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The Voice Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

The Voice

This is an interview with The Voice Jermaine Paul on May 15, 2012 about the show The Voice.

Question:
You got very emotional during the performance show and during the final. What has winning meant to you? What has this whole experience meant to you?

Jermaine Paul:
I guess if I could sum it up in words it definitely has brought things full circle. I've been working for 17 plus years on just trying to seal a record deal and possibly get a chance to have an album, put an album out and just the whole dreams of just being an artist. That's been really my focus since I was about 16 years old when I signed my first deal.

And unfortunately life takes you through turns and mountains and valleys and all different types of twists and turns. But it just felt like everything just came full circle. For me it was definitely an emotional time and emotional moment. So it definitely means the world to me. It just means that everything that I've done up to this point it wasn't in vain; it's only helped me and prepared me.

Question:
And any details on when the album will come out or who you'll be working with?

Jermaine Paul:
We're looking to work with Alicia Keys. I put in a request to work with Ryan Tedder with Republic. I'm a big fan of his work. And there are definitely some other folks that we're going to bring in. But I have a really, really great team over at Universal. And Ron Sayers, they brought him to really make sure the project goes sky high. So I'm really excited about the album and the first single.

Question:
After being a backup singer how was it to be vulnerable and alone on stage as yourself rather than in the background?

Jermaine Paul:
I've been performing trying to do my own thing now for about a year and a half now. Still doing background work but also doing gigs and things like that. And before I did the background singing I was trying to of course be an artist myself. But at that time it was with a group. But I was sort of like the front guy, you know.

But it's definitely a change; it's definitely a big difference. And I think honestly being in the background has helped me and it helped me harness my energy and really hold on to my own truth as far as an artist, my own originality and my own feelings and my own vulnerability. Just being out there it just feels right. Every time I get up to sing and I'm out there it just feels like I belong there; it feels right. And I don't mind sharing myself with the world at all.

Question:
After being on the show how is your message different now as a singer as compared to before the audition?

Jermaine Paul:
I think Blake Shelton really helped me find out exactly what I want to say. And this show is so great for a guy like me because I have to deal with so many different opinions and thoughts on what I should do and how I should sound and what I should dress and what I should wear. This was 100% me; this was me saying this is what I want to do. For so long I had folks telling me I should sing this kind of song and I would go in to record it and at the end of the recording I would hate the song; I would hate that I even recorded certain songs.

And it would just it would just make me sick on so many different levels. And with this show it definitely gave me the platform to do exactly what I want and say exactly what I want to say to the world and to my kids and my wife. And it just really brought out the realness of this thing called artistry and called music and called singing in The Voice. It brought the realness to it. And that's all I ever wanted. So the message definitely has changed and it definitely hits home; it's real. It's real, it's not a facade.

Question:
How much do you think your past experience and working so hard for so many years is going to help you now kind of get adjusted to having a major deal and being in the spotlight and dealing kind of with everything that comes with that?

Jermaine Paul:
Being in the background it's almost like a trial period. I was able to make some stupid mistakes and fix it, fix things both vocally and personally. All the way around it's really helped me kind of just better myself all the way across the board. And I had a chance to do that not in the spotlight, not in the face of America or in front of a camera or anything like that. I was able to do that on my own time which I feel like every person should be allowed that time to get themselves together and I feel like I've been able to do that.

And now it feels right and it feels like it feels like I'm supposed to be where I am. And I intend on holding on to the values and the principles that I've learned in the background I intend on holding on to those things and taking them with me through this journey on being a solo artist. I think it's going to definitely help me sustain and keep it.

Question:
I think out of all the coaches that are on this show Blake Shelton tends to be the most supportive of his artists after the fact. Is it nice to know that he's going to be there for you kind of this whole journey to help you out with what you need?

Jermaine Paul:
Definitely. I mean I've gotten calls from other contestants on the show and they let me know that they've been in contact with their coaches and things like that. So I'm sure the other coaches are very supportive of the other artists also. But Blake definitely does have a great track record from last season taking Dia out on tour and even this season having Gwen Sebastian singing background for him. So definitely. He's been such a tremendous support to me throughout this whole process and he's helped me so much on so many different levels. And I don't take that for granted at all.

Question:
The other day on Ellen you told Ellen that you expected your name was going to be called fourth and then you were going to be third and you were kind of surprised. How was your confidence level over the course of the whole season? How did you feel about your chances of winning the whole thing?

Jermaine Paul:
When you first do a competition like this if anyone ever has done something like this they'll probably tell you the same thing. You don't go in with this crazy, crazy over-zealous confidence at all. You really you try to go with a humble spirit and you go in hoping to just get through that first whatever it is, in this case it was the blind audition.

When I auditioned it was just it was just really my mind could only fathom possibly getting the chair to turn around and I was just I guess more or less thinking about how many chairs would turn around or if the chair would turn around. It's so amazing to do something like this because it's stages. You never look at the big overall picture in the middle of the battle; in the middle of the competition you're always just thinking about the task at hand. And at the end there I felt like I left everything on the stage but then at the same time I also knew amongst the contestants that we also knew that Juliette had some really great breakthrough performances throughout the whole competition. And it definitely made us all like kind of nervous.

Question:
Can you tell me what kind of an album you'd like to make?

Jermaine Paul:
I just want to bring that good music songs with a message; songs that definitely speak to the heart of America. And when I say that I mean folks that are like me and my wife and just trying to make it through during these times, during these tough times. We've been through so much just holding onto each other and holding onto our love. And that's what I want to do; I want to do an album that definitely speaks about that kind of love.

Question:
What made you ultimately choose Blake and how much did that decision result in you winning?

Jermaine Paul:
I definitely knew the questions that I was going to ask whoever turned around. And Blake really challenged me. He really made me feel like he was going to be the type of coach that would definitely push me to be my best. The wheels were definitely spinning and I'm a huge fan of Cee Lo's music and Cee Lo. And I was going to pick him. But I was really looking for a connection and it's something as simple as the shades that Cee Lo was wearing; he had a pair of dark shades on and I just really wanted to feel a genuine connection.

And I just couldn't really grab a hold of that with his shades on. And I looked at him and then I looked at Blake and Blake was just there; he was just like simple but there. It wasn't too much too much to kind of go against the moment with Blake. It was just what you see is what you get. And that's the kind of guy that I want to be. That's the kind of person that I am. And it just made sense.

Question:
You guys did a great job on Soul Man. Would you be interested in doing something with Blake?

Jermaine Paul:
Of course. Of course. There's definitely a song that I have in mind. It's a ballad though. We had fun with Soul Man but there's a ballad that I would like to actually called The Two Songs that I think would be cool and I would definitely let him pick which one he thinks would be more fitting.

Question:
Did you get any feedback from Bon Jovi for doing Livin' On A Prayer?

Jermaine Paul:
I haven't, no I have not. That would be friggin' cool though.

Question:
What was running through your mind through the entire competition that you were literally living on a prayer to get to every single week?

Jermaine Paul:
We were very, very careful on the songs that we chose. And the song had to really, really portray the moment. And I had to really be able to connect to them. So Livin' on a Prayer was definitely a great song choice. I think the words fit on so many different levels not just living on a prayer in the competition but I could definitely relate to that whole concept of Tommy and Gina.

Question:
I did want to ask you about how emotional you were during the competition. Was that something that you and Blake discussed about letting your emotions show and not being afraid to do that?

Jermaine Paul:
No, no, we never really discussed it. I think what few did more or less we discussed the right songs that would I guess possibly evoke that. It's so important to do songs especially in this competition it's so important to do songs that I could relate to and I could emotionally connect to. There was seriously times during the sound check that I couldn't even get through the songs because they just definitely evoked so much emotion and so much real true honest feeling. You know, and I'm not one to get crazy emotional. Actually I don't like getting emotional at all. For me all the time the best way for me to sing a song is to be able to relate to it and feel it.

Question:
Did having your family there make it more of an emotional experience?

Jermaine Paul:
Definitely when my mom walks in the front lounge that was just a lot; that was lot for me to take on. My mom has a way of I guess like every mom in the world has a way of just making you feel like a 12-year old kid who fell in the park and needs a Band-Aid.

Question:
Is there anything else that you wanted to add that I didn't ask?

Jermaine Paul:
I just want to say thank you to everyone that voted me here. And thank you guys for making sure the word gets out about the album to come. And I hope that the support just continues throughout this whole process and the whole album and the whole singles and all the music that's to come. I hope that we just continue the support. And, thank you in a big way.

Question:
You're a stand up guy, a family guy, you've worked really hard. And to what extent do you think your personal story of who you are helped America vote for you?

Jermaine Paul:
I think at the end of the day you are who you are. And it's one thing that I wanted to make sure when I came into this competition that certain things wouldn't overshadow my voice. And I feel like this show did a great job of that; making sure that the voice was the number one priority, the number one thing that America got a chance to hear and experience. And of course there's stories attached to every person. But I believe that the voice was definitely the main focus throughout this whole process.

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