Troy Ramey faced off against Mark Isaiah in the first Inst-Save of the season Tuesday night. The Sea Cliff, New York singer lost the vote by a few percentage points against the Team Adam Levine member to become the first season 12 finalist to be eliminated. In a satellite interview with reporters earlier this week, Troy said he wasn’t convinced his performance of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away” was to blame. The singer, who has already found success as an independent artist, talked about choosing Gwen Stefani after all four coaches turned their chairs for him in the Blind audition. He also discussed learning to make compromises for the sake of the show. See more of what Troy had to say about his time on The Voice below.
Does he think his song choice–Dobie Gray’s Drift Away–had an effect on his elimination? Probably. But I also think it comes down to a popularity contest. Which is OK–I knew that going into it. Obviously, younger kids are a lot more active on twitter. The people that may have loved what I did, may not be that demographic to get [onto] twitter. If people wanted to talk about my song choice–it’s still No. 1 on the iTunes Rock chart. Maybe it wasn’t good enough for the demographic of the show. But people are buying the song and love what I do. I’m very proud.
Why did he chose “Drift Away?” I’ve always loved that song. Obviously, you have to pick a song that you don’t have a chance to change. Because it’s a last chance song, you don’t get an opportunity to really put that much effort into it, I felt like it was a great fit for me to showcase the soulful side of my voice. It’s kind of hard to pick one song that represents you. But it felt like it was a contrast to other songs I’ve done on the show. I’m really proud with how it went. I don’t have any regrets about it at all.
Was he surprised to land in the bottom 2? What did he think his chances were of being saved via Insta Vote? Was he surprised to be eliminated? I was a little surprised to land in the bottom 2, because I was really happy with the way that “Free Fall” (The Tom Petty song Troy performed on Monday night’s performance episode) went. It was doing so well–I think it peaked in the 50’s on the overall chart. My goal when I came to the show was to make it into the top 12 and I did that. I was OK going home either way because I have a career in music that was there before I came to The Voice and will always be there after. I never hung my hat on this as a last chance opportunity. The Voice for me was a way to get more people to see my [original] music. To be in the bottom 2 or the top 2 it doesn’t matter to me. When I was standing up there next to Mr. Handsome, Mark Isaiah, I knew I probably had no shot. I was OK with going home at that moment (chuckles).
Because of the kids on twitter? He’s so popular. It’s actually funny because I became good friends with him. He’s such a young humble talented kid that I dedicated my Instagram stories to being like a “fake fanboy” of him. It’s the funniest thing, because all day every day I was teasing him and then we end up there on stage together. It was kind of a cool moment. I’m happy that he’s the one that took me out.
During the Knockouts, Gwen mentioned there was more of you that she hadn’t seen yet. Also she mentioned about you hilarious side, that she wanted to bring out more. Is there a way you could have showed your personality more? It’s impossible really, because I’m not in control of how everything gets edited. There are definitely moments where things shine, but the [needs of the show] may not include the me that I want to get out there. I’ve always felt a challenge to include humor in serious music. But I do that in my private life and social media. I think if people really saw the actual side of me–I would have had a better shot in terms of popularity and voting. Ultimately I was really happy that both Gwen and Blake said that about me on the show. It really meant a lot that they appreciate that side of me.
On feedback from fans since his elimination: The feedback I’ve been getting on social media has been absolutely incredible. I feel like I connected more with people last night and today than throughout the course of this whole show. They’re opening up to me on social media and seeing the actual me rather than the Troy that was on the show. It is a television show. You gotta try and do your best and be at attention at all times. When people discover the real me, the natural personality that I have and ultimately discover my music, they’re going to really understand the whole package.
What was the experience like of being mentored? Did he learn a lot from Gwen and Blake and Shania? I did. It’s hard to explain because there are certain things that–a lot of things come down to taste. And especially–all the experience that I have, developing myself as an artist, really knowing my voice and limits–it is hard sometimes to allow yourself to have an open mind. But I [did go] in there with an open mind and learn a couple things–not really about singing, to be honest with you–but about performing. There’s a difference when you’re performing to a club of people who love you opposed to performing on a television show where you’re trying to win people over. That was something that I needed to learn how to do because there’s almost a feeling of–not desperation–but a longing in your performance because you’re trying so hard to get people in. It almost feels super unnatural because when performing in my shows, I’m just relaxed. I’m me. I’m messing around with people because I already know that I have them. It’s a much different experience.
On what he took away from The Voice: The one thing that I took away from The Voice is how to adapt to a different scenario, because that’s not real life. Nobody’s spent their entire career on The Voice. You have to play the game a little bit and try to win people over in a way that fits the scenario. I learned a lot about myself in terms of how much I can compromise my own style and still achieve what the show, or what Gwen needed for the television show, in terms of how I would sing a song. There are certain choices I made melodically on the show that I never would have done in my real life. But just because Gwen is really serious about singing the melody dead on, never changing it, I had to try to pull myself towards that thinking a little bit — which was very unnatural for me.
On not always following Gwen’s advice about not changing the melody of songs: I really respect her opinion on that and I think a lot of people might feel that way. But that is something that I disagree with completely and I always will. Some of my favorite artists when they cover a song, sound nothing like the original song. That’s the beauty of it. Because they reinterpret that song and give it a new life. Ryan Adams is a great example of that. My favorite song that he’s done is “Wonderwall,” an Oasis cover. It sounds nothing like the original but it’s absolutely beautiful. The reason I picked “Free Fallin’” is because I wanted to do the John Mayer version of that song. When we got into rehearsal Gwen wanted to hear the Tom Petty melody. So, I ended up singing that song in a totally different way than I would have–which is OK. I have to make compromises because of the situation. I totally respect that way of thinking but it’s not my way of thinking. And people that love my music and my type of music would never care at all if I changed the melody of the song. They would probably respect it.
On changing a song’s melody being one of his strengths: I kept telling them on the show–I’m not Mr. Power Note, you know? I’m not Mr. Big Note-like theatrical singer. This is why I am happy and surprised that I made it so long in the show. But like that’s what a lot of people think makes a great singer. In my opinion, you don’t have to be acrobatic with your voice to be a great singer. You just have to be honest and original and true to what you feel. And that’s the most important thing for me in music and I’ll always feel that way. I don’t regret changing things up at all because if I didn’t, then no one would’ve cared about me at all. I would never have made it this far. And to be quite honest, Gwen never would’ve turned around. If I sang “Wild World” the exact way that Cat Stevens sang “Wild World,” I guarantee none of those coaches would’ve turned around. Because it would’ve sounded awful. While I 100% respect Gwen’s opinion and her guidance, it’s not a part of who I am. It’s not the way that I sing.
What’s next for Troy? I got a lot of stuff planned. I’m going to be playing a ton of shows. I got a lot of meetings to set up. And things are going to be already are on fire for me. I turned down multiple record deals before I came to The Voice. A record deal doesn’t mean success. It has to be the right deal. Fortunately for me, I’ve been able to achieve a pretty good level of success on my own with no money, no budget, no team around me. Before I came to The Voice, I already had millions of plays in the last year, of my own music on Spotify. [Plus] thousands of downloads of my original music on iTunes. I’m just going to continue with what I was doing because it was working. People connect to my songs. And you know, I’m so grateful to The Voice because I was able to reach a huge audience and now I have their attention.
Mark Isaiah and Troy both landed in the bottom 2 after their coaches saved them in the playoffs. Is that just a coincidence? Or does he think the results were a direct reflection on Monday night’s performances? I don’t think it [was] a direct reflection of performances. I think a lot of it has to do with popularity on social media. And, you know, Mark is pretty popular on social media. I had a really strong performance. I’m not going to compare myself to anybody. Because the voting rules changed so much it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen. But like I said before, I know people connected with my performance. It’s still number one on the rock charts and I think it’s still in the top 100 on the overall as we speak. And you know, that’s a clear indication that people connected with my performance. Because I wasn’t able to really let people in on who I am, maybe they didn’t connect with my personality on the show. But, you know, it’s all good because it all comes to an end at some point. And I’m happy that I reached my goal getting into the top 12 and letting people hear who I am.
What did Gwen say to Troy after he was eliminated? Gwen said she was so happy that I picked her [as a coach] and she couldn’t believe that I picked her from the beginning. She loves my voice and believes in me as an artist and that she’s going to be following my journey. That meant a lot to me because as much as it all comes to an end–and I’m not going to lie, it was a pretty sad moment. I said earlier I feel like I got dumped on prom night. But if NBC was my date and Gwen was the cool teacher that pulled me into the teacher’s lounge to let me cry secretly. It’s not like I was emotional because it’s the biggest stage on planet Earth. There’s a lot of stuff that Gwen said to me in the blind audition that didn’t make the show. She really fought for me very hard and she said she believed in me and had a gut feeling that we were meant to work together. That really meant alot to me.
On choosing Gwen as his coach: I don’t know how I would have survived on other teams. There is a lot of competition this season. Gwen believed in me and she gave me the shot to be in the top 12 where there wouldn’t have been this spotlight on me [otherwise]. Even though I’m going home, I’m feeling so much love from everybody and support. I went out with a bang. I’m proud of what I did. I’m really proud of that performance and I’m proud that I picked Gwen. I know that I made the right choice.