Snakkle Talks to The Voice Season 2 Winner Jermaine PaulWhen Jermaine Paul auditioned for season two of The Voice, he became instantly known as “Alicia Keys’ Back-Up Singer” when trying to differentiate among the many soulful pop and R&B singers on the show. But today the Team Blake member is going by a different title: Winner. Snakkle caught up with Paul to talk about where he wants his career to go now that it is finally really just getting started. By Danielle Turchiano
During Paul’s time on The Voice, he got to do almost everything he set out to do musically (one dream cover Paul didn’t get to showcase was Prince’s “Purple Rain,” he said), showing America a little bit more each week just what he wanted to do as a solo artist. He started strong with covers of ’80s rock songs like “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Get Outta My Dreams” and went on to tackle smoother sounds, like “Soul Man” and “I Believe I Can Fly.” Paul admitted that it was actually the former numbers that were closest to him personally and therefore best in his wheelhouse.
“I came up kind of very strict Pentecostal family, and the only music I could listen to was on lite-FM. So that’s where I gained that love for James Taylor, Phil Collins, [and] Journey,” he shared with Snakkle.
“I’m a big ’80s rock fan. There were serious, serious singers in ’80s rock, so I’m a big fan, and I just wanted to do something to pay homage to that.”
Needless to say, the album that Paul plans to put out now will have influences from across his professional career. Though he has released music before (“I’ve done the whole selling-out-of-my-trunk thing,” he laughed), Paul is perhaps most excited that his time on The Voice will allow him to have a “machine” behind the music he has been working on for years.
“If you have an ounce of ambition, you’re going home and you’re writing and you’re taking that inspiration that you get every day from watching that performer, and you’re writing, and you’re building,” Paul said, noting that he has been building his own catalog since working as a backup singer with Alicia Keys.
“I’ve put together my own CDs and sold them at concerts and things like that, but there’s something special about a machine behind you,” he said adamantly, “something that is second to none when you have a machine pushing you with marketing.”
Getting choked up, Paul admitted that winning The Voice meant he could finally achieve all of the things he had been dreaming of for his family for years. Though he never knew week to week if America would keep him around, he felt confident in himself that this was his time, because he was being honest with his sound onstage and singing his heart out.
That’s all one can ask for, right? And that’s all Paul advises that any artist should do: “Just be yourself. Don’t ever give up. Everybody’s journey is different. Everybody’s path is different. But it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. And throughout all your experiences and everything that you go through, you take a little, and you let go a little…. You let go of the bad, and you hold onto the good, and you’d be surprised where that takes you.”
Though that drive and determination took Paul to The Voice, his win proves that this is not the destination for him but just one great stop along his way to stardom.
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