On Tuesday (Dec 19) twenty three-year-old classic rock singer Chloe Kohanski from Nashville, Tenn., was crowned champion of season 13 of the NBC competition series, The Voice.
During the Blind Auditions, Chloe impressed the coaches with her performance of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” which earned her chair turns from coaches Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson and Blake Shelton. She chose Team Miley, and during the Knockout Rounds, she gave a game changing performance of Stevie Nick’s “Landslide,” which led to a steal by Blake.
In a recent conference call with reporters, the singer chatted about what’s next, the differences between Team Blake and Team Miley, heading to Las Vegas and much more.
On Chloe’s vision for her album: I just want to make music that stands the test of time. I want to bring classic rock back into pop culture. I want to blend the older, timeless sounds with some modern influences as well. It’s one thing to cover other people’s songs that are already so brilliant. But to create songs like that, write songs like that, is the true truth of an artist. I’m excited to start dreaming it up and working on it.
On her songwriting and penning songs for her first record: I have songs, and I definitely have people that I’d love to work with. I’m not really sure what the plan is moving forward with the record. I haven’t even had the meeting yet. I’m sure it’s going to involve a lot of different people, hopefully a lot of different influences. I think whatever happens, it’s going to be an amazing record–which I’m going to try really hard to make sure I actually get the record! I want to make a record. That’s why I’m doing this.
On the differences between working with Miley Cyrus and Blake Shelton: Miley’s super awesome. I started out on her team. She’s incredible. She’s a visionary, a creator. She has a lot of vision for performances, and specific ideas. I’m not sure what it would have looked like if I had finished the season with Miley. I think we’re both so creative, that there might have been moments where it might have gotten a little hectic. I’m really glad that I was stolen by Blake because [our working relationship] has been incredible. He’s showed me how to stay true to myself as an artist, not to compromise my vision, and to be myself. He lets me do my thing. He doesn’t really have too much to say in regard to what I’m wearing, or how I’m doing my hair, or the lighting or the set design, because I’m very hands on with all of that. He’s really let me have the freedom and liberty to do that. I wouldn’t have wanted things to go any differently.
On what she learned from Blake musically: Musically I learned how to get out of my own head and just feel the music and have fun. Blake is a really light hearted, funny guy. I can get pretty serious when it comes to music–in a good way, but sometimes in a negative way. He is….genuine. He even has a good time when he performs. It’s what he loves and who he is. He’s really challenged me to incorporate that into my artistry–just letting it be a fun experience.
On how Chloe was matched up with 80’s icon, Billy Idol for her finale duet: We turned in a list of people that we would love and be honored to perform with. It was a pretty big list that I sent in, but I know Billy Idol was on my list. I didn’t know if it was a possibility. [When it got] on his radar that he was one of my inspirations, he reached out to The Voice and told them when he was available to record a performance. I got to hang out with him backstage before we went on, he was so awesome, down to earth. I [got] to talk to him and tell him how much his type of singing, his style really influenced me as an artist. I want to be half as cool as him. He’ the coolest guy ever.
On her excited reaction when she found out Billy would be her duet partner: I was very emotional. Me being able to sing with a legend like Billy Idol is huge. I’ll carry that with me for the rest of my life.
On her involvement with The Vegas residency, Neon Dreams, that begins this spring and how she’ll manage that along with recording an album: I have been told little to no details about the Vegas process. The only thing that we were told is that whoever wins gets the opportunity to be involved with the Vegas show and be a part of it at some point. I have no idea of the duration, or the dates. I don’t start until spring. It’s going to be incredible, but I don’t know for sure what my involvement in the residency will be. I would be stoked to be a part of it in any way I can. If that means travelling to Vegas to perform throughout the week, or over the course of a month or two–whatever that looks like while working on the beginning phases of a record. [It’s] my plan, to kind of navigate through both. It’s possible to work on more than just one project at once. We’ve been doing it on the show this whole time.
On the original song she sang in the finale. Did she and Blake choose it together? Did she have more than one song to choose from? Everything moves really fast. It went from 8 to the Top 4, and we had to instantly find songs that were ready to be performed live on television and also pretty much ready in 24 hours to [be recorded] in the studio. I had sent in a couple of original songs of my own that were not finished–that were about, maybe 40-50% done. We just didn’t really have the time to commit to building a track, getting everybody on the same page. They [the show] actually emailed me a demo of “I Wish I Didn’t Love You” and they said this is something that we feel is similar to what you sent in, but it’s ready to go. It’s a good song, and it’s very emotional and it seems right up your ally.
I listened to it, and literally I was speechless, because I just felt instantly so connected with the storyline of that song. It is exactly what I want to do as an artist. I want to tell stories and I want to make music that almost feels timeless and feels that it’s from another decade. That song to me really represented that. It was a pretty big ballad, and I don’t want to be just a ballad singer. But I think people like that vulnerable moment. I feel everybody, as far as subject matter–it doesn’t matter who you are–everybody has been happy in love, and also fallen out of love. It’s one thing to say ‘I love you’ to someone, but actually admit to yourself that you wish you didn’t love them? That’s a whole other level of pain. I love that song so much. I’m so happy people reacted the way that they did.
On how her finale duet with Blake came together: I was wondering all season what we were going to sing together, because our voices are so different, but I was also so excited. Blake emailed me “would you think about Roy Orbison ‘You Got It’? And I was like, ‘wow, I love it.’ Because it has, kind of like a country, old school kind of shuffle and groove that Blake sounds so nice on. But then [it also has] like a bluesy kind of rock, fun upbeat…I was very on board with that song. It was so much fun to perform. I felt like our voices blended really nicely together.
After she left Team Miley, did she give Chloe any more input? Because everybody [respects] each other’s boundaries, whenever you move to another team, as far as input goes, you don’t really discuss that with any other coach. I talked to Miley, and had a great conversation with her, I think, Sunday night. But it was just about life and personal stuff. Speaking about the songs and the performances is just between you and and your coach. Because it is a competition, they do a good job of knowing when to give their opinion–after your performance–not input before.
Did she notice a difference in how Blake coached her and her fellow team mate Red Marlow? No. I think Blake Shelton was the same with me and with Red and with everybody every season of the show. I feel like he always lets artists do their thing. That is my answer when people ask, how Blake Shelton has won so many seasons. I’m like–well, if you pay attention to what he does, he really doesn’t get in the way of the artist. He just lets them do their thing on the show, and celebrates who they are. He’s never asked me to change, or be anyone else other than Chloe, and I think that’s awesome.
When did she discover her current musical lane? I was in a blues band when I was a lot younger, and I was in that band for over two years and we only played straight up blues for only six months. It wasn’t a blues band–it was a blues rock band and we were blues influenced just like rock music is blues influence. We started playing Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac. That’s when I actually started to resonate with Stevie Nicks. I think I’ve always been a rock singer. Just as blues progressed into rock, I started listening to blues, but then progressed into rock. [Rock] has always been in there. This is the lane that I feel I’m supposed to be in.
She covered a lot of classic rock songs on The Voice. What are some of her contemporary influences? I don’t listen to a lot of contemporary rock. There’s a certain element to classic rock that I don’t feel is around any more. It’s missing in the industry right now. I’m not sure, as far as an influence on my music, if I have a specific modern artist or band that I [could] say. But I listen to a lot of modern music. But it’s just all types of genres. Rap music–SZA. I listen to Rihanna. I listen to everything under the sun. I love to put it all together and listen to it as a mix. It all influences me and the way I feel. But the music that I wanna make–I have to look to the past. I bring inspiration from that.
If she had stayed on Team Miley, would viewers have credited her coach for the creativity she brought to The Voice? Miley actually said that! She said that she was really glad everything worked out the way that it did, because, if I would have stayed on her team–even if she would have let me do whatever I wanted to do–it always would have been a path to ‘Oh well Miley’s really out there….so Miley probably came up with that idea.’ But working with Blake allowed me to really do my own thing, and get the credit that I feel like I earned from creating my own experience and feeling for each song and each performance. I totally agree with that. That’s a very true statement. Everything worked out exactly the way it was supposed to.
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