On Set Of NBC’s “The Voice” Season 14

Press Screening of “The Voice” Season 14 at NBC.

During a press screening and lunch with Audrey Morrissey, Executive Producer of “The Voice” and season 13 winner Chloe Kohanski, I had the opportunity to ask how the series stays relevant. Having Audrey and Chloe’s insight on the series put things into perspective and made me a fan of the show. I’m rooting for Kyla Jade (from #TeamBlake) and Drew Cole (from #TeamAdam).

The major take away from my time on set of The Voice is that having a sustainable career in the entertainment industry, particularly as an artist is a marathon not a sprint and it’s better to have a slow-burning career that includes mentorship and artist development in lieu of overnight social media fame.

Check out my Q+A with Audrey and Chloe below!

Zon D’Amour: Nearly a decade ago, reality TV competitions helped to propel the careers of artists like Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson to become multiplatinum, Grammy award winning superstars.  How do you manage the expectations of the contestants and the winners of The Voice when there are not only a plethora of other singing competitions but the rise of social media opening the flood gates for aspiring artists to make a name for themselves in the industry.  

Audrey Morrissey: That’s a great question. Yes, the music business is different, the landscape is different in both TV and music. This is how we look at it and I really believe this…I tell everyone that comes through the show the same thing, “The Voice” is an elite music academy. No one is invited to come to the show that isn’t super talented.

But sometimes, similar to the Olympics with the world’s greatest athletes, sometimes when artists get on stage for the blind auditions, even though they’re incredible singers, they get on the stage and they choke. And they don’t live up to what we know they can do then they go away sadden because it’s a crushing moment. But for those that get on the show, we tell them all, and Chloe can attest to this, I don’t know any other place where you will literally have one-on-one time, energy and coaching put into you by super successful artists themselves. They care personally about the contestants and it’s a dual thing for them, they want to do right by the contestants and their artistry and they also want them to do great and advance in the show. The judges are constantly trying to better them so I look at this as an elite academy.

Everyone’s career percolates differently. Being an artist, then becoming a particularly meaningful one are two different things.

I always say, ‘Look, there’s only going to be one winner and four finalists but for as long as you can manage to stay on the show, take advantage of it.’ There are literally hundreds of people that work on the show from the coaches to the band to the vocal coach who’s an unsung hero/stylist/medic. Everyone wants to do is help these people get a little further down their path. I’ve often thought about doing a “Where Are They Now” special because even though we haven’t necessarily had that breakout number 1 on mainstream rhythmic or top 40, we have had some incredible successes.

“The Voice” Season 14 Screening & Lunch with Producer Audrey Morrissey & Chloe Kohanski at NBC.

I always talk about a woman who’s one of the top writers in Nashville right now, who came through The Voice. RaeLynn, wasn’t a winner, but she’s also doing very well in country. Cassadee Pope as well as Danielle Bradbery is having a moment, she was a winner from Blake’s team. Everyone’s career percolates differently. Being an artist, then becoming a particularly meaningful one are two different things. The big stars that seem to emerge out of nowhere, have actually been grinding and trying to connect with their artistry for years. We love talent, we love artists and we want to continue to help them.

Chloe Kohanski: The Voice is like a music bootcamp; it’s like singing college or something weird. It’s like an adult summer music program where you form friends, make memories and you have people that you may not see everyday because [for example] they’re from Wisconsin and you’re from Nashville but you can pick up the phone and talk to them. I think the coolest part is everyone is from all over America and no matter how far you make it, you’re all going to keep singing.

So for me, it’s a little bit different. Winning isn’t something that I expected to happen, I was literally just going to ride the wave and be as memorable as I possibly could be. So I think my advice for other contestants…my strategy was to get bigger and better every time I sang. Literally, my hair got like ten times bigger [every performance]. I wanted to grow and get stronger every performance so that it never became predictable and it’s never something that made you go into the room and refill your chip bowl, you’re sitting there and you’re like, ‘that’s somebody.’

Even though I never thought in a million years that I would win. People literally told me, ‘You won’t win. Country wins. Or R&B wins. Or younger people win.’ and I was like, ‘Okay, cool. I’ll just be someone that you remember.’ So that would be my advice for anyone that anyone that tries out for any show, especially The Voice. [Ask yourself], what makes you special? Because if you didn’t do it on the show and you wanted to be a singer, someone would ask you that any way. If you have any meeting with any manger, attorney or any one in the business, they’re going to ask you what makes you special? Why should I spend my time on you? It’s cut throat but it’s real. [The Voice] is like a bootcamp and you learn pretty fast, if you don’t know who you are, you’re probably not going to make it that far on the show. You have to be confident in who you are and know that this is what you’re meant to do.

(Wait! There’s an intro you probably missed, click here!) “The Voice” airs Mondays & Tuesdays at 8/7 only on NBC.

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