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The Voice Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

The Voice

This is an interview with RaeLynn, Chris Mann, Juliet Simms, Jesse Campbell, and Tony Lucca on February 6, 2012 about the show The Voice.

Question:
How is the experience of being on the show so far compared with what you expected?

RaeLynn:
I would say this experience has just been really crazy and I didn't expect for it to be as big as it was. And it's just been so awesome and I'm just really super-excited about being on the show, the show is an amazing show.

Chris Mann:
It's a singing competition show and I felt like I was taking a chance really to be there and I think that the one thing I noticed right off the bat was how high the caliber of the singers was. So I just feel very blessed and humbled to be included among these other four people today and the other 48 people that we're going to see are equally as amazing. So I think the singing is what the talent is what I was the most impressed with.

Juliet Simms:
I'd never really ever considered doing a singing competition until I saw this show last season, and coming into it I was amazed to see how well they treated all of the artists and how much this really was about your voice and singing and music, and I was again amazed to see the amount of talent I was surrounded by. So all around it's been a really great learning experience and it's been very pleasant.

Question:
Jesse, what church do you sing at now and when, and what town do you live in? And my third question is, why did you go with Christina versus the other judges?

Jesse Campbell:
I sing at many different churches and I live in Los Angeles, California. And I've been here since 1999. But Chicago is home and Christina. I felt as though Christina would really understand my voice and she can really, really sing, because she's well-rehearsed with the dynamics and the riffs and the runs and things like that, which I spend most of my life practicing.

And I am in touch with my feminine side so I was really glad to be a part of what it is that I think that she is as a person, and I just felt like we would probably make a really, really good team together, so that's mainly the reason why.

Question:
Why The Voice over American Idol or X Factor?

Tony Lucca:
I would say basically a lot of meaning established, professional, semi-professional artists, have been standing by sort of on the sidelines watching these reality TV show singing contests, kind of come and go, and watching them sort of pluck kids out of obscurity and turning them into overnight sensations when all of us have been sort of digging the ditches so to speak.

And then when The Voice came along and we see that that's actually what they're looking for, that that's a part of the formula, I think it appealed to a lot of us and when we saw the success of the first season, it was more like, oh wow, okay, I think I could fit comfortably in this group of people, and I think that's kind of what it was, and we all showed up for the executive callbacks and the blind auditions.

It was for me personally it was sort a sense of relief that, okay, I knew there was stronger talent out there, it's just everyone was kind of letting the circus show kind of come and go and looking for, I don't want to say a more legitimate opportunity but this certainly seems like just that that's how the show is structured.

Jesse Campbell:
I auditioned for most of the other shows, but I'm very grateful that The Voice had an ear to hear. And that's what I'm grateful for, and being here, I see that what I'm really, really glad about is the fact that The Voice doesn't focus on the drama. This is not about drama and all the negativity, they really focus on the title of the show, which is The Voice, and that's what I'm most appreciative of. So that's why The Voice for Jesse Campbell.

Chris Mann:
I know that I, from a very logical standpoint, The Voice doesn't discriminate against age and they don't discriminate against accomplishment, and that's what Tony was saying. But I felt that in the past, there wasn't a place for me on these shows because they mainly focus on pop, young pop styles. And I'm certainly, I'm 29 and I'm singing classically. And when I saw The Voice last year, and it just resonated with me how much focus was placed on actual talent and not about drama and anything else that really isn't as important as the artistry itself. And so I was chomping at the bit to have an opportunity to be on that stage and let my music speak for itself, and that's why The Voice for Chris.

Juliet Simms:
The reason I wanted to audition for The Voice and give it a shot was I really noticed that what they are looking for is total and complete originality. And that's not what most of the shows out there are looking for. It's such a mixture of different styles of singing, different types of people like the, everybody is their own entity, there's not one person that's like another person on this show. In itself just even being in the top 48, they can't put you in another category with anybody else, you stand out on your own because there's only one of you out of the 48 like that. And I really love that about this show, that everybody is so original.

RaeLynn:
Going on what Juliet says, one thing that I love about the show is that like, you know you can test the numbers and you are who you are, like that's the main thing that I love about the show is what Juliet said, it's that same thing, it's like you're your own person, and that's what made me so excited about the show, that you can get a number, you're RaeLynn, you're Juliet Simms, you're whoever you are and that was my favorite part about the show.

Question:
Juliet, you're in a situation that's similar to the one faced by Dia Frampton last year where you had this band that was already doing some noteworthy things before this opportunity, and not only that but one of your bandmates is your brother. So for fans of Automatic Love Letter, what is being on The Voice mean?

Juliet Simms:
I do want to say that it doesn't mean Automatic Love Letter is over in any means. The band had been around for many years and we've put out a lot of music. And I do think that in the future I'd still love to write with my brother and the band and record music with Automatic Love Letter for sure. This is just another facet for me as an artist I've always wanted to go solo and pursue a career just under my name, and this opportunity came up and it just seemed like a perfect match. But it did not mean in any means that Automatic Love Letter is over.

Question:
Have you ever had a situation like this arise in real life where somebody on the Warped Tour has said something that ???I can tutor you and make you a star.??? Has that ever happened to you before?

Juliet Simms:
My first record deal, I came in as Juliet Simms and it was the opposite, it was ???Let's make you a band.??? And to operate under a name of a band and not your name. So I've never, I never really had this presented to me until recently.

Question:
Why go through with Cee Lo as opposed to Adam or Christina?

Juliet Simms:
It was such a hard decision because all three of them are such incredible talents and it was a hard decision for me because Christina Aguilera, you have to understand, like I've idolized her ever since I was a really little girl, like I have all her records. She has been a big impact on my life. And same with Adam and when I was up there, Cee Lo, it just he was speaking from his soul and I feel like he totally, totally got me and I went with my gut and you know, my gut was right in this scenario.

Question:
At what point did you know you would be on the episode immediately following the Super Bowl? When did you guys find that out?

Juliet Simms:
I found out a week ago. And I was, I'm not going to lie, I started dancing around my living room.

Question:
Tony, what was your life after the Mickey Mouse Club? And how did you feel about the reunion between you and Christina?

Tony Lucca:
After Mickey Mouse Club lapsed, I moved out to Los Angeles to kind of pursue the business a bit more. Had a little more momentum with the acting thing, just with getting some representation with management and an agent. Did some work for a little while, but then realized that I knew that if I really wanted to make it in music at some point, I was going to have to solidify that first.

Because there just seems to be a bizarre ism where actors can't ever really break into music legitimately, where the opposite is different. For some reason when you're a musician you can have an easier time breaking back into acting, at least that's sort of what I found. But music was always my first love, so I just had to kind of get back to that and do something that was a little more immediately gratifying. But the reunion was bizarre in a lot of ways, I mean obviously the producers and I agreed that was sort of an interesting piece of the story, so we covered all the ground in that leading up to the blind audition.

I just thought maybe it might be a little awkward if I won if I'm not on Christine's team if later on down the line she should have to pick between me and someone else. That might not have seemed appropriate. But the fact that it didn't dawn on her who I was until after the blind ambition sort of made that a little easier, I'd say, you know.

So the way she came in and went down memory lane, that was extremely flattering to say the least but it was really cool because it certainly wasn't solicited or prodded out of her. She her sentiments were very genuine and honest and it was legitimately cool to reconnect and - everything's going to be a little bizarre in front of a camera let alone six or seven so there's that element.

But I couldn't have been happier with the way it went down and just really grateful for her, Christina, to kind of been so gracious and flattering with all of that. Very cool.

Question:
RaeLynn, obviously singing Miranda Lambert songs, so risky in front of Blake. So what made you do it and how sure were you that he was going to turn his chair around?

RaeLynn:
First of all, I've been a really big fan of Miranda Lambert, I started listening to her when I was eleven years old. And I had her first record and I knew every word of it. And I kind of write like her. But I felt that it was right because she has inspired me so much and I changed the song up enough and I made it more my own and I felt like our voices are really different.

So I really didn't have a worry. But in the back of my mind I kept thinking about it, but inside I just felt like he would turn around for me because I mean I just really felt like he would. But if he didn't I was excited to go with anybody else, and I would be honored for anybody's team. But I really wasn't that worried about it because I was really confident because I love that song and I love her, so I was really, really excited about it.

Question:
How did you prepare mentally for the judges to potentially not turn around when you guys were singing on stage?

Juliet Simms:
That wasn't an option. I purposely didn't prepare mentally to be faced with having nobody turn around, because it just is not an option. You go up there, putting all of your fears and worries aside because if you let any of that seep in for one moment, that could be your biggest destroyer, that could be your biggest thing that makes them not turn around. So you got to go up there with full confidence and you know, just take it. And so I didn't mentally prepare to not have anybody turn.

Question:
Did all of you guys actually watch yourselves last night or was it going to be too much to sit through and watch the performance again? And second, if you were watching did it jog your memory about anything, any of the coaches might have said when they came over to congratulate you that maybe we didn't hear?

RaeLynn:
It was actually kind of funny. We had a watch party at my church, and it was so funny cause the local people came to my church and we didn't even know about this. Because I'm from this little, I'm from Baytown, and Baytown put me in the local paper that day, and I was like flipping out. And they were there watching me and it was like, half of the screen was me watching myself on the big screen. It was like the coolest experience ever. And I was like flipping out and it was really funny, and it was just, it was such a crazy experience. It was so awesome when I had Blake, it was like, I'm just like, I'm so honored that you sang this song and that you picked that, you're on my team, I'm so honored, and that was just amazing to me, so.

Chris Mann:
It was a really special moment, it's a very bizarre moment, I'm sure I speak for all of us to know that the whole country is watching you perform. I had my mom and my dad on Skype in Wichita, Kansas. I was in California with friends and it was just, it was a very special moment to relive that. I don't remember most of what happened in that moment, it was such a big, bigger-than-life, adrenaline-filled moment and so to relive it, it was an emotional experience but also was something that I'll never forget, especially watching the crowd reaction and my reaction and my dad swinging an air home-run swing, was probably my favorite part. Because I'll make fun of him forever for that. It was caught forever on television. It was a very special, a very special night.

Question:
Chris and Juliet, the two of you kind already have a built-in fan base, Chris from Glee and Juliet from Automatic Love Letter. Do you feel like it's sort of helping you or hinder you at all when it comes to being known for the show?

Juliet Simms:
The families that I've established throughout the years of Automatic Love Letter fans, they are the most loyal, loving, like most - they've become like friends of mine, all my fans. Like touring throughout the years and getting to meet them face-to-face and establish an actual real relationship with these people with Automatic Love Letter.

That's what I just love about my fans is that it doesn't matter, they support me no matter what and even just last night seeing what they said online and getting all the feedback, it's been nothing but total support and praise and it I'm just happy that they can continue on with me through any journey that I make may take on. And yes, so I haven't seen anything that's hindering whatsoever as far as my fan base.

Chris Mann:
I'm tickled to death to be associated with Glee. I was in the original Warblers group and actually, I did for a dare on Chris's first episode, I was on there with Teenage Dream and I also did the first sectionals, which was Hazel's sister, the Train Song.

And working on Glee is the most fun thing I've ever done up to The Voice. But I actually made a decision after the second episode, I found I had a tour planned for my solo career, and they wanted me to stay on with the group, but that would have prevented me from doing the tour that I'd already committed to, and I made a decision that I was going to put my dream of what just happened last night first and take a chance and walk away from Glee.

And I did that. And The Warblers then blew up and I felt like I had made a huge mistake, but having faith in yourself and destiny or whatever, but also knowing that you have incredible fans out there, the Gleeks, the Gleek fans, are unlike anything else I've ever seen. So I will accept and be thankful for any support that they want to offer me during The Voice and I certainly don't think that is going to be a hindrance, if anything I'm just very thankful for that.

Question:
Tony, it was fun to see where Christina came and said, ???Oh Britney had the biggest crush on you.??? And I was wondering, were you aware back then if she had a big crush on you, did you guys ever end up dating, and was your wife aware that Britney had a big crush on you, and what was her reaction to that?

Tony Lucca:
When I met Britney I was 17 and I believe she was 11. Maybe 12, and at that age that's a junior in high school and a sixth-grader so you know it was quite a discrepancy and you know, but there might have been shades of that were sort of obvious in that we were the older kids.

So all of the younger kids, when that last group of kids joined the show, Justin, Christina, Britney, Ryan Gosling, you know they played our little siblings in skits, and you know, they were just, I mean it wasn't like an A cast and a B cast but they were definitely we didn't spend as much time together as you might think. But they kind of looked up to us and they found out where we did all our shopping and you know they'd go out and buy similar clothes as me and JC. I was dating Carrie Russell at the time, she was also on the show, and I know that Britney and Christina just thought the world of her, and really looked up to her, and you know, so maybe in that light it would have been sort of maybe apparent that there might have been a crush or something.

But no, not like something that was ever acted upon or initiated or anything like that at all obviously. It was much more like little sister type thing. But no my wife got the biggest kick out of that you know, I thought it was interesting the way they cut back to her as if she was going to give some type of venomous reaction to something like that but no, my wife is super-cool and just got the biggest kick out of that, she thought it was great and you know, she's proud of her man. It was something that we all just took in stride and it's interesting to see how people are responding to that, it's pretty entertaining for us.

Question:
Jesse and Juliet, obviously you both got very strong reaction from the judges last night. I'm just wondering where did sort of your careers stall, why do you suppose that you haven't reached the level of success that you want to have prior to this?

Juliet Simms:
I first want to say that there's never been really a moment in my career where I've just stopped and you know like, waited around for the next thing. I've always been the type of person that had a few things going on and never let it get to the point where it was like, ???What am I doing, like, what's next????

And I have had a few record deals and I've been touring for the better part of the last ten years. And you know, it's an opportunity that came up it was last summer when I was on Warped Tour promoting a new record my band had made and we just released it, and this opportunity came up and again I'd never really considered singing on a reality show or anything like that, but you know I checked it out and I watched the show and it seemed like a perfect fit.

I'd always been told my entire career that you have a different kind of voice, you don't, you know I've never really heard someone that sounds like you, it just seemed like wow, this show is really meant for a specific crowd of people. People who maybe did never fit the mold or wasn't what pop radio wanted or what at the time when I was trying the major record labels I wasn't exactly what they were looking for because it wasn't something that they had heard before, they really didn't know what to do with me.

And so this seemed like the perfect facet to finally not be the one. Like I'd always been in my career the one on the sidelines watching my friends' bands get huge or you know other girls I was friends with, they would get signed and then their bands would blow up or they would blow up. Like Katy Perry, I remember playing shows with her back about five or six years ago and all of a sudden Katy Perry and I saw this opportunity and I seized it, and it worked out in my favor.

Jesse Campbell:
I personally just didn't know my worth. I felt unworthy. I was in my own way, and low self-esteem, and I just got to the place where I decided to do some things for me. And when I, you know was so inundated with being a daddy, and there were things that were needed and I couldn't provide, I decided to make some changes.

And I began to do my inner work and clear myself of the things that were keeping me grounded in the sense of not flying and soaring with the talent that God has given me. And as a result of clearing some of those things and getting rid of that unworthiness and getting to the root of those things I was able to dig deep enough to pull those issue up by the roots. And therefore stand and do what's being done today. So I got my daughter in and she's on board and she's supportive and her mother's side of the family moved in town and so I got a babysitter and I'm grateful for this opportunity. So that's pretty much the story in a nutshell.

Question:
Did anyone have a preconceived idea as to what judge they wanted to work with prior to the blind auditions?

Jesse Campbell:
I came here and I was really looking forward to working with Adam. I sang Adam's songs on Third Street Promenade and I would get the biggest crowds. But being up there, something just said go with Christina and I'm glad that I made that decision.

Tony Lucca:
I thought I would definitely would like to work with Adam, just because he's I think there would be a built-in shorthand between the two of us, because we've both sort of been through a similar set of ropes. But Blake is right you know he comes from the country side of the radio dial and the song and the craft of songwriting is at the core of that genre. And you know I thought it might have been cool to sort of forge a pact with him as well. But definitely I would have to say honestly that Adam would have been my first pick and was my first pick.

RaeLynn:
My first pick was Blake because first of all I love his life and I love him as an artist, and I've been listening to him forever. But my second pick was Adam, so for both of them to turn around it was really, really hard for me, because I love Adam and but yeah, I got the person I wanted, but yeah, I love Blake. So it was an awesome experience.

Juliet Simms:Chris Mann:
I was nervous when I went up for that blind audition, I didn't know if anyone was going to turn around for me. I hoped that, obviously I hoped that somebody would, it just because I was doing the Italian song and I didn't know if it was going to resonate. My first choice was to work with Christina, who is undoubtedly a powerhouse vocalist of my generation. And I also thought if somebody else would turn around it would be Cee Lo, but he's got a varied appreciation of music and he actually turned around first.

So in that moment it got a little sticky, cause I think that Cee Lo could do something completely original with an adult contemporary artist like myself. So I was very tempted by that and honored that he turned around, but in the end I had to go with my gut and my dream come true, that is to work with Christina Aguilera.

Question:
Now that you've made it to the stage and will become a mainstream artist, are there any current artists that you would like to work with that are putting out albums and performing on stage today?

Chris Mann:
I would love to collaborate with Josh Groban or Celine Dion, I know that she in a totally different area of music compared to sort of like the cool rockers on the show, but my dream has always been to sing on stages all over the world in a classical sense. So working with Josh would be amazing.

RaeLynn:
As I tell everybody and I think anybody would know this, I mean, to sing with someone like Melinda Lambert would be a dream for me, or like most likely her, or like Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn, to sing with like a legend in country music that would just be amazing to me. I've been I've been brought up on that kind of music. So, I mean, to sing with someone like that I would be ecstatic.

Juliet Simms:
I would love to sing with anybody from like Dave Kroll to Steven Tyler, to even like totally obscure, like someone you wouldn't put together a duet with Nikki Minaj or something. Anything from rock to pop, I would, you know I'd like to do something pretty out there, pretty, like a mix that you wouldn't normally put together or something with like in the rock scene.

Jesse Campbell:
I always said that I wanted to do a song with Celine Dion, but now that I am with Christina Aguilera I'm looking forward to that coming true. So Christina, and because of Cee Lo's versatility, I would love to do something with him. And because I've sung Adam's songs, I would love to do something with him as well. So, I'm open.

Tony Lucca:
I'd love to do something with Ryan Tedder or OneRepublic. He seems to have the Midas touch, he writes really great songs that come from a place of a songwriter. But obviously he knows exactly how to hit it out of the park on the radio as well. But someone like him. I'd love to maybe sing with Chris Cornell, I think that'd be kind of a cool thing, get on the edgier side of the dial, but I've always admired his voice as well. I think that could be a cool collaboration.

One more thing that Juliet kind of inspired me on is I think it would be really cool and interesting to sing somehow, somebody like me singing the hooks on like a Kanye West song, like working with Kanye. I did a cover of his song Heartless in my genre and I think it would be super cool to put that spin on a hook in a Kanye song.

Juliet Simms:
I of course would be honored to sing with my coach I thought that would be just a complete dream come true.

Question:
How many hours a day are they working you?

Tony Lucca:
The schedule is kind of hot and cold, really. Because when you're working the hours are very long but because, at least up until now there's been so many contestants, so many artists that the production grid is pretty serious there's just a lot of interview footage they need to get, a lot of reality pieces and little shots that all add up to these segments.

The long days when you are working but there are some times when you may have a day or two days in a row off when everyone else is kind of singing their stuff. Obviously I've been told that if everyone sort of proceeds on the show, things certainly pick up when there are fewer contestants, but that would make sense.

Chris Mann:
We definitely have long hours just because of the nature of the show. But it's been really fun having those hours because there have been 48, 130 down to 48, artists from all over the country in all the different walks of life in all different genres that we're getting to become friends with, and it's from a life experience has been really fun and really fulfilling to meet people like that are on this call. And then I'm not ever going to complain, having worked on shows like Glee before, I'll not complain about working long hours if this is my job, because this is the best possible job I could ever hope for. So it's all golden to me.

Question:
RaeLynn, one of the few things that we learned about you pretty quickly is that you graduated from high school a couple of years early. Are you like a super-genius or something and if so, what did your parents think about your decision to become a singer instead of a doctor or something?

RaeLynn:
Actually yeah, when I was like 15 years old I told my mom I wanted to start singing and acting, so I just started to go to summer school. I went to summer school the year of my freshmen year and then I went my junior year and I graduated two years early. And I mean it was pretty cool I got called a genius and stuff like that but I mean I'm not a genius I just really wanted to graduate early and I worked hard for it and I did. And it's awesome because now I can do my dream at a really young age and really go for what I want to do. I mean, so much, it is so cool.

Juliet Simms:
Rae that is so awesome. I didn't know you did that, I did the same exact thing.

Question:
RaeLynn, do you think you might go to college or did you graduate early specifically so you could pursue music?

RaeLynn:
I told my mom, I was like, just give me a couple of years to see if I can break into music and if I don't I'll go to college. My mom said, that's fine. And Juliet, it was just like no, you know RaeLynn, she told me that with a voice like mine, you need to pursue your dream until your dream comes true. Cause like I mean I've been so inspired by Juliet, hearing her story about how she's been on the road for as long as ten years, and that inspired me so much and then I thought this was really my dream and I'm not going to give up on it, if it takes two years, or if it takes, you know ten years, I'm going to go for it. And thank you Juliet for telling me cause I realized that this is my dream and this is really what I want to do so.

Question:
Could the rest of you just tell us something about yourself like that, maybe something that we don't know or something that we'd be really interested to learn about you, a job you've held in the past or something you studied, or another talent that you have outside of music and entertainment?

Jesse Campbell:
I do voice-over in animation, and I had a wonderful opportunity, I had a contract with one of the top agencies here in California, not long ago, about four or five years ago. But after I got the contract I was given an ultimatum. Either you continue traveling and ministering in churches or you'll be here available for audition.

So I chose to continue ministering. When the economy turned upside down, people stopped going to church, stopped giving, they stopped calling, and I ended up hitting the rock bottom having that rock-bottom experience that woke my ass up to the point where I am awakened to the place where I am right now, so that's it.

Chris Mann:
This is Chris Mann. I went to college for music, I studied opera in college in Nashville. And I was at making that decision what to do next, I graduated college and I started working for Bank of America as a bank teller, just to pay the bills and then used that job to transfer myself to Rockefeller Center in New York, that's how I was able to get to New York.

So on top of working at the bank, I worked as a waiter in a Mexican restaurant down in Greenwich Village and when I wasn't working during the day or waiting tables at night I was performing in New York. And that's how I eventually got heard, from that, so definitely did many, many jobs outside of music including those, but a lot of, I sang in church and classically in New York and then when I moved to LA did a lot of film and television singing as well.

Question:
RaeLynn, how did you develop your sound, your style?

RaeLynn:
I started singing at a very young age and my cousins have a Christian rock band, and so my cousin Leland just started working with me and I started just sitting in my room, singing, and playing guitar and writing and really, you know taking my gift in and spending time with my voice. And I spent so much time with my voice that I figured out what that's how I really found my sound is when I just took time with it and just sang every day and that's how I really, really developed my voice, so. It's really cool and I love the sound that God gave me a unique voice. It's awesome.

Question:
What was going through your mind when you were standing there watching that and was that a little bit of the reason why you went with Cee Lo, because he was neutral?

Juliet Simms:
Win that situation, first of all what was going through my mind was don't fall over because I was wearing literally eight and a half inch heels on stage. So I was already like dizzy from just the over - like the unrealness of what was going on. It was just like, it was a pinch-me moment, it like totally had my brother after I got on stage give me a slap on the arm because I couldn't believe that had just happened.

And honestly no, I was so flattered that Christina and Adam went on, I mean it's so - it wasn't as long as what it felt like, but it seemed like I was up there for like 20 minutes with them just bickering back and forth and Cee Lo just sitting in between them, like his white huge smile just grinning at me. I don't know, I felt like he was like this wizard just sitting there with something up his sleeve and that's why when Christina and Adam both gave their speech or whatever, I asked Cee Lo, you know what's going on in your head and it just felt right with what he said in regards to my voice and hearing the story of my life.

I was hearing the story of his life in my voice and I just felt like he had a master plan and I wanted in, I wanted to know what it was, and that's why I went with Cee Lo ultimately, it wasn't because I didn't think I wouldn't have been good on Adam or Christina's team, I think that they both would have been able to coach me greatly, and they would have both been amazing picks. It was just the heat of the moment and again, I'm very happy with my decision.

Question:
Tony, had you reached out to any of your former Mickey Mouse Club co-stars prior to doing The Voice?

Tony Lucca:
Yeah, I've was always really close after the show with J.C., who was also the singer in 'N Sync, I've always been in touch with Justin over the years. He totally random reached out to me a couple of years ago when he was putting together a few commercials for his 901 Tequila. He asked if I might want to star in one of his commercials.

I said, you've got to be kidding me, right, I mean, what was Johnny Depp doing, why did you call me, you know. But it was very cool, it was like his directorial debut and he was I think in truth he was a little nervous, he was working with David Fincher's crew and cinematographer and it was a big, big, big deal. And you know, he kind of said, look, I just would like someone that I know can handle this thing but as well, someone I would have shorthand with and be able to sort of keep the communication clean and concise and get exactly what I'm looking for and that's how it panned out, so that it was very cool.

But yeah, I mean there's a whole slew of other mice who sort of poke on to the radar. But I see Ryan Gosling all the time and probably put him out there. He's a man about town, and we seem to bump into each other quite a bit, and he's still a great friend as well. I'll tell you it's an amazing family to be a member of, it's really great. Lifelong friendships were forged on that show and you know, again, sort of taking Christina at her word for sure those sentiments and those recollections are very genuine and I certainly appreciate them.

Question:
Do you have any fun stories that you could share from that time?

Tony Lucca:
I don't know if I have anything specific, but there certainly was a temptation for some hazing. With the younger crop that came in. You know, they tried to mix it up, and you know, put us in dressing rooms together so that it wasn't just the young kids and the older kids, but they realized that wasn't the way. And so yeah, nothing specifically anecdotal that I could recall that would be sort of worth your time today, I guess.

Question:
This concept of leaving school early and starting your career, I think it's something that a lot of people would dream of doing. It's interesting. If you could each tell me how old you were when you finished high school, and in the case of RaeLynn it says you went directly from Texas to Los Angeles. I was wondering what kind of a culture shock that was when you did that. And in Juliet's case I was wondering what town did you go to, did you move from town or did you stay where you were when you started your career, or what?

Juliet Simms:
I finished school when I was 16 like Rae, and I drove across the country. What happened is my parents told me, we will help you in your music career and support you as long as you graduate. And I was like okay well then I'm going to graduate sooner than 18, and that's what I did, is I studied and studied really hard for about two years and I finished early. And yes I drove across the country from Florida to Los Angeles, and I played shows on the way and got to Los Angeles and it was like, it was so, I couldn't even believe it, just driving around, everything is so unreal.

Anyways, I started playing shows, like at coffee shops and stuff in L.A. and until I finally got actually noticed by an indie label. And I got signed and decided to go back to Florida and pack a few things and just moved to Los Angeles, and ever since then I haven't stopped. I recorded an EP with them and from there MySpace started and I started getting recognition on MySpace and then I got a bigger deal and started touring, making records and traveling the country, going back to Florida, then I went to L.A., touring the country, it's just been non-stop for so long for me.

RaeLynn:
I graduated early because I told my mom this is something I really wanted to do and she told me the same thing, she's like, ???Just please graduate.??? She just wanted all of her kids to have a diploma. And so that's what I did and when I was 15 I auditioned for this convention, and I went to this convention when I turned 16 and it was basically I was offered and managers there, and I went to this convention, and I got 25 callbacks from agents and managers for acting, and so I asked my mom if I could move to California, and she believed in me, she was proud of me for you know graduating early, so I ended up moving to California at 16.

It was kind of crazy you know cause all my family lived in Texas, not all of us are going to move to California, so I had a different person stay with me every month, so my mom would come stay with me for a month, my brother would come out stay with me for a month, my dad would come stay out with me for month you kind of get the picture with that.

So it was like when I kind of got tired, oh they're only going to be here for a couple more weeks and a couple of weeks and then they're gone and then someone else is going to come But anyways, I was kind of slow and I didn't get a lot of auditions, I don't know why, I think it was just because I think I didn't pick the right manager.

But anyways, being in L.A. I started writing more because I was just going to acting classes and that's when I played at a local coffee shop and then my manager heard me and I met with her that Monday, and she started taking me back and forth to Nashville and developing me and I've been writing music in Nashville with some awesome writers, and then I auditioned for The Voice in Nashville and that's just really how it all started, so it's been really, really awesome.

Question:
Could you talk about maybe what about The Voice was appealing to someone who had such ups and downs in their careers, both Tony and Juliet?

Tony Lucca:
It kind of the story's going to tell itself I guess it really lines up well for the formula of the show that you know, even some of the cases where some of the people haven't been at it for so long, to see them you know take a really huge risk like that and step out on a stage that big to go after it is, that's amazing it's really cool. But for the others that have been through it a time or two, there's just something about it like someone who that I think that viewers really gravitate to and they really want to see that sort of thing, they want to see the struggle and the plight of an artist, the struggling artist.

You know because it's the greatest shot of I won't say redemption but to see an opportunity like that unfold in real time or roughly thereabout, it is an exciting thing for people to watch, and let alone to be a part of I mean all of us can continue to go on at length about the feeling of having a chair turn around, let alone more than one in most cases it's unreal.

It really is like this huge you know, huge sigh of relief in a way, like okay I'm not crazy, it hasn't all been in vain these people are some of the best ears in the business and they dig what they're hearing and there's an amazing sense of validation that you get to see actually you know transpire. It's cool, man, it makes for great TV it makes for a great story and you know a good opportunity for a career, you know.

Juliet Sims:
Tony might agree with me on this, but the feeling that you get like after struggling for so many years and just ups and downs and is this going to happen and low morale to just try to pick yourself up all the time and you're wondering why, like why is this so hard for me, why is this such a struggle. And to finally get to be up there, and have these superstars turning their chairs for you and telling you that they want you, that they want to work with you and they want you on their team, it's the biggest, like, it's like closure, it's an acknowledgment. It's like, finally being acknowledged.

And it's all emotions run through you, from being like so happy that you're crying, like that's amazing when something makes you so happy that you're crying. And that's the feeling that I felt getting off that stage, was finally, it's like you're finally being acknowledged and noticed and it makes everything that you struggled for totally and completely worth it.

Chris Mann:
If I could add one thing. Having done this for 11, I call this my 11-year overnight success thing and I know that obviously everyone else has that similar thing. But for me, it took me a long time to sort of find my voice as an artist, in terms of what direction I really wanted to go, and I struggled with what I thought was cool and what actually I produced naturally and my maybe not as cool as I'd like to be.

But what the music business is so different now, and at least for me, I could never find my place in the music business. And I always dreamed and knew inside if I could just have a platform to sing for people, and have it and humanize the entire thing, that I would have a shot. And that sounds like what Juliet and Tony were saying as well, it takes away this whole element of what needs to fit into a box, and it makes it, what is good and that is why this show is so special because it allows for the crap to go away and just let the music happen. And we're very lucky that we have that opportunity.

Jesse Campbell:
I agree, I would just like to add a little something to that. We've all been through different things, and I see this as it's something that we had to go through to get to this place. Everything that I've experienced in my past, it developed character. And the character is what will enable us to stay and will remain where the talent takes us. And that's why I'm very grateful for this opportunity and this platform.

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