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The Voice Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

The Voice

This is an interview with The Voice contestants on March 27, 2012 about the show The Voice.

Question:
Could you tell me what you learned from your guest mentor that you're going to be taking with you to the live shows?

James Massone:
I learned with Neyo as you saw on the episode I was kind of low confidence. He kind of built that up. And I had a lot of nerves going into it and we kind of worked on that and got over it and now I feel a little bit more confident in myself going into these live rounds.

Moses Stone:
One thing I learned from Lionel Richie was really to not hold back and he really just instilled the confidence in me in just singing and being on this show and really just told me to trust my instincts and really just don't be afraid to be myself. And that definitely is going to help out a lot with my confidence in the live rounds and really make me just go stronger in the live rounds. So that's what I learned from him the most.

Karla Davis:
Alanis, really, I think the main thing that she tried to get across to me was to really not question what I can do. She really kind of pushed me like she pushed me to go up two full steps and I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to hit a note. And she really just said what' the worst that can happen and don't question yourself and it really kind of helped re-instill that self-belief that I was lacking.

Tony Vincent:
I think it was really refreshing with my one on one with Babyface was that it was kind of like a little camaraderie where it wasn't actually like you need to work on this or this would help you but it was much more just sort of a comfort level in just being rooted in this song and you just kind of exchanging some creative ideas and options but more approaching this as sort of two-schooled performers which was incredibly humbling because you expect to sort of be guided or looked one way or looked at you may be able to focus on this a little bit more. But I was more inspired by it just became really comfortable, sort of bantered between two old friends even though we had never met before. So I think just that sort of experience definitely sort of reinforced the way I felt going into the battle and how strong I really felt about the song in general.

Naia Kete:
I think the biggest thing that stood out for me about what Kelly said was she told me that I have a really unique tone to my voice that's really interesting and unlike any other and I think the biggest thing is just to own that and find confidence in that and, yes, use that in moving forward.

Mathai:
I think Alanis like just showed me, her and Adam both just showed me that I don't have to change anything about who I am or what I am as an artist. I think what makes me is that I can just be myself vocally and just knowing that I don't have to change that and I can just be natural - and even personality-wise even character-wise in this whole thing like I don't change who I am because it's that person that makes me who I am as an artist and if I changed that I would change everything about what draws people to my voice, I guess.

Question:
Naia, what are your concerns moving to the live show? James, who's taking your place at the garage while you're on the show?

Naia Kete:
My biggest concern moving into the live show is just making sure that the nerves don't affect my performance. In both shows so far I have done really great in rehearsals and really impressed Blake and really impressed Kelly and then kind of going into each performance that's where the nerve kind of got to me and that's where I choke up a little bit when it came to the performance and my voice got a little shaky and that kind of thing.

What I'm really trying to focus on right now is no matter what I'm feeling whether I'm nervous or because I'm sure I'm going to be nervous, I'm sure I'm going to feel it physically and kind of try and figure out what I can do to overcome those nerves and still do my absolute best. And it's definitely going to be a big job but I'm working really hard and Blake is helping me and I think this time I'm going to get to show a different side of myself in the live performance.

I think part of why I was so nervous was because both songs were really geared for me which for me I had these high expectations about how good I was supposed to do. And the pressure kind of I got a little shaken by the pressure of just oh, my gosh, everybody's expecting so much, can I meet their expectations. And now I get to show a different side of myself and just kind of expand who I am as an artist on this show. And so I'm really looking forward to that and kind of hoping it will help to carry me through.

What I'm really interested in is I've been playing a lot with the colors and dynamics with my voice because there's something to be said in having a big voice and being able to belt out which is something I am capable of doing but what I'm really interested in and what really excites me about working with Blake is hoping that he can help me kind of find the magic moments in dynamics and being vulnerable and just kind of painting a picture with my voice as opposed to kind of just blowing everybody's faces out of the water with a belty voice which I love and I want to be able to show that part too but I think Blake can help me kind of just play with the colors a little bit and find those magic moments.

James Massone:
Going to the live show, my confidence is building up like I said again and I need to go in there like I did with the battle rounds and, I mean, obviously it's live and a lot of people are going to be watching but I'm trying to just get myself out of my head and be positive about this whole thing and just take every moment as it is.

My brother can take the garage if he wants. It might get some Joe Shmo off the street but my father does great down at the shop so I'm sure he's going to be wanting me to follow my dream.

Question:
Tony, after the song last night you guys hugged each other at the end. What kind of bond did you form with Justin because of the battle and the song itself?

Tony Vincent:
There were two gentleman that I really became close with then in this journey ever since sort of the last 200 assembled of us. Both Justin and a gentleman names Tony Luca who is still on Adam's team. And there was just a real sort of camaraderie kind of band maybe kind of situation that we all had and when Cee Lo paired the two of us together it was exciting because we'd get a chance to perform together but at the same time it was amazingly bittersweet because I knew one of us were going to have to go home and I knew, of course, I didn't want to be that guy and so that meant that I would have to challenge a guy that I really cared about.

Both of us were me getting to be a father and him already as a father of a two-year-old. Very similar in sort of the timeline of a father and so this meant a great deal to both of us. It was incredibly difficult.

Question:
James, how did you find a sense of confidence with True Colors by the time you hit the stage?

James Massone:
Obviously working with Neyo and Cee Lo helped me out but that song kind of grew on me. I didn't really want to be doing a song like Cyndi Lauper True Colors and I didn't think I could have done that. But in rehearsals and stuff I was thinking of the words and the words kind of meant something to Cee Lo and after making him get emotional over it kind of made me want to go out there and just make the song my own and do what I had to do.

Question:
Moses, it turns out you've got a really good singing voice beyond your rapping and you seem to be surprised by that. Have you done some singing in addition to the rapping like at school or at church, anything like that? Done some things so you could realize that you have a good voice?

Moses Stone:
I've sung on tracks that I've worked on throughout the years with my career but I would say I never pushed it as much as I'm pushing it now being on this show. I'm definitely surprised with myself with the vocal capabilities that I'm reaching now and it's definitely my coach, Christina, she's definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone and really making me try new things and really push myself. So it keeps me working harder, it keeps me practicing every day and getting better with my singing voice as well as my rapping as well because to me it all connects and helps.

Question:
Naia, you were talking about working with Blake a little bit. Did you know very much about Blake before this started and what is his personality like to be with him?

Naia Kete:
The majority of what I knew about Blake was what I figured out after obsessively watching last year's show. And I just found him so funny and so, I think people kept calling and like this papa bear over his team and there was a part of me that because everybody knows at this point that Cee Lo was my first choice going into it but there was a part of me that kept saying I wonder what it would be like to be on Blake's team and to be surrounded by that energy.

And so I kind of had a sense of it going in and I have to say I wasn't really surprised by him. I was surprised by how comfortable I felt around him. I think that he and I kind of vibed really well together and I love joking around and I love that kind of open, fun, funny but very positive. He teases me all the time over I'm a vegetarian and he's very not, you know what I mean? So I get teased all the time but it's in a very kind of almost fatherly very friendly make you feel at home and like you're just hanging out with a friend kind of way and I'm really grateful for how comfortable I can feel because of that.

Question:
Tony, there's no pushovers in the battle round but Justin had some serious chops, he had a lot of marketability. What do you think that said about Cee Lo's confidence in you that he thought that you could go up there and defeat someone of Justin's caliber?

Tony Vincent:
It just really reinforces the fact that I really believe that I'm with the right coach. I think he gets me not just in an onstage presence but just want I do stylistically. It really reinforces the fact that I know that I'm with the right coach. I think he gets me artistically, he gets where I'm coming from as a sort of theatrical kind of artist, something that is out of the box and large so I think that's it's unique and interesting because we were friends as part of this journey started for the both of us but I also thought that he knew that I could bring it and really told a story in a really communicative way that could connect with the audience.

Question:
You guys have obviously been on ice for a couple weeks now heading into the live shows, what's sort of going through your mind, how are you sort of preparing for this?

Tony Vincent:
Again I'm actually quite glad that this is not singing against someone or dueting but we the production caliber gets a little bit larger where there's some extra musicians, we're introducing some background vocals. It's going to be a little bit more of a really complete kind of solo performance and that I'm really excited about plus I'm not going to tell you what song I've been assigned but it's probably one of my favorite bands so I feel really comfortable taking this next step forward.

Question:
How do you think the competition has changed how you view yourself as an artist?

Moses Stone:
I feel like competition has just showed me even more how diverse I am and just how much that I can push myself in some different genres and really just making my own and kind of just interpret the music the way Moses Stone would interpret it. So I would say that this competition has definitely has just helped me with just being more diverse and trying new things.

Naia Kete:
I think more than anything it hasn't necessarily changed how I viewed myself but just solidified it and validated my artistry. I was basically singing and writing music since I could talk and this is something that I've always known that I've wanted and as an artist and as an artist who really knows and understands who she is and what she wants and how she wants to be perceived.

And the fact that I've come to this competition and found people Blake being first and foremost who has truly gotten that, truly seen that is just a great validation and truly, like I said, just solidified me and that really boosts my confidence and gives me motivation an extra motivation and inspiration no matter what happens next.

Tony Vincent:
My answer actually is quite similar to Naia's because I come from a singer/songwriter background before I entered the Broadway world so it sort of validates my desire to return to being an artist in his own right and doing his own music again. So it's been a huge encourager of just where my heart has wanted to be the past ten years.

James Massone:
My intent is similar to Moses' answer. It kind of opened me up to like good music. I probably would never have sang a Cyndi Lauper song or anything like that. It's growing me. I feel like I'm maturing as a singer. Throughout this competition it's fine that Cee Lo's going to be taking me more out of my box or more out of my comfort zone so I'm excited to see what he does to me and as I go on through the competition.

Karla Davis:
I think for me this has really been a huge kind of journey of self-discovery and seeing myself in a completely different way not only as an artist but as a person. I think Adam is really pushing me outside of my comfort zone and now I kind of like that. Like I really like sort of surprising people, surprising viewers and surprising myself and it's only been this huge booster for my confidence. And I think I wouldn't have gotten this opportunity anywhere else and I would never get to sit down in a room with amazing artists and find myself.

I haven't been singing very long and so now is the perfect time for me to really discover exactly who I am. And I think I'm grateful for that. And also it doesn't hurt to be surrounded by 23 other artists that are just incredible and I think if you surround yourself by talent like that you can't help but improve.

Mathai:
I think what I learned from all of this is how much I love it because I've always sung but I never really thought that it was something that held a spot like so dear in my heart that I would take it so far and just like singing and Karla said being with 23 other talented artists. And it's just made me realize how much I want to do this and how much I want to be out there singing and writing and just putting stuff out there for people to hear and benefit from. Yes, just realizing how much I really want this.

Question:
Tony, you did a great performance yesterday. How did you feel when you were performing Faithfully because I could tell that you were in your own zone. Is that how you get when you perform?

Tony Vincent:
Obviously as a communicator of a lyric you always want to be able to really embrace that story of whatever that lyric says to the audience whether it's self-indulgent kind of lyric or if it's more of a straight ahead rock and roll vocal. But last night's song was really special to me because it's really kind of the testimony of how I've lived the last 20 years of my life especially now that I'm getting ready to be a father and my baby's on the way. We're six days out now of our due date . I know what it's like to be away from the person that's your lover, that you would give your life for however this career path that you've chosen pulls you all away from each other. So the song really resonated with me.

Question:
Naia, I know you're a reggae artist and our demographic, we cater to a lot of music and reggae artists. Your sound is totally unique and different and where do you see yourself really developing as a vocal artist on The Voice in the live shows? What do you hope to come across in that genre of music?

Naia Kete:
It's interesting without giving away too much I came into the first rehearsal with Blake this week wanting to do a reggae version of the song that I was given and I wanted to stay true to who I was and I wanted to continue to have a great relationship with the fans of reggae that I've built so far. And what he said was I just feel like we've seen that side of you and I have a sense that there's more to you than that and I really want to find those moments those moments where I can tell that you're more than just a reggae artist.

And that really resonated with me and I was a little bummed at first but there was also a freedom in that and that I felt like I could expand and grow. Of course, outside of the show I write reggae songs, I write pop songs and all different kinds of music. And so outside of the show I really get to show in my own performances at clubs, on the streets of Santa Monica there's' this whole kind of soundscape that I create. And so I'm just really excited in this next round to paint more of a picture create more of that grander soundscape that includes reggae, that includes the roots of where I come from but is bigger than that and greater than that and I just hope that people like that part too.

Question:
Cee Lo had a very emotional week. He was moved to tears twice in last night's episode and I was wondering if the guys on Team Cee Lo could talk about what that's like?

James Massone:
It's not really hard to make Cee Lo cry. I mean, Tony can say the same thing. He's kind of like a big teddy bear. It's just the music touches him a lot and makes me think like he really cares about our team. Showing that emotion. It's great to see an artist to have a song touch him that much. But, yes, like I said, he's an emotional dude and it's great to see him express himself in that way.

Tony Vincent:
One of the things I think I was most impressed about when I had a chance to first start this working relationship with Cee Lo is just his vast music knowledge. He has a huge catalog of music history in his brain and if you can touch a man from a song that he's probably heard hundreds of times and actually really bring him to tears in an authentic way, none of that stuff that you saw last night was whether it was James and Wade or me and Justin, that was not put on. This man is passionate about music which, again, I'm sure you can say the same thing, James, that we're with the right guy that we're supposed to be with. Anybody who has that sort of passion towards music is a guy that I want to be associated with.

Question:
Tony and Moses from watching you last night perform on stage it looked like there was some experience there. And I wanted to ask how you're A working a crowd, B working your coach in that performance. What was your viewpoint, what were you concentrating on in the back of your mind while you were both performing?

Tony Vincent:
To be honest I'm never performing for my coach. My coach has already instilled in me his support and his confidence so my job in my mind is to communicate that song to the audience whether it's a television audience or really the audience that's present. The cameras are going to pick up the angles that they want to so if I can articulate this message of whatever piece of music that I'm singing to the 7 to 900 people in that studio audience, if that's moving them and you can feel that energy connection and it's that energy exchange, if that's happening my coach is already going to feel that.

So I never try to perform for my coach. I try to perform for the people that are the bottoms in the seats. Those people that are paying money for tickets or buying ITunes downloads. I mean, those are the people that really the show is about.

Moses Stone:And so that's how I look at it every time and that's the same way I look at it in going to the live rounds, I expect to do a Grammy performance. That's what people can expect from Moses Stone.

Question:
Karla, when it was first announced that you'd be going up against Orlando you said he was the single person that you didn't want to go up against. Why was that?

Karla Davis:
When we first got here for the competition and there were around 200 people I just remember specifically being in the lobby of like this hotel and Orlando sat down at a piano and started singing Georgia on My Mind and I was just blown away. And I was at first like oh, my gosh, this guy is so good and then in my mind I was like I hope he doesn't make the team like if I make a team I hope he's not on that team and then he was on Team Adam.

And then I really I honestly remember thinking to myself just please don't let me be paired up against Orlando. And of course that happened and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried and quite frankly a little intimidated at first because he's very confident in what he is capable of doing. And as we got further and further into it I realized that battling against him and practicing with him was making me a lot better and so I was sort of feeding off of his talent. And so in the end I mean, I couldn't be more thankful and the song choice was great for me and it completely showed another side of me as an artist. All together I'm really thankful in the end that I got paired with Orlando.

Question:
Tony, you just mentioned a little while ago that you are expecting a child in six days so congratulations. I was just wondering how that affects you going into the live shows.

Tony Vincent:
Actually it's a huge blessing on a couple levels. A, just getting the opportunity to be a father but B, if The Voice was the only thing that I was thinking about right now I have a personality that tends to white knuckle situations and the fact that now I have two things to think about it actually can make me take each role sort of on board in a much more clear-headed way. So it's kind of a blessing where most people think, oh, this is going to be really tough for you. The way I work it's actually more of a blessing in disguise I think.

Question:
Six days from now, isn't that the date of this first live show?

Tony Vincent:
Yes, ironic. Hopefully those two hours will go rather rapidly and I'll be able to get back to the birth.

Question:
Tony, are you expecting a boy or a girl?

Tony Vincent:
We are having a little lady

Question:
Tony, I was just looking back on the credits and looked like you and your wife both work together in American Idiot. Is that right?

Tony Vincent:
We did, yes. Actually she's what's called the swing so she covered seven women roles. I was a character called Saint Jimmy.

Question:
You guys had known each other before that. Did you meet on the show or where did you guys actually meet?

Tony Vincent:
We actually met in a different show. I opened a show on the West End in London called We Will Rock You which is a musical that's based around the music of Queen. And when they decided to put an American version in tow, I was asked to open the show in Las Vegas and my wife was my co-star and that's how we met and so we sort of had one of those on-stage romances that flourished into saying I do.

Question:Tony Vincent:
It was absolutely awesome on a couple levels because A, I'm with you. I think that show and specifically that role is one of the coolest sort of rock vocals that has even been put on a theatrical stage. As you know the brown record, the Jesus Christ Superstar brown album that Weber and Jim Rice did was never intended on being a stage performance. It was much more of a somatic record and that was sort of the end all be all. But when someone decided to put it to stage it just opened up a lot of a sort of freedom I think on the stage.

And it's interesting being able to play a role like Judas who everybody could sort of attribute to a real negative force in the life of Jesus Christ and that sort of thing. But I'm actually a Christian myself so to be able to take on something like that and bring a much more humanness to that character and to give sort of a journey where Judas' heart was out to really save Christ.

Basically trying to talk him off the cross but basically you don't know what you're doing, man, please you gotta save yourself, you gotta save us. I mean, I'm your right-hand guy. That's almost one of the paraphrased lyrics of Heaven On Their Minds from the opening song of the show. And so it was really a cool thing for me to be a believer or a Christian and to be cast as this guy who supposedly this evil force in this story of Jesus Christ. It was a huge thrill of mine but like you had mentioned right before that I was going records under the EMI umbrella before I ever moved to New York to do Broadway so that's when I say I did rock and roll before that it was actually while I was doing theater on stage.

Question:
Mathai, when you guys began rehearsing there were almost three of you involved and there was that piano and I know that you felt that getting the piano off the stage may have been to your advantage and Nicole felt that getting the piano was to her advantage. And I was wondering if you could just talk about what it was like going up against a musician and not just a singer?

Mathai:
On T.V. they used the clip where that it would be to my advantage if the piano wasn't there but then, I don't know, then I said the exact opposite thing in another interview and it was basically just it came down to whatever Adam wanted and at the root of it all I was just psyching myself out because I had never been in a situation where I directly had to have a face-off with someone.

And it just everything about that threw me off because it had always been about my artistry and the fact that this battle battling meant battling someone so that you could continue your artistry. It was just such a strange thing for me and definitely I was just very much psyched out all of the battle rounds but in the end I just decided to do me and just be myself and whatever happened happened.

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