The winner of The Voice season 12, Chris Blue, had the distinction of being the very last singer to audition during the blind auditions. It was so late in the process, that only coach Alicia Keys had a spot left on her team. The rest is history. The two were the last coach and contestant standing when the confetti fell at the end of Tuesday’s (May 23) finale.
The Knoxville, Tennessee worship leader chatted with reporters on a conference call the day after his win. The singer talked about his The Voice journey and what fans can expect from him musically in the future. Read on for more.
On performing performing despite being nervous: That’s kind of a thing I’ve learned to pray about–leave it in God’s hands. Because at the end of the day, all we can do is our best, you know? Some may like. Some may love. Some may neither. So just go out there and present the gift that’s been placed inside of you and leave the rest there.
What’s next? I don’t even know if we hit the ground running. I think we hit the ground jetting. We’re ready to get it. Being out here, indulging in this process has enabled me to embrace hard work. And so that’s my world now. My mindset going in is we won The Voice last night. And that was last night. And we enjoyed the moment. But today’s a new day and it’s time to hit the ground going full speed. We want to go ahead and get music out, start working on music, and start making history. Onto the next goal.
One or two pieces of advice that Alicia gave him during his time on the show that he took to heart: I can remember doing the live round. She pulled myself and my other two teammates aside, Stephanie and Vanessa, and she said to us, “Don’t forget who you are…You’re a human being. So when you hit the stage tonight, don’t try to do anything. Just be it because you’re a human being, not a human doing.” That’s something I will always remember and always keep with me. Be present. Be in the moment. Be a human being, not a human doing.
On how Chris and Alicia chose his songs: It was very collaborative. We would talk about it. She would have ideas. I would have ideas. We would bring our ideas to the table. Sometimes we would go back and forth for a little. And then one or the other would cave in and say ‘okay, well I think you’re right.’ We’ll just kind of go with what we feel at the moment. That that was the most important part of our process in picking songs, was making sure that whatever song we chose was a song that we felt. Because if we don’t feel it or if I don’t feel it or if she doesn’t feel it, no one else will. That ultimately helped us decide our choices week by week.
On covering other artist’s songs. Is it frustrating not to sing original songs until the last week? I believe the beautiful thing about music is the interpretation of music. The beautiful thing about songwriting again is its interpretation. You and I are two completely different people. Therefore, a song may mean one thing to you versus myself, it could mean something completely different. Although I may not be singing an original song, the song that I’m covering, my interpretation of that song now becomes tailor made to me because I’m now singing that song as opposed to the writer who wrote it or the singer who performed it. I think that’s the biggest thing — making sure that I’m able to connect with whatever song I’m singing to make it an original song. It’s no longer a cover song when I sing it. It becomes an original song because it’s my interpretation of the cover of that song.
What song did he perform during his very first audition–his “open call”? The open call song I chose to sing was Love and Happiness by Al Green. We were fortunate enough to be able to sing it on the show, so that was pretty cool. I chose that song [for] several reasons. It’s a song that I was comfortable with. It’s a pretty nerve-wracking process and I wanted to make sure I sang a song that would help me through that. Also, I felt like it showcased vocal ability. At the same time, I was able to present a different side of my artistry. It opened the door to a more classic feel that maybe isn’t as popular. But ultimately, I wanted to make sure that no matter what, I went inside of that audition singing something I loved, something that brought joy to me, something that represents who I am and something that I could feel when I sing–which is love and happiness. That’s important because if I don’t feel it, neither will you. So that’s why we went with that song.
On growing up with a lot of oldies: The funny thing is, I grew up in church. And so, anything outside of gospel music or church music was not really welcomed in my home. However, Al Green and Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye–they all kind of had a church sound or a similar sound or feel to their music. And so, some of those things were looked over, if you will. And I don’t know. I’ve come to appreciate it and I feel like I’ve always been like an old soul in a young man’s body. I’ve always been able to gravitate toward the classic sound and classic style of music.
Was he surprised to win? What was going through his mind as he waited for the result? I feel like any of the top four had a pretty high chance to win — 25% chance for each person that was standing up there. And when it got down to it being 50-50, all I could think about was ‘Man, Lauren [Duski] is killing it on iTunes and everybody loves her and she’s super nice and she’s super sweet and gosh, man I don’t know, you know? I don’t know if we did enough.’ Then I began to think about all the hard work we put in, all the hard work my coach Alicia and I put in each week. I’m a firm believer that hard work pays off. And if you’re faithful over a few things, God will make you rule over many. I just tried to keep my poise. When my name was called, I was a bit surprised but all I could think about was the victory that my family received. I wanted the confetti to fall on them and I wanted my coach to experience that. I really was more happy for them than myself.
On the role his faith in Christ played in his time on The Voice: When you’re on that stage and you have all of the pressure that you’re under, having to perform week in and week out in front of the world, it’s pretty hard. Having the right atmosphere and the right space and the right energy around you is pretty important. My faith wasn’t important; my faith was essential. There were many nights I wanted to quit and I wanted to give up. I wanted to let go and I did not believe in myself. But I believed in the one who created me. I was also reminded…through my fiancée, through family, through friends and loved ones. It was essential. It couldn’t have happened without my faith in my lord and savior.
What will the Chris Blue album sound like? The Chris Blue album is going to sound like an album full of hope. I’m all about dealing that first. I feel like it’s something that the world needs. Needs hope. When people hear the music, I want them to feel inspired. I want them to obtain hope again — hope in their dreams, hope in whatever it is that they desire, hope in their faith, hope in their relationship, hope in their careers, hope in whatever it is that they lack it. I want to make sure we present songs that inspire people. Again, because if I don’t feel it, if I’m not inspired, I believe no one else will be. And that’s pretty important.
On what the musical direction of the album will be: The direction’s going to be wherever the lord leads at the time. You know, we may have a song on there that sounds like an R&B song. There may be a song on there that sounds pop. There may be a song on there that sounds gospel. But the ultimate goal is to make sure every song has the foundation of hope in it. I’m not really pressed on the way it sounds as much as the way it feels, because that’s the most important thing to me.
On his relationships with his fellow contestants. Who was he closest to? Relationships with the other contestants [were] pretty amazing. Pretty cool. I had a special relationship with each contestant. There were all like brothers and sisters to me. I was pretty close with a lot of people. TSoul was probably one of the closest I would say. Between TSoul and Hunter [Plake] and Mark [Isaiah], those guys I really drew close with. Johnny Hayes was my roommate. I really love Johnny. He’s a really special guy as well. Lauren [Duski]…gosh she’s jaw dropping. She’s awesome and super sweet and gentle and kind. And Brennley [Brown]–just everyone. I can just continue to name names. I have a special relationship with every contestant and I love each and every one of those guys like family. And they mean the world to me. I’m really grateful to God that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know such talented and amazing people as well as artists.
On the contemporary artists that he admires and would like to pattern his career after: There’s one thing that I think most artists, if not all, have in common. And that’s to be great. I would want to fall in the lanes of some of the greats. If you could take Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Usher, and Bruno Mars and put them into one person, I would love to be that, embody that. And preferably, hopefully, maybe one day be considered one of the greats. Because at the end of the day, if you don’t want to be excellent, if you don’t want it to be excellent, then I don’t know why you would do it. And that’s just me. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist and I just want to be excellent at all times in every way possible and on every level.
On the artist he would most like to do an original collaboration with and why? I would first start with my coach, Alicia Keys. I would want to collab with her because…we just connect. When we do something together–there’s something there. And outside of her, it’s be really cool to collaborate with Usher again. He’s an incredible human being. In the time that I was able to spend with him, I was really impressed and inspired by his character. I’d love to, you know, link up with him again. He’s phenomenal. Outside of those guys, the list really does go on. There’s so many I don’t know where to start. Bruno [Mars] would be fun. A Carrie Underwood duo would be pretty cool. I think that would be kind of special. Maybe Kelly Clarkson or Jennifer Hudson as well. That would be pretty fun. I don’t think anyone would see that coming.
Chris had a full day of press on Wednesday. Check out a few more interviews:
- Chris on the best advice coach Alicia Keys gave him – Entertainment Weekly
- How Chris Blue is Aiming to Be the First The Voice Superstar – Entertainment Tonight
- Chris’s Reddit AMA
Facebook Live interview with EXTRA
Chris on Access Hollywood Live
If you missed it…The Voice uploaded Chris’ full performance of his winning single, including the part cut off by NBC.