Reporters got a chance to speak with The Voice contestants who earned spots on teams. Check out interviews with singers who appeared on Monday’s season 15 premiere.
Kennedy Holmes – 13 year old Kennedy Holmes got a four chair turn after impressing the judges with a performance of Adele’s “Turning Tables.” She showcases her singing and dancing talent in various theater productions at The Muny, one of St. Louis’ most famous venues.
Why was now the right time to enter this competition, as opposed to waiting until you were a little older.
I think that it’s mainly because, why not? I think it’s good to start my career at a young age, try to learn from all the other artists that are in the competition, because they are all amazing.
What was going through your mind when you were standing on stage singing with iconic Jennifer Hudson?
So honestly, when Jennifer said that she was going to come up and sing with me, I was trying not to cry all over again because I knew that I would have to sing. But if I’m being completely honest, I just I was so in the moment and I was just extremely honored that Jennifer wanted to sing with me, and that she was so open about it.
She was down, She was ready. So it was a blessing honestly just to be there with Jennifer and with all of the other coaches.
You mentioned that you are also a dancer. Have you ever considered that as a career?
Growing up, I do a lot of things. I play volleyball. I run track. I dance. I do musical theater. It always comes down to what do you really want to do in life? What would be the best way for you?
And when it comes to dancing, I still dance and yes, I have thought of dancing as a career. But at the end of the day, I used to take dance classes and it would always be between–this dance thing going on [or] a music performance. What do you you want to do? So I think that I knew deep down that dancing just wasn’t my true passion. There’s no comparing when it comes to dancing and singing. I would choose singing over it every day.
Dancing was something that I was serious about. At the end of the day… it’s very useful when it comes to your singing career because you can always use it when you’re singing and dancing on stage [like Beyonce]. I keep it in my back pocket because it’s a little advantage.
How does your dance training influence your musical career?
It helps me with my stage presence. I’ve noticed that. For instance, when I would be in a dance class, my teachers would be like, look up, because I used to dance while looking down at the floor. It helped with stage presence. It helped me figure out what I was feeling as I was singing. So, dancing overall just helped me a lot.
Describe your day auditioning at the Indianapolis open call.
I started off with an Instagram knockout. I came up with that–it was a little knock out thing that I did against another person that was trying to be a contestant. And then she won it, but they wanted to give both of us a red card (front of the line).
Why did you chose Jennifer Hudson as your coach?
I think that I said it before, but knowing that one of my first performances, I sang, I Am Changing–I knew who I already wanted to go for. But then when I started to watch more videos of Jennifer–I looked up Jennifer Hudson coaching on The Voice and I started to watch some of her videos and what she was looking for.
And when I saw how good [her advice would be] and how she takes her contestants under her wing, I [thought] that’s what I want in a coach. I want to know that my coach believes in me, no matter what, and I want to know that, maybe – even if I don’t go as far as I probably would have liked, that Jennifer will still be there and she’ll still try to help me be successful in my career.
Just knowing that Jennifer cares, that’s really something that I was looking for. If I’m being completely honest, when Adam did start talking, he was very persuasive. So it was between Adam and Jennifer.
Deep down I knew I still – I had to pick Jennifer, but Adam was still up there. But when Jennifer came up and sang with me, I knew I had to go with her.
Patrique Fortson – Patrique has come a long way since auditioning for American Idol in 2003. The singer had signed to a record label at 7 years old, becoming the youngest gospel recording artist ever. He performed “Get Here” by Oleta Adams. Patrique chose Jennifer Hudson over Adam Levine to be his coach.
Could you talk a little bit about your evolution and where you auditioned for this year’s season?
I was born and raised in Indiana and started singing at a very young age. I actually did my audition here in Atlanta. The producers found me from a clip and I was able to come and do a private audition. I’ve never really stopped singing. It’s been a continuous journey that’s brought me to being blessed to be on The Voice.
Adam loved your look this time. But when Simon Cowell took a look at you a few years ago, he wasn’t as appreciative. Do you feel vindicated in that regard?
I wouldn’t say I feel vindicated because one thing I am is very confident. One person’s opinion is never going to shatter me or shake me in any way. I’ve always been one person that’s very comfortable in my skin, in who I am, how I dress, what I like. I’m not ignorant enough to think that everybody’s going to like it. In this industry, you kind of have to eat the meat and spit out the bones, and it’s one of those scenarios.
Can you talk a little bit more about what you’ve done more recently, as far as music is concerned?
This year in April, I released a project with my church. The song that I’m on is actually number 12 right now on the Billboard Gospel charts. Gospel is always going to be something that I love and something that I do. I’ve just been able to branch out and do other types of music as well to broaden who I am as an artist.
What’s the name of that project?
It’s called Fresh Start Worship. The song that’s out right now is called Mention.
What is it like to re-enter the world of singing competitions after so many years. What’s the difference between competing on American Idol in 2003 and The Voice in 2018?
I think the major change has been with me. I know who I am as an artist now. It was a 23 year old person versus a 38 year old. I’m more settled in who I am as a singer, as a person. I know what I want to do. I know what I don’t want to do. And I think that confidence will shine more now.
I was so young then. I only really knew gospel music at that point. I’ve just grown myself as an artist and I just feel more comfortable on stage now.
Do you view yourself as a purely gospel singer? Is that the world you work in?
No, not at all. I definitely want to do R&B and soul music. But I would – I’d never disrespect how I got my start.
Why did you choose Jennifer Hudson as your coach?
For me, it boiled down to what each of them said to me when [as they] were going back and forth. And I felt like Jennifer would understand me more. I feel like our journeys are very similar. She’s a music lover of all genres, and I felt like she would get who I am, but would also challenge me as well.
Sarah Grace – 15 year old Sarah earned a 3 chair turn after performing a bluesy performance of Ball & Chain by Janis Joplin. She chose Kelly over Jennifer and Blake to be her coach.
Why was now the right time to enter this competition, as opposed to waiting until you were a little older.
I feel like it’s time for me to take advantage of this opportunity, because I have been playing with my band for about five years now, and it’s just what I really love to do. I feel like, as of right now, I’m trying to change directions, change the direction of my band from a three, four hour cover band to more of a one and a half, two hour original band.
And I feel like the right way to do this would just be to strengthen my exposure, and this is a great opportunity to do that. And I’ve just had a really good time on this show, and I’ve met so many amazing people and it’s really, really helped with our band. So that’s why I feel like this is the right time.
Why did you choose to join Team Kelly?
I chose team Kelly because I recently started listening to her music, and I really wanted a coach who I felt was similar to me, not only in music taste and style, but also personality wise. I wanted a coach that I would enjoy spending time with.
Watching Kelly on last season, I realized how similar we were, and I actually get told that a lot. I realize how similar our personalities were. I’m super bubbly. She’s super bubbly. She talks a lot. I talk a lot.
And her last album that she put out, I can tell there’s a lot of blues influence, especially in her song Slow Dancing and Whole Lotta Woman. Those have a ton of blues influence and I just love her tone. And Kelly is also a Texas girl. So that was a big part of my decision because I’m from Houston. And so I’m always out to represent Houston. That’s all of us Texans’ mission. And our favorite thing to do is talk about Texas.
I was faced with the choice of someone from Texas and someone from Oklahoma [Blake Shelton], and I don’t know where Jennifer is from. But I was like–I definitely got to go with my Texas girl. And also the jacket did push me a little over the edge. I’m actually wearing it right now.
Tyshawn Colquitt -23 year old from Cincinnati, Ohio runs a pound cake business “Pound 4 Sound” with his mom. Tyshawn entered a Russian singing competition show in which he placed in the Top 10 and was broadcast all over Europe. He’s also won singing contestants at the Apollo in Harlem 6 times. After performing Sam Smith’s “Like I Can” Blake and Jennifer hit their buttons. Tyshawn chose Jennifer.
Can you tell us a little bit about performing for big crowds in Cincinnati, Russia and more. How did it feel performing for millions of people at the Blinds?
It was definitely an amazing feeling. After Jennifer had shared my post on her page in December of last year, I was like ‘oh, I have to go to The Voice now. She’s the coach of The Voice. I have to go. I have to go. I have to go.’
I was super pumped up because I’ve won Apollo and New York six times. I was like okay, I’ve got this. I’ve got this. I came to a rude awakening when I got to do the Blinds. It was like boom–I’m singing to peoples’ backs. Like I’m singing to peoples’ backs in front of this massive audience and this is televised all over.
It’s a real nerve wracking experience, just waiting and anticipating. Which one of the coaches are going to turn? And then when I went and hit my falsetto, my high voice, Jennifer turns around and instantly my heart is pounding. I’m struggling with my nerves and trying to make sure I don’t forget the lyrics. Don’t stop singing. Keep singing. You’ve got to finish the song. And then after the last two seconds of the song, Blake turns around, which totally shocked me. It threw me. I’m like ‘oh wow, Blake loves me. Blake wants to be my coach.’
Being on television, in front of everybody and finally having this opportunity so that my siblings could see me on this platform, was the best feeling ever. My siblings went crazy. It was like a big riot in my house.
You auditioned at the Indianapolis open auditions. What was that day like?
I chose to submit a video on The Voice just to humor everybody, to make everybody off my back. I submitted a video that I did when I won Apollo in New York. And literally within the week, one of the producers hit me and said, is it possible for you to come and have a private audition in Indianapolis?
From there, the journey began. And the date I had to do the audition, I’m coming from Columbus, Ohio. It was a bad snowstorm and it was so difficult getting there. I was literally two hours behind. I thought I missed my opportunity. Because I had on this super loud suit–I came and he was like, just this time, I’m going to let you come in. So you better do your thing. He allowed me to get through the door and be able to get in line, and so here we are.
Why did you choose Jennifer Hudson as your coach?
It has always been my life dream to meet Jennifer. When I saw Dream Girls–from her coming off of a television show and then landing a movie like that–it was just big news to me. She made something that seemed so impossible possible and I definitely admired it.
Every time Jennifer Hudson opens her mouth, it’s warm. It really moves me and I felt with the voice that I have she was the best coach to help me get me ready for these big platforms. I just want the world to really take me in. And I feel like she was the best coach to be able to help me hit the whole world.
Radha – 19 year old from New Jersey, is 1st generation Filipino. Her big voiced performance of Jessie J’s “Mama Knows Best” got Blake, Adam and Jennifer to hit their buttons. But OOPS. Adam blocked Jennifer. And it paid off, as Radha chose him as her coach.
How did you feel about Adam Levine blocking Jennifer Hudson–you dim admit that you would have chosen her.
I was honestly in pain watching it happen because the fact that each coach is allowed to have one block, I heard that I was the first block [it’s] really, really crazy to me. I’m so happy and I’m so shook honestly.
What is it like working with Adam as a coach?
He’s very honest. I’m the type of person that likes really straightforward honesty. It’s okay to be hard on me a little because I take constructive criticism really well. So far working with him has been amazing. He really knows I have a lot of potential, and I feel like he’s bringing it out of me.
Why did you choose Adam as your coach?
Actually before all of this, I remember The Voice was asking us ‘who would you choose? Who would be your first choice?’ Actually if Kelly would have turned, Kelly would have definitely been my first choice.
The outcome was completely different than I thought, and honestly way better than I ever I thought, and I’m so thankful for being on Team Adam. Even just the moment that he turned around and looked at me like that, I knew that I had it. He turned around pretty fast.
And The Voice showed the scene where he pressed the block button already. And to know that I was going to be the block on Jennifer, I was actually potentially going to choose Jennifer as well and because he really fought for me, and decided to do that first thing in the season–it really, really spoke to me, kind of triggered a little emotion in me.
Kameron Marlowe – 21 year old country singer from North Carolina. is a big Blake Shelton fan. So after performing Luke Comb’s “One Number Away” he chose Blake as his coach over Kelly Clarkson.
Why did you pick Blake Shelton as your coach, even though he barely said said a word to you in the edited clip.
He gave me some feedback. He said that I sounded a lot like a few country artists that he respected, which I really appreciated. I just knew going up there if he turned his chair, there was no other option for me.
Blake Shelton has been a hero of mine for years and years and years. So to be able to work with him one on one was something that was so special to me and so magical. And being able to be around all these people has been a great experience.
Mercedes Ferreira- Dias – 17 year old from Florida auditioned last year but didn’t get a chair. She came back this season with a performance of Sara Bareilles’ “She Used to Be Mine” and chose Blake Shelton to be her judge over Kelly Clarkson.
What was it like returning to The Voice for a second time. How have you grown since the last time?
I think in these past couple of months, I definitely have developed my artistic style a lot more, and have gotten into finding out who I want to be as an artist. And when I was given the opportunity to come back and audition, I leaped at it. One of my mantras is that your chance to succeed goes all the way down to zero if you don’t try.
Being back up out there and on the stage and then finally getting attention, was just an amazing experience.
Why did you choose Blake over Kelly?
Actually in all the interviews and just in my head–when I was going to perform–I said to myself that if Kelly turned around, I would 100% pick her. And then when I got up on the stage and Blake was the first to turn around, followed by Kelly, just he said all the right things and I went with my gut decision just to go with Blake.
Tyke James – 17 year old from from Laie, Hawaii plays small venues such as taco trucks back home. His performance of “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran got a turn from Adam Levine.
You were a one chair turn. How do feel about the match up with Adam Levine?
Adam is like a blessing and I had no idea. If everyone were to have turned around, I don’t know if I would have gone with him right at the start. But now that we’ve worked together in season, I can’t imagine being with any other coach. Seriously it’s such a sick match up. I’m so stoked to be on team Adam.