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article image'The Voice': Season 8, Week 2 — 'This song's for you...' Special

By Earl Dittman     Mar 9, 2015 in Entertainment
Meet the talented vocalists and performers who sang their hearts out — during the second week of Blind Auditions — for a position on Season Eight teams coached by Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Christina Aquilera and Pharrell Williams on 'The Voice.'
In the two nights of Week 2 (March 2 and March 3, 2015) of Season Eight's Blind Auditions, an additional two dozen singers made it through the first round of The Voice. Once again, the Blind Audition decisions made by Adam Levine, Christina Aquilera, Pharrell Williams and Blake Shelton were based solely on voice and not on looks. We caught up with the 24 of the talented advancing artists from Week Two of The Voice: Season Eight for a few words about their initial experiences on NBC's highly-rated, star-making show.
Travis Ewing (Team Pharrell) explains why he went with Pharrell, even after an impassioned plea from Christina: "Looking back and re-watching the episode last night, Christina pitched it pretty hard. I think we had a roar. I think we had a pretty serious connection, too. I mean, she was the first to turn. She kind of made my performance a lot easier for me, because she kind of turned within ten seconds. The rest of it was just kind of a blur, because I knew that I was already on the show. I think going into the blind audition, I had the idea that I would probably go with Pharrell if he turned with me. I never really thought of myself as a true singer. I think of myself more as a musician. I think, right now at the point that I'm at, I think I needed more direction than anything in terms of my music. I thought that a producer like Pharrell would have a bigger impact on me in the long run."
Barry Minniefield auditions on  The Voice
Barry Minniefield auditions on 'The Voice'
Barry Minniefield (Team Adam) explains why he went from a celebrated chef to a singer on The Voice: "I was a chef at the Improve for many years, and we were one of the first places to do karaoke. So I came out of the kitchen and I'd go into the dining room. We'd start singing and having fun. So it was hard to keep me out of singing. I mean, that's where it kind of all started for me. I've always wanted to sing. To be an entertainer. I do want to do more music. I want music to be my career."
Brenna Jaeger performs on  The Voice
Brenna Jaeger performs on 'The Voice'
Brenna Jaeger (Team Blake) talks about what makes her coach so special: "I don't know if they show it on the show, but Blake has a pretty funny sense of humor. He kind of gets all the jokes that I say, even though I'm kind of awkward. I feel like I can relate to him, because I'm such a big Miranda fan. Obviously, it's his wife, so he's obviously her biggest fan but my whole family grew up listening to him and her, so I kind of felt like I already knew him. But, it was really cool how much he wanted to get to know me and all the questions that he asked. We kind of had some similar interests. He seems like a guy who would probably shop at the general store, so I thought that it was really cool to get to know somebody who you would think is larger than life, but it kind of makes you feel like he's just another person like me. He's just really relatable."
Jeremy Gaynor takes the stage in Season 8 of  The Voice
Jeremy Gaynor takes the stage in Season 8 of 'The Voice'
Jeremy Gaynor (Team Christina) talks about how he ended up auditioning for The Voice: "With my army background basic training and just everything that we have to go through, I just felt like The Voice was just right down my alley. While I was out to do a mission for the army and sing the National Anthem, I just so happened to find out that they were having Voice auditions at the same location that I was singing. I saw it, initially, as an opportunity for me to tell the army story. It started off that way, and I just began to rediscover myself as an artist, fall back in love with my music and just redevelop this passion for being an individual artist and it kind of led me to the blind auditions and Team Christiana, where I am now."
Michael Leier (Team Adam) admits he always knew he wanted to be a musical artist: "I had been singing, I guess, for fun as much as any kid does about until the time I was a teenager. I really wanted to play guitar. But there's really no musical influence in my family. I've got pretty much the only musical bone in my body out of the five that live in my house. (laughs) I think my parents thought that it was just going to be another toy that I wanted when I asked them if I could play guitar. So, we borrowed one. Eventually, I ended up playing in a band and making money during high school. I guess it got me all the way here. So somewhere along the line, I decided that I must be a little bit good at what I'm doing."
Bay Brooks sings  All Of The Stars
Bay Brooks sings "All Of The Stars'
Bay Brooks (Team Blake) explains why the Ed Sheeran song "All Of The Stars" is important to her: "Ed Sheeran is absolutely incredible and has really inspired me just from what he's done. Our stories are a bit similar in that he moved when he was really young to pursue his dream and just kind went for it That is what I've recently done. My family and I picked up and moved to Nashville after a lot of struggle and strife and just kind of picked up and started over and tried to pursue my dreams and my calling. I relate to Ed Sheeran in that way and that song just had a lot of meaning to me. I dedicated the song to my uncle who committed suicide two years ago and that just had a huge impact on my life. It was just very special to me and my family, because it was just a reminder that no matter where we are, whether we're on Earth or not, that he's there. That was just really important to me to do and to inspire others, as well, that no matter what happens that there's always hope."
Clinton Washington performs an Elton John classic
Clinton Washington performs an Elton John classic
Clinton Washington (Team Christina) talk about why he chose an Elton John classic to sing: "'Candle in the Wind,' by Elton, has been something that I've been singing for quite some time on my circuit in New York City as a singer/songwriter. It's dramatic and all those different things that I felt like people would be able to connect with emotionally. It also gave me a lot of room for melody shifts and doing something with the arrangement that would allow me to show a little bit more of my range and expressiveness outside of what Elton had done."
Kimberly Nicole on  The Voice
Kimberly Nicole on 'The Voice'
Kimberly Nichole (Team Pharrell) reveals why she decided to sing "Nutbush City Limits" for her audition: "I did the song because Tina Turner is one of my biggest influences. And, I love that song. It's one of my favorites by her and Ike. And, I thought it was good up-tempo fun. I wanted to challenge myself a bit vocally, and I felt it did that as well."
Corey Kent-White (Team Blake) remembers the panic he felt while waiting for the coaches to turn around during his performance: "I think everybody has in their mind a point in their song where they think if the judges are going to turn around, you think, 'It's going to be at this point and for me.' I hit that point in the song and realized that nobody turned around. I'm not going to lie, I got pretty nervous and basically told myself, 'You're going to have to grab another gear. You know, this thing is going to be over in a couple seconds.' Oh man, it was a scary position, but I think that's where you find out actually what you're made of. It's when things aren't going your way and you decide how are you going to handle the situation."
Bren nae DeBarge sings on  The Voice
Bren'nae DeBarge sings on 'The Voice'
Bren'nae DeBarge (Team Adam) discusses her connection to the legendary DeBarge music family and why she wanted to give The Voice a try: "I'm related to the DeBarge family by marriage. I'm actually married to Andrew DeBarge, who is the son of Tommy DeBarge. But, I've been doing music all my life and just recently started with the family, maybe about four or five years ago. I thought it was really just time to really put myself out there. I just figured I'd give it a chance, and just going to see where it takes me."
India Carney competes in Season 8 of  The Voice
India Carney competes in Season 8 of 'The Voice'
India Carney (Team Christina) reveals why she chose Christina as a coach: "I went with my gut on that one. Honestly, going in, Adam was always my first choice going into it. But, you know, Christina turned first. She seemed to be fighting the most for me and saying the right things to make me want to be on her team. She's someone who I've admired for like my whole life. I mean, if I hadn't gone with her that would have been a really big opportunity that I should have taken."
Nicolette Mare on  The Voice
Nicolette Mare on 'The Voice'
Nicolette Mare (Team Adam) explains how the show has helped her realize the kind of artist she wants to be: "I would best describe myself as a singer/songwriter stuff that makes indie pop. But, I think I have a little bit of country influence in my voice. So, more like country pop. The Voice has been an amazing experience, because it really, really showed me who I want to be as an artist, what kind of music I want to pursue. It really taught me that you have to believe in yourself."
Ashley Morgan (Team Pharrell) discusses why she chose to sing a Whitney Houston classic: "I obviously have been a huge Whitney fan my entire life. It's one of my favorite songs to sing. I actually perform as a part of a wedding band for different corporate events and weddings throughout the year Out of all the songs that I get to sing, that's one of my favorites. It's really upbeat, it definitely shows a lot of my range, so I just wanted to do something like that. With the way that I sing, I tend to get pegged to do a lot of slower ballads, so I wanted to do something that was a lot more upbeat to show that side of my voice."
James McNeiece competes on  The Voice
James McNeiece competes on 'The Voice'
James McNeiece (Team Adam) talks about the biggest advice he's gotten during his time on the show: "The biggest advice I've gotten is just to kind of make sure that you're being yourself, and make sure that you're kind of just being as comfortable as you can be on stage. There is only a short amount of time you have on this show, so you need to utilize every moment. It is a huge platform, so you have to take advantage of the opportunity that's placed in front of you in such a large capacity — being able to sing for so many people. You just want to really put your best self out there."
Jacob Rummell sings  Count On Me
Jacob Rummell sings "Count On Me'
Jacob Rummell (Team Blake) on why he picked the song "Count On Me"; "I chose that song because for me I love Bruno Mars. He's really great. He's one of my huge influences. That song specifically is just simple and so easy and fun that I think that was a good first song for me."
Sonic hits  The Voice  stage
Sonic hits 'The Voice' stage
Ariel "Sonic" Valle (Team Christina) explains what she was doing before auditioning for The Voice: "I have been in a collective for the past couple of years. That consists of three other musicians that I work with singing, sessioning and all that. We've just kind of been like writing a lot, creating music and doing some networking. I've been doing that ever since me being signed to a label kind of fell apart, early on. So, I decided to give the show a shot, to try a second chance at my solo career. And, it ended up working out more than I anticipated."
Brian Johnson (Team Blake) on being bullied when he was younger: "I was bullied a lot because of my weight and just because I had a really interesting experience in front of a middle school singing. I had a really high voice and kids can be really tough. A lot of the producers (of The Voice) have asked me, 'What would you say to 13-year-old, Brian, or what would you say to somebody who is dealing with the same things right now in their life?' The one thing that just kept coming to my mind is you have to make your own definition of who you are and you can't let other people define you. I'm a really strong believer and I have gone through a lot in life where God has given me the strength to kind of shake off a lot of the things that has happened in the past ,which has given me the confidence to do something like The Voice. But to a lot of kids out there they really just need to hear that they need to define their own path, they need to define who they are and they shouldn't let other people define their confidence or define who they are as a person."
Jack Gregori sings  Ring Of Fire
Jack Gregori sings 'Ring Of Fire'
Jack Gregori (Team Adam) reflects on the positive fan reaction he has already received: "The fan response has been great. I can't keep up with my phone, but it's really nice to get all that positive feedback right away. I even looked for some negative ones, but I couldn't find anyway. You know, I was a little disappointed. (laughs) I'm kidding. But no, it's great to have that positive feedback. It's been an overwhelming response and I'm just really happy with it."
Matt Snook on  The Voice
Matt Snook on 'The Voice'
Matt Snook (Team Blake) recalls his nerve-wreaking audition: "When I got about halfway through my song, I was kind of expecting maybe a chair to turn. And when I did not receive that, I was very nervous on the inside. Like all my musical failures flashed in front of me like in two or three seconds. A little voice kind of popped in my head and said, 'You just need to finish strong and do the right thing.' I did that and got lucky enough that Blake turned at the very last second. That was a relief, needless to say." (laughs)
Koryn Hawthorne on  The Voice  stage
Koryn Hawthorne on 'The Voice' stage
Koryn Hawthorne (Team Christina) reveals the most surprising thing she has discovered about her coach: "The most surprising thing about Christina would probably be she's really like into it, and she really wants to know who you are, not only as a person but as an artist. I think that we can kind of overlook that with the coaches. We think that they're just there for the show and they care about you, but not actually really to the point of getting to know who you are. I think that she is just the most loving person and she just really cares. As so for the rest of the coaches they are all very really caring, but for her, I was really surprised and just happy to know that she wanted to get to know who I was."
Lexi Davila (Team Adam) talks about how she relates to Selena and was anxious to sing one of her tunes: "I think the reason that I wanted to sing it so badly was just I felt like I could relate to the sound, with me being Hispanic and her story. It's like a sound that you can just get into and it's so emotional just knowing her story. Being a young Hispanic just like her, I have big dreams. A lot of people that have talked to me about my audition told me that it was just kind of emotional for them just knowing her story. That's kind of what I wanted. I wanted to give like a tribute to her."
Kelsie May on  The Voice
Kelsie May on 'The Voice'
Kelsie May (Team Blake) explains why she wants to be like the Coal Miner's Daughter: "I definitely want to be like Loretta Lynn. I love how even though she's a superstar, she's never changed. She's always been herself. She always stands for something, no matter if anyone agrees with her or not. I just love that about her. I think that she is amazing in every aspect — as an artist, as a songwriter, as a musician, as a person. I just love everything she stands for. I definitely draw inspiration from her."
Josh Batstone competes in Season 8 of  The Voice
Josh Batstone competes in Season 8 of 'The Voice'
Josh Batstone (Team Adam) answers if there was ever a Plan B if music didn't work out for him: "I think everyone, like my entire family and everyone in my life, kind of threw Plan Bs at me, whereas I didn't want to do anything else besides music. Personally, as an artist now, like me, nothing would have amounted to this. This is exactly what I wanted to do, and I couldn't imagine doing anything else. I can't imagine doing anything else ever."
Katelyn Read on  The Voice
Katelyn Read on 'The Voice'
Katelyn Read (Team Christina) talks about what she plans to do to win The Voice: "I just want to do the best that I can each step of the way and take it a step at a time. My goal since starting this process has always just been I just want to be one step further. I just want to make one more step. So, to be here is already exciting, and I just want to be able to show myself who I am as an artist and what my music sounds like. If I can do that and connect with people and make an impact. I mean that's success to me."
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