Christiana Danielle thought she’d never sing again after a mysterious throat virus resulted in emergency surgery. The singer miraculously regained her voice and devoted her life to giving back through music. On The Voice, she and her coach Alicia Keys created unique arrangements of beloved songs. Christiana was saved by Alicia in the Playoffs and eventually eliminated at Top 10 on Tuesday (May 8). Christiana spoke with reporters earlier this week about working with coach Alicia, her inspirations and future plans.
On her career as a musician moving forward. Does she plan to release new music?
I am planning on continuing to do music, continuing to do shows and stuff. This is all very, very new to me, performing was very new to me. And so I jumped the gun. I did the show before I did any small gigs or anything like that. And so I’m definitely going to do my own music. I have a passion for music and I hear things differently. I want to get my music out there.
What did it feel like being saved by coach Alicia Keys during the Playoffs?
It was so amazing, so humbling, I loved every single one of my teammates on Team Alicia and literally it could have been anyone. And so I feel very proud that Alicia, she believed in me enough to choose me to take to the Top 12.
On songwriting and what to expect musically going forward.
I wouldn’t say I’m a songwriter. I have songs down, but I would like to produce the best quality music out there. And so I’m definitely going to take my time with this. But for my sound, I feel like my listeners will definitely hear something eclectic, but with a soul influence. I feel like even throughout the show I’ve done multiple different types of songs, but the common factor…is my spin on it. I’m going to be in the soul jazz inspired–but it will really be kind of a hybrid effect.
On that “learning curve” as far as performing was concerned and how it evolved during the course of her experience on The Voice.
I had to really grow in the comfort that I felt being on stage. Singing was always something very personal to me, that’s why I really never shared much of it. What I learned about being on stage–The Voice is a huge stage, we have a huge set–you really have to work and you really have to draw the audience into this. I have some wonderful takeaways. But I still want to do more.
On her favorite performance from the show and why.
Monday night’s performance–[Ain’t No Sunshine]–that was completely me up there, I felt very free, I felt very confident and it was a great feeling. I accepted myself up there on stage before I looked for anybody else’s approval. I’m very proud of that.
How she felt about her chances going into the results show Tuesday. Was she surprised to be in the bottom 2? How she chose her “save me” song, “Unchain My Heart.”
Last week I knew for a fact that I was going to be in the bottom. But this week–everybody is so good and things get really close and get down to the votes and iTunes isn’t always as reflective as you think it is. We just come ready and prepared.
I don’t know if you guys have been following. But the story is my senior year of high school I had throat surgery and I thought I wasn’t going to be able to sing again. And I was in jazz choir my senior year and when I got my voice back [Unchain My Heart] was the song that I got to lead solo. So that was very significant to me. I feel like that moment on stage came full circle and I felt very assured and affirmed that this is where I was supposed to be and this is what I was supposed to be doing. I felt very confident and I had a lot of fun out there honestly.
On her collaboration with Alicia Keys and how they collaborated on those unique song arrangements.
Alicia is a phenomenal producer. I come up with a vocal roadmap, but I don’t know a lot of instruments. So I’m like ‘hey Alicia, what’s that instrument in Etta James record that goes (musical sounds)…’ She really helped kind of paint. Vocally I have a sketch down and then, metaphorically speaking, she’ll come in with the colors and that’s the music. I feel like together we come up with this beautiful piece that I’m very proud of. She gets all of my instincts, all of the things that I hear in my head that I can’t necessarily articulate, because I don’t know how to tell the band. She understands it.
So the vocal roadmap, I pretty much have them, but she also really empowered me to go there. She’ll sing a note it’s not necessarily the note that I’ll choose, but it will spark a note there–from there, you take it another place. And so I love working with her. It’s the best and it’s so easy and I feel so understood when I’m working with her. I can’t wait to work with her in the future.
Will Christiana work with Alicia in the future?
We did talk. We are going to exchange information and I’m honestly just lucky for any kind of advice that she’ll be willing to hand me after the show.
When Alicia called her an artist it boosted her confidence.
Oh yes that’s exactly what it did and it really affirmed me in what I was doing and I felt so privileged and so blessed, because I know that she appreciates the type of music that I appreciate. Compliments are wonderful for anybody to give them to you. But for somebody to know exactly where you’re coming from and know exactly what you’re trying to do and to acknowledge that, I think it makes all the difference. It blows my mind. I can’t wait to look back on those episodes. And hear them again when I’m feeling down.
On the biggest benefit she gained from The Voice musically
I will say it’s a tie between the experience that I had with my coach and the people that I’ve met. These are connections that I hope will last for a lifetime for me. I think this is going to be the gift that keeps on giving.