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The Voice Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview with eliminated contestants Emily Valentine, Cherie Oakley, Casey Desmond and Sara Oromchi on June 1, 2011 about the show The Voice.

The Voice

Question:
Sara, what would you say is the most important lesson that you learned from the time spent on the show?

Sara Oromchi:
Probably to try not to get too intimidated and to not let your nerves get the best of you.

Question:
Casey, you had some pretty stiff competition going up against Jeff, especially after all four judges turned around for him in the blind audition. Did you feel like you didn't stand a chance or were you prepared to live up to him?

Casey Desmond:
I felt like I was prepared to live up to him because I feel like he and I are equal in talent even though the blind auditions didn't prove that as far as the coaches were concerned. I think he's a really talented person but I feel like I'm talented as well. So it felt like it was just luck of what happened. I felt like it was just the style that Adam wanted or the style that the coaches desired more over another because I felt like our vocals were equally as strong. It's just really a matter of style. And he did an amazing job so I'm really proud of him because yes, he's awesome.

Question:
Emily and Casey, you both went up against guys. Do you think that was more of a challenge for you as compared to going up against one of the girls?

Emily Valentine:
I didn't think that it was going to be a challenge although it proved later on that maybe I had a little bit more to worry about than I thought. To be honest, when you're a sexy lady you think you're going to have an edge. And clearly that did not make a difference. I was banking on that to be honest. But I guess I was wrong.

Casey Desmond:
I kind of agree with Emily. But at the same time I don't really look at gender like that. We're kind of in this pool of talent together. We're all kind of trying to get through this together even though it's a competition. And the people on the show were just so talented that I really don't look at it like a match of the sexes, like a race of the sexes or something like that. It was interesting to sing up against a boy. But I kind of have like a lower voice sometime anyway so it was kind of cool to sing like a lower register song that was written for a man to sing to begin with.

Question:
Cherie, with so much success in your career a lot of people thought that going into the battles you had the upper hand and were probably going to be selected to continue in the competition. Do you think that your success kind of played against you in some respects and that possibly Christina chose Lilly over you in order to help her further her career a little bit?

Cherie Oakley:
I have no idea. I mean I hope not because you don't want to feel like the opportunities that you've had in the past hinder you in any way in the future. I hope that on a show that's called The Voice and supposed to be about the voice that it would be people moving forward because they did base it on someone's performance rather than someone's background. I definitely hope that's not the case. But you never know. I mean in certain situations I think when two people feel like they did the absolutely best that they could, yes I think your brain kind of wanders to like well did that hurt me a little bit? Did it hurt me from certain perspectives?

I honestly felt strangely enough like the complete underdog on the entire team regardless of my experience or the opportunities that I've gotten to have just because I honestly felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb coming from a country background which was pretty drastically different from every single person on that entire team. And I just hope that Christina wouldn't' have let that sort of force her or enforce her decision in the end either. But you never know what people are thinking and what they want. I do know Christina's been very vocal about country being something that's out of her comfort zone and that she does gravitate towards a pop driven more soulful voice. So at the end of the day I mean that's probably what her ear gravitated towards.

Question:
Cherie, we don't get to see that much in regards to the mentorship and things like that. Can you give me more detail regards to how Christina the things that she spoke to you about or taught you or things that you kind of felt that you could take with you?

Cherie Oakley:
Honestly I felt like I could take so much with me from just sort of standing back and feeling like the fly on the wall and just watching her. Her amount of professionalism just blew me away. I mean she was so sweet and so genuine. And she really did seem like personally invested in each and every one of us. But she also just the way that she carried herself was something that I was just blown away by and will definitely hope to emulate in my own career if I'm given the chance.

But some of the advice that she gave me that helped me on the show was I did feel a little like the sore thumb that stuck out on the team and like the underdog just because of different things that she had said in the past about what she gravitates towards musically, stylistically. And I sort of wondered if my background in country music would hinder me from going forward. And so I struggled a little bit with my confidence at first. And then she was so encouraging and so warm and so supportive.

And I was able to email her and she emailed me. And she just really, really helped me through the show so that I felt like once I actually stepped out there I felt like I was able to use a lot of her encouragement to feel me. And it meant the world to me to know that she believed in me. So I think that definitely helped me in my performance for sure.

Question:
Did she give you any parting advice?

Cherie Oakley:
She didn't. I wish she would've. No, we weren't really able at that point. Everything kind of got crazy after the show ended and we all sort of flew home so quickly. And then they changed some different stuff with email addresses and that sort of thing. So I wasn't able to get any parting advice from her although I would have loved to. And if she has any I welcome it for sure.

Question:
Emily, are you and Curtis now an item?

Emily Valentine:
I don't know to be honest. Curtis is an amazing guy. I think he is just a wonderful person and we do talk on a daily basis. But in all honestly like in both of our careers right now, he is trying to be a country superstar and I am already a rock star. It's difficult to maintain any sort of relationships during this crazy inorganic process that is doing a reality television show. But I think Curtis is a gem. And in the future I would love to just like hang out with him on a real level. And we're great friends. So call it what you want to call it. Label what you want. The feelings are real. The feelings are there and I think he's a great person and I would love to sing again with him sometime if you know what I mean.

Question:
Was that kiss last night pre-meditated or was it just spontaneous?

Emily Valentine:
We choreographed it all night long. This is why they didn't want me on the show. Sorry, I'm too crazy.

Question:
Cherie, they briefly mentioned on the show Reba had to stop and reintroduce herself to you. It seems you guys have a bit of a history. Can you elaborate on that?

Cherie Oakley:
That whole thing was crazy. I wrote this song Turn On The Radio shortly after the flood happened in Nashville. And I wrote it at the time for a blink of an eye record deal that I had. And everything with my record deal sort of started to crumble at the same that Reba heard the song and wanted to sing it. And so obviously I gave her the song and the song climbed the charts. And she'd spoken with me on the phone and she got my permission for the song over the phone.

I did give it to her with the stipulation of I want to meet you some day and I want to know that this song will be a single. And so she called me to let me know that the song is going to be her first single. She called me to celebrate the number one. We had tried many times to meet and it just never happened. And of course at the time I had no record deal. Everything sort of as an artist had fallen through for me. And then the show came up and I thought gosh why not, you know? I need the exposure I, you know? Why not go for it and see how far I can get? Then I found out Reba was going to be Blake's celebrity sort of mentor and helper. And then I got to meet her and share one of the coolest experiences of my life with the entire world which was meeting her finally and performing in front of her. It was so surreal. It was crazy.

Question:
Did you get to meet her behind the scenes or did you just have that one little chat after your competition?

Cherie Oakley:
It was pretty packed as far as it was sort of one battle after another. So I didn't get to talk to her after the show. I would have loved to but it didn't happen. But after we all flew home that following Monday I finally had the experience of going to her big corporation, Star Struck. And they had a big number one party there. So I got to hang out with her finally and talk and talk about the show and talk about meeting each other.

And she ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug and has just been incredible since then. She sent me the most amazing beautiful vase from Tiffany's and a card and she's just she's my favorite person in the whole world. I was such a huge fan of hers, like she's been an idol of mine my whole life. And God just works in such mysterious ways and I'm just so thankful to experience this journey. It's just been unbelievable. Yes I'm ten times the fan of Reba McIntyre's now that I've gotten to know her character.

Question:
How did you guys handle the choreography and handling yourselves on stage with a partner?

Emily Valentine:
Well watching back at it Curtis and I, neither of us have ever sung a duet before. And by singing a duet I can also mean kiss on stage. It was really horrifying actually to watch that because we did have some degree of choreography. All of us had. You know, just to work the stage, a battle is a little bit different than a duet, you know. You don't want to be super lovey-dovey with somebody but it was really hard for me and Curtis considering the circumstances.

But it was hard. Like I had to decide during that whole process if this was the real deal or not because we all have consequences of our actions. And I knew that when Curtis and I did that, it was actually Curtis thought he was going home for sure. I'm not going to lie. Curtis was like okay here we go, like the hot girl, obviously you're winning like whatever. And I was like no way dude. You are totally the country singer. So we went back and forth. And so we kind of thought about well, how can we utilize the best of this opportunity?

And Curtis and I are very like-minded in the business sense of our careers and recognized that it was such a unique experience battling against somebody that we both had feelings for each other. So it just kind of worked. And this ninth hour Curtis was like let's just do it. Let's do a kiss at the end of our song. And I was like oh my God I can't believe this is going to happen.

And watching back last night I was just like watching the fear in my face wondering oh my God is this really going to happen at the end of the song because those high heels that I was wearing were about 6-1/2 inches. And I had to like do a little mini turn in order to get to my mark at the end of song. So had to like kiss and turn at the same time. And it was just I don't know, like I thought it looked really cool. I loved it and it took a lot more work than one would think.

Casey Desmond:
I felt pretty, not similarly in the sense that I had feelings for Jeff. But me and Jeff got along really well as friends. And I can tell that like him and I are going to be friends for a while, like we just worked. So we got to all work with like a some choreographers really briefly to kind of run through some ideas. But we weren't like nobody had to do exactly what they just said. It was just ideas for us.

And we kind of changed it around ourselves. We actually worked on the choreography together. But then I feel like half of it went out the window once we got on stage because we were just feeling it so much. But it still worked because him and I had really good chemistry. We had just like a really good connection as friends. And we had practiced a ton like all different kinds of ways like with the piano and dancing around and so I feel like it came unnaturally because of the connection between us as people.

Question:
Now it's over, what are your plans for where you're going to go next with your careers?

Sara Oromchi:
I'm definitely going to keep trying and get more experience and work on my nerves for sure. And I don't want to give up.

Cherie Oakley:
I've already written some new songs since I've been back. A couple I think I'd like to send Reba's way. And I definitely would love to continue pitching songs to other artists. It's oh my gosh, it's like the coolest thing in the world to hear somebody sing your song and the way that they interpret it.

But I do want to use this opportunity and this platform and this exposure to finally make my dream happen and make a record and get a record deal. And so I'm going to pursue that like nobody's business. I'm going to pursue every record label in town and just I'm trying to make it happen for myself. I've worked for so many years and I worked so hard and I've had a lot of incredible things happen but I've had a lot of painful things happen. And I feel like I've come too far to walk away and give up at this point in time.

So I'm just thrilled and thankful for the exposure. And I definitely want to use it to my advantage. I've already got a couple of gigs that I'm in the middle of booking because of the show and the exposure. And I look forward to making my first record this year.

Emily Valentine:
My answer is pretty similar to Cherie's. Before the voice came around I was an artist before and I'll always be an artist whether it's how I make my money or not even though that is the dream. I've been working on a solo album for the last two years. And it was a great experience and a great opportunity to have a giant billboard with my face and my name on it. And that was a wonderful thing in doing The Voice. And establishing the relationship that all of us were fortunate enough to do in being a part of a production as high quality as the voice, I mean there's no party. There's no there's no where you can meet the best of the best of the best in the business. And we were all lucky enough to do that.

So for those of us who do have our own material and our own things going on musically, I'm curious to see where all of us are going to be in the next few months now that we have established those creative and professional relationships. I definitely plan on pursuing Cee Lo to do a collaboration for sure. And now that people know my name and I can have a new point of reference in voice I'm really looking forward to the next chapter.

I'm looking to sign a production deal with a heavy-hitting producer because I still want my cake and I want to eat it too. I'm organizing for less show for my live concert. And so like I'm going to be singing and doing burlesque and what everyone else does when you're in a real struggling act which is get the show on the road. So that's the next step. Well see if Curtis will come and do his guest spot.

Question:
Sara, your battle with Xenia was pitched as the battle of the shy girls. Could you talk a little bit about what it was like working together and how the two of you found a way to get up on stage together with neither of you really having a lot of experience doing that?

Sara Oromchi:
I did feel it was kind of appropriate that we were both shy and we would go against each other. And I think that's also how we got along so well because we kind of connected on that level. And we just have a lot of things in common. So it was really cool working with her. And I had a lot of fun working with her. And I don't know, I think we had a good time.

Question:
How did you feel about the song that was chosen? Adam said maybe it wasn't a good choice for your guys.

Sara Oromchi:
Yes Adam said that. When he first told us the song me and Cindy kind of laughed and we were like wow, we did not expect anything like this. It's a really nice song. It's beautiful but I did not expect that to come. What can you say, it was out of our comfort zone and we tried it and we went on stage and sang it.

Question:
Cherie, during your performance your family was so animated backstage. How did you take it after you were eliminated?

Cherie Oakley:
It's hard for family to watch their child go through something like this. It's very emotional and especially when you know all the ups and downs of their lives. And I've been singing since I was 3 and got my first manager when I was 5. So I've been doing this for such a long time. And there's been like I've said an incredible blessings that have come my way. But you don't get a chance to really talk as much about all the downs all the rejection that you face and how hard you work and a lot of obstacles that you have to overcome.

And I've had to overcome a lot. So it was hard for them to know everything that I've been through, especially in the last year. Just last year alone the emotional roller-coaster of thinking that my dream was going to happen with a record deal and then just a few months later it just all crumbles it's devastating for them and emotional for them.

So it was hard for them to watch. It was hard for them to know how much I wanted it and how hard I'd worked and to watch me not go through. So it was emotional for them. It was an emotional night. But I'm just - you know, I'm just so thankful for the opportunity and for the exposure. And I think when you do work really hard and you do have a lot of opportunities I think you're that much more aware of how incredible a platform like this was.

And so that's something that I definitely wanted my dad to focus on was all of the good that this can bring. And we've all been given an incredible opportunity. And now we have the chance to really make something of it. And that's something that we all needed to take us to the next level. So it's not all bad. It's not all depressing. It's not I think it's sad that we didn't all make it further. But this is an incredible opportunity. So that's something that I definitely had to encourage my dad with.

Question:
Casey, at the end of your performance Adam seemed to really struggle with his decision. How long does that take? How long is the feedback period? Is it as short as it looks on TV? And what's going through your mind as Adam's struggling and there's this like silence there while we're waiting for him to spit out a name?

Casey Desmond:
It felt fabulous, felt great that he struggled, no offense Adam. Hopefully he lost some sleep. No I'm just kidding, totally just kidding. I mean it felt good because it made me feel like me and Jeff got to step up to the plate and really do the best we could. Not that I thought he was going to do bad or that I thought I was going to bad or whatever.

But it made me feel like we had done our job by giving them a solid performance. And so I'm really sad that he didn't choose me but at the same time it made me feel good that he didn't just go well all right, see you Casey. But as for, I don't know, as for feedback yes, I mean it's pretty much all there. I mean to be honest it kind of like flew by. It was just like - it felt like a million years and like a millisecond at the same time because of like my nerves and like the adrenalin rush after performing. So I can't remember exactly if that's exactly what they said but that's pretty much the gist.

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