radio, there's so much piano in what's out there. I just don't think that people are used to seeing a girl sitting at the piano singing about Kansas and middle America and I think that's what makes me different.QUESTION:
I was wondering, Mathai, if you could talk about the friendships you've made so far on The Voice.
Chris Cauley has already said he's more proud of hearing you audition than watching him.SHARON MATHAI:
Oh man. I love that guy. Yeah. It's been incredible. The one thing I would say about The Voice
competition that's so different from all these other competitions out there is that everyone here is so loving and almost mature enough in their artistry that they can have friendships with other people without being hateful or without being jealous or any of those.
We hear things that sometimes happen in other competitions, like arguments and fights. I'm sure they happen but I still got that loving, friendly vibe from this whole competition. And yeah, me and Chris are really tight. We both live in Atlanta. We do shows together. We write together. It's an awesome friendship that occurred because of this competition.QUESTION:
And you've already gotten a lot of new Twitter followers and a lot of attention even from some celebrities. How does that make you feel?SHARON MATHAI:
Oh man, I don't even know. I feel so blessed. It's kind of surreal to me because no one ever thought I would do this and I never thought I was capable of doing this. And I don't know, this is such like an affirmation to me, like I didn't necessary choose the music industry but this industry kind of chose me.
I don't know, it sounds cheesy. But that's how I feel about this whole thing. And all that attention and the love that I'm getting from these fans is awesome.QUESTION:
Jordan, I'm from Georgia, too, so of course I had to talk to you. And I was curious about who are some of your family influences and what is it about Blake that is so special to you working with him?JORDAN RAGER:
Some of my biggest family influences would have to be my granddad, because he's kind of like the rock of our family. He's the one that praised before the Christmas and Thanksgiving meals.
He's just the guy that everybody goes to. I still go to his house whenever something's bothering me and I can't figure out anywhere to go. And also my mom and dad, who have been extremely supportive of me. I look up to them because they've been great role models.
And as for working with Blake, just he seems like a really humble and really genuine guy. He just seems real. And that's why I want to work with him badder than any other coach.QUESTION:
So Charlotte, we wanted to just ask you to talk through that moment when all four coaches turned around and what that felt like.CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES:
It was so overwhelming having all four coaches turn around. I just wasn't expecting that. I thought to myself the night before "Oh gosh, I hope somebody turns around." So I was hitting a high note and my eyes were closed and I opened them and all of them had turned around. And I was just focusing on trying to keep in the scene of my song, which is quite depressing.
But I was so excited. And as soon as that song was over, I became a giggling idiot.QUESTION:
And why did you open ultimately pick Blake over everybody else?CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES:
I chose Blake because he seemed the most sincere and genuine the way he felt about me. I also know he's a big whiskey drinker so, you know, he reminded me of home.QUESTION:
You achieved actually a lot of fame before the show. You had a record deal. What was it made you want to go onto The Voice
and have a different kind of exposure?CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES:
That's a really good question. I've been in this industry since I was 14. So even though I'm 24 now, I guess I'm pretty ancient in the music world. I released a record on Geffen in 2008 and it did okay. And then I kind of just got down with the music industry and started working as a songwriter and kind of stopped being an artist.
And I got this opportunity to audition for the show and it really reminded why I loved to be an artist and not just a writer. So I'm super excited to be given the chance and the opportunity again to showcase what I can do and hopefully people like that.QUESTION:
ALyX, I was wondering how you chose your stage name because I know that's not probably on your birth certificate. I'm wondering how that came about with the capital letters versus the lower case.ALyX:
My full name's Alexandra so I used to just go by A-L-E-X, Alex, whatever. But I just wanted something different and something to pop, you know? So though the Y, you know, didn't really - it's not really real. So I just lowercased that and upper cased all the rest.
So it's simple as that.QUESTION:
Naia, can you talk about how performing on the street helped you prepare for a show like The Voice?NAIA KETE:
Gosh, that's a good question. I think that when you're performing on the street in a sense you're hoping that everybody who walks by turns their chairs and that they stop and listen, actually listen to what you're saying.
And so doing that for the last however long, since last spring regularly, and then I'm up there four or five days a week for at six hours a day, really helped me in that no matter what, just sing your heart out and if people like it they'll turn around and don't take it personally.QUESTION:
And Mathai, can you talk about what led you to pursuing your dream and leaving med school behind?SHARON MATHAI:
I was, two years ago, a senior in high school. Last semester I was working towards being in the medical field, being a doctor. I wish I had like a really cool story but honestly what happened to me is I just woke up one day and I was like, "I really think I'm supposed to be a singer."
I can't explain it but it was like this day transition. I completely changed in one day. My mindset on everything changed. I'd always been a nerd, I was such like a big academic. I put all my efforts and heart and time and everything into school and clubs.
And one day I was just like, "You know, this isn't what I'm supposed to do." So then I decided to do music. But I still didn't want to give up school so - it sounds really bad but I kind of made an easier way out of it and said I would do nursing instead of med school and thought I could do nursing and music.
And I even was enrolled in classes while we were filming for blind auditions. So it was kind of hectic but finally I decided to let go of school for now and just follow this dream because it's freaking awesome and I want to make the most of it.
And I don't want to take anything for granted just because my pride to like finish education or make my parents really happy because I'm just going to be happy in the end either way.QUESTION:
After the show you were trending on Twitter. How does it feel to go from nobody knowing who you are as an artist to trending worldwide on a site that big?SHARON MATHAI:
Oh man. It was - I don't even know. I don't have words. Honestly, I couldn't handle it for like the first 15 minutes. I just like turned my computer off, turned my phone off. I just hung out with my family...Because I couldn't handle the Twitter thing in the top bar or whatever, like the numbers changing every second.
It was so overwhelming to me, I couldn't handle it. But it was awesome. I mean it's such a blessing. I'm so shocked and pleasantly surprised and so thankful to America for I don't know, just like favor. It's really awesome.QUESTION:
I have a question for Naia. How does it feel to perform in front of such a huge audience compared to your street crowd?NAIA KETE:
Absolutely amazing. My street crowd has a special place in my heart because if it wasn't for the promenade and the people who supported me there, I don't know if I would have gotten through this last year and this new from Massachusetts to LA and have the opportunity of The Voice
But to have my audience be so huge overnight, there are no words. It's absolutely incredible.QUESTION:
Naia, you had said that you went with your gut when you chose Blake. Why Blake rather than Cee Lo? And by the way, your repartee with him was very entertaining. It was kind of nice seeing him get some of his own medicine back.NAIA KETE:
Well, you know, it's funny. People always comment about that. And at the time I didn't think anything of it. I like to joke with people and I like to engage with people in ways that are fun and funny and flirty and whatever. And I didn't really think anything of it and then everybody's like "Oh my gosh, I can't believe you said that." And it just kind of happened.
I felt like I had a rally great rapport with Cee Lo. But Blake was just - he was on his feet. He was so excited. And from the minute he turned around, he had the biggest smile on his face that never left.
And I mean you could see I was so moved by what he said. I was fighting back tears the whole time. And I'm the type of person to work with people who believe in me so much that they inspire me to be better. And I feel like that is what he did for me in that moment.QUESTION:
Karla, it says in your little bio that you chose not to work with some major record labels and I was wondering which companies did you turn down and how did those deals come about and how did you reach those decisions?KARLA DAVIS:
Okay. I was in this country singing competition called the Colgate Country Showdown in 2009. And through that was a lot of opportunities handed out. But the judges for that competition were all from major labels that were based out of Nashville. And I basically got a meeting with every major in Nashville with their A&R guys.
And I literally had just started playing music. I had no idea what I was doing. And I was scared to death and went into these meetings and honestly I didn't know enough about what I was doing to be able to commit to anything.
And so within a couple weeks I learned a ton. And honestly I think I just knew that I wasn't ready to step into anything that big. And now looking back I know I wasn't ready to because Lord, it scares me to death even now. I hate to mention names because I actually have really good relationships with all those people now and I wouldn't want to (unintelligible)...anything.QUESTION:
No, that's okay. So how do you think you've grown since then that you would be ready for a contract now?KARLA DAVIS:
I think when you're kind of thrown into this industry you have to learn a lot really fast. And I've just learned who I am as an artist at this point. Then I don't think I knew. I think I was just trying to get my foot in the door any way that I could. And now I've learned a little bit more about guitar even though I have no idea what I'm doing. I still just play by ear and thank God that it works.
But I think I know who I am as an? artist now and I know what I want and what I want to be. And every day I'm getting a little more confident. And I think I've mainly in this time just grown as an artist and as a person and I kind of know who I am now.QUESTION:
My question is for Charlotte Sometimes. I was wondering why you chose Blake over the other judges who turned their chairs around.CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES:
I picked Blake because he just seemed really sincere and genuine and I love that about him. And he seemed like a ton of fun. And he reminds me of my family. We're all big drinkers and crazy. We're from Jersey, so I felt like we could get down and dirty with Blake.
Rachael Shapiro: Are you working on an EP?CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES:
I'm always working on new music. So I'm always recording and working on new things. But no, it's not really anything right now.