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The Sing-Off Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

The Sing-Off

This is an interview with judge Shawn Stockman on October 13, 2011 about the show The Sing-Off.

How do you see the dynamic at play between a group like North Shore and their experience, as compared to the collective and where they are as a group?

Shawn Stockman:
Very simple. North Shore has been doing this for many, many, many, many years, so naturally they're going to have more of a cohesive blend and harmony structure that you only get from experience. They know each other. They probably know which parts they're going to sing before they even start a record. As a collective, they're new with being a group, so they have to take a lot of time figuring out each other's strengths, and weaknesses, and who can do what. You definitely see the difference because of the fact that the experience level it's one against the other.

And I have to mention that, like, all of the groups that are on this show, the cool thing about this show is the fact that none of the groups suck. They're not bad at all. So it's got a lot of them. Some are just better than others, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the ones that are better than the others. The ones that aren't as good as the other ones aren't good, and that's the great thing about this show.

Instantly you get pure quality from the first episode. So as we go along with the competition, you start to weed out who has the better means of diversifying with each thing we throw at them and with each challenge. And as it gets even more narrow, we start to figure out who would be the best representatives for the ultimate prize, which is the Sony contract and actually being recording artists.

You mentioned to Scott of Pentatonix about knowing when to sing. How hard is it going to be for some to find that if they haven't found it already?

Shawn Stockman:
That group is amazing because not only are they innovative, they take to advice very quickly. Their learning curve is fast. They don't have too many problems with understanding music and what it takes to make certain things sound a certain way. And I think a lot of it is because of just how they do it. They're off the chain as far as their mental thinking, and arranging, and things of that nature, so it's almost like feeding a baby. I mean, they just instantly consume it and they grow from it.

And as far as that is concerned, yes, because this is something that we were taught being in the business, because pure singing and knowing how to sing. A lot of times your voice can take on certain characteristics outside of just sounding pretty. You know, you can sound gritty. You can sound sad. You can sound angry and things of that nature. And I think that's part of the dynamics that some of the great artists, and only the greater artists knows how to master.

Scott is such a good vocalist and he's such a pure vocalist, that sometimes it doesn't necessarily take for him to sing, because it takes away from the story of the actual song. Sometimes it takes you to sound off key, or to sound like you're talking, or to sound like you're in despair, and things of that nature to bring across a certain type of feeling.

You've been with the show since the beginning. Do you find that you've progressed in your judging abilities? How do you compare yourself as a judge from the first episode of the series to this season?

Shawn Stockman:
I think I've gotten more comfortable with being in the chair, and in the camera, and just figuring out how to articulate what I'm hearing. And I owe a lot of that to my co-judges. Especially Ben Folds, who is an encyclopedia when it comes to music and just how to say certain things a certain way.

I still don't like to watch myself though. I'll watch some of the episodes, and then I find myself kind of fast-forwarding me. We all more ended up like ah, because I'm still kind of embarrassed by it to some degree. I'm not used to actually seeing myself judge, because I'm my worst critic. So when I feel like I've said something that I should have said different, or I thought was stupid or something like that, I fast-forward it. You know what I mean? In other words, I'm still learning. I'm still developing, as far as how to say what I want to say and say it in a very concise and in a kindly fashion, so I'm learning a lot though. And I'm enjoying it.

Question:Shawn Stockman:
It brings respect in a sense, where the diversity that we have is it attracts viewers of different kinds. So everybody who might not be a Nick Lachey fan but might be a Ben Folds fan will listen to him and say I like that show. Or somebody that might not be a Shawn Stockman fan but is a Nick Lachey fan will say, you know what, I like that show. So it's just of the things where it's all good, because everyone knows us for being musicians. And even with Sara, that adds the authenticity that honestly no other vocal competition has.

What's the most memorable date that you've ever been on?

Shawn Stockman:
Well the worst is one of my group members, who as a joke put me on a blind date with someone that I did not find attractive at all. But me being the person that I am we still went out. And we still I still took her to the movies and things of that nature. But needless to say, I cussed out my group member for doing that. He thought it was funny.

As far as the best date, honestly I don't want to say I'm high strung, but I know how to put dates. I know how to do that, because I put timing and planning to it, and things of that nature. I could tell you a lot of things that I've done with my wife that were just cool dates. Like we took a helicopter ride to Catalina Island, where we had, like, a certain section of the island all by ourselves. And we had a picnic, and we had music, and things of that nature.

There was another time where all she had to do was just go out with me, because I picked out her dress, shoes, accessories, the restaurant, she didn't have to do anything but just put on the clothes I bought her and go out with me. So because I like doing that. I'm a giver, so I like to impress. So when I go out on a date I like to impress my wife, even down to just spur of the moment. You know, let's go to the movies. You know, even now we'll just if we have a couple hours between picking up kids and other stuff like that, it's like, ???Lets just go to the - catch a movie.??? You know what I mean? ???Let's just go watch a movie and eat some popcorn, and then get something from Johnny Rockets.??? I'm from crazy elaborate to practical, right. I try to cover all of it.

So what tips do you have for if you're not a musical person, but you're dating somebody who's a singer or trying to get into music business, what tips do you have for being a supportive partner for that person?

Shawn Stockman:
I don't know, because to be very honest, me not being with someone famous was my design, because I'm a Libra, so I have to have kind of like the best of both worlds, so to speak. In other words me being the entertainer, I want to go home to someone who's able to talk something a little different. You know what I mean? And I don't want to be with somebody who's complaining about the same record company president that I'm complaining about.

It's just one of those things where I - when I'm home, I want to be able to talk about what she did today, and then I can tell her what I did today. So it's kind of like adding something to each other, as far as taking each other away from our respective worlds and enjoying that. But I guess if I had to give any advice for an entertainer going out with another entertainer, try to find a way to not make it about entertainment.

Try to find a normalcy somewhere, where you guys really shut down and there's no egos or anything like that because that's another thing too. If I was married to J Lo and I'm an entertainer she has just as big a ego as I do. And sometimes those things are going to crash. You know what I'm saying? Like, sometimes I might just want my wife to just be my wife and to not be the entertainer. And sometimes that's hard to cut off. And it's just natural. But I think that's the biggest thing; just knowing when to shut down that entertainer side and just be a regular old John and Jane.

I know you were on stage last year with the other guys from Boyz II Men. Do you have any other plans this year to get on stage?

Shawn Stockman:
We're talking about it. We're talking about finale options and ideas, and apparently we want it to be big and we wanted to do something memorable, and things of that nature. And we haven't come to an agreement just yet, as far as how we approach it, because honestly me and the guys are a lot busier than what we were even last year, so we're trying to figure it all out. But rest assured, it's going to be something special and it's going to be something cool. And I'm definitely going on stage.

I know a lot of judges and hosts from other shows kind of use this show as kind of a platform for either a relaunching of a career or other side projects. Do you have anything that you are going to be doing other than this?

Shawn Stockman:
Outside of the Boyz II Men album that's coming out October 24 on our own label and exclusively at Walmart, this is a very special deal. A lot of people kind of giggle and laugh when I say that, but it's a really big deal and we're excited about it. As well as just doing the Sing Off, I do have a production company called TRU SOCIETY that I'm in the process of shopping other TV deals and things of that nature. I've been bitten by the TV bug. And although I've always had ideas for television shows, this has really kind of pushed me into this direction a lot quicker. And hopefully you'll see some actual productions created under TRU SOCIETY in the near future.

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