But the dynamic wasn’t me showing up and throwing my faith down her throat, it was me loving on her, listening to her, and that’s why she came in and that’s why we enjoyed that moment. It was great, I mean she’s the kind of girl where I had to go “Okay – now we’re going to go in there in this meeting room with the pastors and stuff and you cannot cuss in here” *laughs* I mean she’s that kind of girl, I love the dynamic. To me that’s what faith, that’s what loving people is about - bringing people into our world who would never be there. That’s what I’m loving about this show because I don’t have those opportunities in “our” environment you know what I mean? I’m a worship leader, always on the stage where the audience is agreeing with me. They don’t look at me and go “I swore off church when I was 13.” I’m getting to experience that now and it’s coming to life.
What’s the biggest difference between being on stage with The Voice and leading worship?
The biggest difference is that with my career I am not trying to entertain and impress people with my vocals, that’s not my first thought. My first thought in worship leading is to connect people to the lyric and try to get them to sing with me, which a lot of times means I cannot sing crazy. Christina on the other hand, her thing is “I’m better than everybody,” she doesn’t say that but she is, it’s like you can’t sing along because she’s too good! *laughs* So what I’m having to do here is change my dynamic, when I’m interacting with Christina it’s a way different thing because she wants me to come with everything that I have. Literally I’ve had to turn that off in order to connect with the audience in the church. But The Voice is like “turn it on or you’re going home!” *laughs* That’s the major difference.
The biggest thing I’m going to take away from this experience is thinking outside of the box. In the same way that Christina is a trailblazer, she has made decisions about “this is who I am, I’m going to write songs about it, I’m going to sing, and people are going to follow me.” I want to think outside of the box in my realm and be a trailblazer. I don’t want to play it safe anymore. The Voice is making me not want to play it safe with the adventures that I take on when this show is over and people have forgotten about season 2 and are on to season 3 and 4. I want to be out there not playing it safe, because I’m excited again. There was a part of me that lost some of that excitement in my tenth year of being on the road and leading worship. The Voice has re-created that.
You know, that makes sense, I was pretty surprised to see that two of your favorite musicians are Michael Buble and John Mayer.
That catches everyone off guard! That’s one thing I discussed with the producers of the show, because they assumed that I was just going to be a soul singer. That’s not me at all. I love different, I love being different and I love listening to things that are different. Kirk Franklin is a huge John Mayer fan, so we’d sit back and listen to him. I love lyrics, I love songs that are crafted well, and then I love performers who have mastered their craft. Buble is a performer who has mastered his craft, when he’s 55 it will be just as cool to go see him as it is now. He has created something that’s timeless and that’s what I love about him. Then, when I listen to Mayer’s lyrics I’m like “you’ve gotta be kidding me!”
Picturing you and Kirk Franklin listening to John Mayer is blowing my mind a little.
*laughs* Not what you expected huh?
Not at all! So have you watched the other NBC singing show, The Sing-Off?
I have! My friend Rachael Lampa was on the last season. It’s showcasing talent. Those singers – you could take my team from The Voice and I don’t know if we could execute the stuff that some of the Sing-Off teams can do. Having ears that can actually hear that stuff is not normal, that’s not something you just find. That show takes a lot of ability but it’s obviously group driven, The Voice comes down to you competing for yourself which is a little different take, and it’s about interacting with the coaches on a deeper, more personal level. I love both ideas.
So were you and Christina Aguilera able to connect on a personal level?
Yeah! 2 nights after we got into town the producers walked into a room with the twelve of us and said “Hey Christina wants to have y’all over for dinner so get dressed, no cameras just come over.” So, you know, a couple of days before that I’m leading worship somewhere in America and then the next day I’m at Christina Aguilera’s house out in Hollywood Hills and I’m like “what is going on right now?!” But, she welcomed us into her home, we sat around and we had a great time. She made sure that she got to really know everybody.