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Interview with Jesse Larson, Aliyah
Moulden, Savannah Leighton, JChosen, and Autumn of "The
Voice" on NBC 3/1/17
I tried to ask some questions on this conference call,
but two of mine were already taken by other interviewers
before I got there, and then I was told that I couldn't ask
the other question because it didn't deal with this part of
the process. It was a fun call, anyway...
Moderator: Kaitlin Blanco
2017 1:00 pm CT
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank
you for standing by. Welcome to The Voice Season 12
Advancing Artists Press and Media Call. During the
presentation all participants will be in a listen-only mode.
Afterwards we will conduct a question and answer session. At
that time if you have a question please press the 1 followed
by the 4 on your telephone. If at any time during the
conference you need to reach an operator please press the
Star followed by the 0.
As a reminder this
conference is being recorded Wednesday, March 1, 2017. I
would now like to turn the conference over to Ms. Kaitlin
Blanco with The Voice PR. Please go ahead.
Blanco: Thank you. Hi everyone, thanks for joining our call
today. Joining us today from Team Adam we have Jesse Larson,
from Team Blake we have Aliyah Moulden, from Team Gwen we
have Savannah Leighton and JChosen, from Team Alicia we have
Autumn Turner and Lilli Passero will be joining the call on
Out of respect for all journalists
queuing up, please ask only one question at a time. You will
have the opportunity to follow up. And if your question is
for the larger group please designate one artist to speak
first. I will now turn the call over to the question and
answer portion. Go ahead.
Operator: Thank you. Ladies
and gentlemen if youíd like to register a question please
press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. You will
hear a three tone prompt to acknowledge your request. If
your question has been answered and you would like to
withdraw your registration please press the 1 followed by
the 3. If you are using a speakerphone please lift your
handset before entering your request.
please for the first question. And our first question comes
from the line of MJ Santilli with MJís Big Blog. Please
proceed with your question.
MJ Santilli: Hi, my
question is for Jesse. Hi Jesse.
Jesse Larson: Hi.
MJ Santilli: I was wondering during your video package
you mentioned that you had worked with - that Prince had
called you and that you had worked for The Voice contestant
Judith Hill. Could you talk a little bit about that?
Jesse Larson: Oh sure. Yes I had gotten a phone call and my
band that I was playing with called MPLS had gotten a phone
call from Prince and his people and they asked us to come
out and do a private performance for him so we did. We ended
up going out there and we played I think five or six songs.
And when we left we got a phone call and they had
asked for the guitar player to come back the next day and
jam with Prince. And so I did which was, you know, crazy. So
I did go back the next day and then I ended up meeting
Judith Hill that day and realizing that I was getting called
back for an audition to be in Judithís band that Prince was
putting together for his Hit and Run USA Tour in 2015.
So about a week and a half later I got a text message
saying Jesse are you ready to quit your job and be put on a
retainer by Prince. And so I did, I had to go in the next
day and put my two week notice in to my career that I had
for 15 years managing an auto parts store. And the following
Monday I started working at Paisley Park as Judith Hillís
guitar player and backup singer working for Prince.
MJ Santilli: You said that only lasted about four months so
what - how did that end?
Jesse Larson: Well Prince
just changed his direction. Heís kind of like that or he was
kind of like that where he was always changing directions
and ideas of what he wanted to do. He always had a bunch of
projects going at the same time.
And so around that
time was when he started his Piano and a Microphone Tour so
he only did like one or two full band shows after our
contracts werenít renewed and then it was just straight to
the Piano and a Microphone. And it was kind of like the
beginning of the end unfortunately if you know what I mean.
MJ Santilli: So did you record anything with Judith?
Jesse Larson: No, Prince did all of the guitars and
vocals and bass on her album. I was just going to be her -
MJ Santilli: Did you meet him?
Jesse Larson: Oh yes I worked with him every day.
Santilli: What was he like?
Jesse Larson: Every day
for 10 to 12 hours. Just as you imagine like what everybody
else, you know, describes him as. Heís very reserved, very
introverted, like a very like deep thinker. You know, he
would just be a presence in the room pretty much all day,
just be observing and making sure that what we were doing
was his vision and his idea of what Judithís sound was
supposed to be. You know, so I mean every day he would sit
there and watch us and coach us and guide us through the
music and our show.
MJ Santilli: Thank you.
Jesse Larson: Yes of course.
Operator: Our next
question comes from the line of Mark Franklin with Voice
Views. Please proceed with your question.
Franklin: Yes my question is for Aliyah. Congratulations on
a very nice audition Aliyah.
Aliyah Moulden: Thank
you so much.
Mark Franklin: I think you surprised
everyone though by picking Blake. I was wondering if you
could talk a little bit about that. I thought I even heard
your mom screaming ďPick Adam.Ē
Aliyah Moulden: Well
my mom was screaming ďPick Gwen.Ē
Mark Franklin: Oh
Aliyah Moulden: But yes, I was just so shocked
that he even turned around for me because he is an amazing
coach and he has won the show so many times and he really
cares for his contestants because I watch the show a lot.
And the things that he told me, he kept talking about the
future and going to the end and the distance. And I just
really, really could see that he was genuine and that he
And so were the other - so was Gwen
and so was Alicia but it was just kind of like he - like -
it was kind of like he was talking to me as if we were
already working together. And I just really, really was star
struck by him. I mean, Iím a huge fan and I just couldnít
believe that he even turned around for me. It was a
blessing. And so I went with him because even though I donít
sing country music I just went with the one who I felt was
going to connect with me the most.
Mark Franklin: You
seemed fearless, I mean, not nervous at all during that
performance. Was that the case? And if so what did you
attribute that to?
Aliyah Moulden: I wasnít nervous
the day actually. I think itís because I get my nerves out
the days before. Especially before any performance I can - I
try to get all my nerves out before the day of because if I
get nervous the day of I wonít be able to sing because my
throat closes up when I get nervous. And also everybody on
the team was so supportive and my mom was so encouraging.
And there was nothing really to be afraid of because
everybody was there for a reason and you were - everybody
was so well prepared that there was - if it didnít happen it
was just because it wasnít meant to happen. And I wasnít
nervous. I think I was so excited that it kind of like - I
just couldnít stop jumping around. It was funny.
Franklin: Okay. All right, thank you very much and best of
luck moving forward.
Aliyah Moulden: Thank you so
Operator: Our next question comes from the line
of Beth Kwiatkowski with Reality TV World. Please proceed
with your question.
Beth Kwiatkowski: Hi, I have a
question for Autumn, JChosen, and Savannah. Can you each
talk about which coach you were hoping to win over going
into your blind audition and then why you picked the coach
you did? Like if you ended up picking a different coach than
you initially anticipated, Iím wondering what was said to
change your mind. So if we could start with Autumn maybe.
Autumn Turner: Hi. So I originally 100% always wanted to
go with Alicia Keys but I wasnít sure. You know, of course
we donít know what the outcome is going to be until it
happens right in front of our eyes.
And the moment
Adam turned and he was the first one, like first ten
seconds, and I was like thatís it. If it has to be Adam like
you know, it will be Adam. And then Gwen turned and Iím like
now I have a choice. So the whole time as each coach was
turning around I really had no idea. And then as they
started speaking to me I was like I donít know. I might not
even pick Alicia anymore.
And then the final thing
that she said like, you know, have fun and be yourself, that
was it for me. I knew that I wanted her for a reason. And my
mind was almost changed about 17 different times throughout
the whole conversation with the coaches but I wound up just
sticking with my initial gut.
Great, how about you JChosen?
JChosen: Well letís
see, coming into the blinds when the chairs started to turn
I really didnít know who I wanted to pick honestly. I was
telling people Alicia Keys, I was telling myself even Adam.
But the thing that got me to pick Gwen was just
simply her saying, you know, she had - pretty much her being
diverse. And I know coming into the show I just didnít want
to perform to one audience and I said okay, I wanted to - my
people always tell me, my mom always tell me to dream big so
I donít want to - I never want to put myself in a box and
say okay well letís think outside the box and grow.
And so when Gwen had said what she said I can give you both
sides because I have been in boy groups and I have the
female tendency so to me all that just summed it up to be
diverse. And I was like well at that moment I was like okay,
it was a last minute decision. And I went with Gwen because
I wanted the diversity.
Beth Kwiatkowski: Awesome,
and how about you Savannah?
Savannah Leighton: Well I
always like loved Adam and I wanted him to turn so bad for
me just because I have always been a huge Maroon 5 fan and a
huge Adam Levine fan. And then Blake and Gwen were the only
ones that turned and then so I was like - as soon as I got
done singing I was like okay, itís definitely Blake, you
know, because I love country music too.
Gwen started talking to me and she was like telling me how
she has been in my shoes before and she just made me feel
like she could really help me like with my confidence and
stuff. Because thatís the main thing for me is confidence
and I feel like she can really like help me build my
confidence and so that is the main reason why I picked her.
Beth Kwiatkowski: Great, thank you guys.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Sophia
Gottfried with northjersey.com. Please proceed with your
Sophia Gottfried: Hi, this question is for
Autumn Turner: Thank you.
Sophia Gottfried: Iím here at northjersey.com, I wanted
to learn a little bit more about your connection to
Montclair and the area and how that has influenced your
Autumn Turner: Well I went to middle school
and elementary school in Bloomfield so I was always near
Montclair throughout my life when I was little. And then in
high school I went to an all-girls private school in
Montclair. So I was, I mean, there five days a week for high
school and a lot of my friends that I went to school with
also lived in that area so I was there all the time hanging
out with them.
And then I went to Montclair State
University and I had a minor in musical theater. So with
musical theater as my background and for my minor in school,
I mean, I guess Montclair is a very diverse town. Itís, you
know, super connected to music and art and very artsy and
everybody has got their something, you know, that they love
about Montclair and I think for me itís the art side of it
and they appreciate music and there is always festivals and
things of that nature.
And so I actually sang for
Montclair Stage which is run by a woman who - she was a lot
of stuff in Montclair but Montclair Stage, every summer they
have a show every weekend I think on Church Street. And
basically I ran into her one day, she asked me to perform
for them when I was in my old singing group and I did that.
So between Montclair State and Montclair Stage with
the shows that they had, I have done a lot of things with
music in Montclair and I think being in this area and living
in this area currently has helped me shape a little bit more
of the direction I want to go with my music.
Autumn Turner: But Montclair is very
important to me.
Sophia Gottfried: And Alicia
appealed to your east coast connection.
Turner: Yes, her being from New York so it was - yes
exactly. It was - she talked a little bit about how she just
thinks itís so cool that, you know, weíre very kind of the
same mind, very down to earth. I donít know that - again
watching last night was insane so Iíve been trying to keep
rewatching it to remember what everybody said.
donít know if it was shown but I do remember her saying to
me that, you know, east coast, down to earth. And so for her
to make that connection I thought that was very, very cool
of her to say that so it just, you know, all made sense for
me to be on her team.
Sophia Gottfried: Thank you so
much and good luck.
Autumn Turner: Of course. Thank
you very much.
Operator: Our next question comes from
the line of Krista Chain with TV MegaSite. Please proceed
with your question.
Krista Chain: Hi, my question is
for Jesse. Hi Jesse.
Jesse Larson: Hey.
Chain: My question was on your audition Adam was the only
one that turned. Were you - did you have a coach picked that
you would have picked other than Adam or had you planned to
go with Adam?
Jesse Larson: To be honest with you I
think a little bit I wanted Alicia Keys to be my coach but
just because I love her music, I love her style, I love the
way she carries herself, I love her as an artist. But Adam
would definitely have been my second if not my first choice.
Iíve been a big fan of his music for a long time as well.
So and to be perfectly honest with you, I donít
think it would have made a difference either way who ended
up turning their chair if, you know, as long as I got a
chair turn because every coach is, you know, amazingly
talented and gifted as an artist and a musician and Iím just
so fortunate to be surrounded by so many amazing people. So
I donít think it would have mattered either way but as far
as having Adam as my coach now I am very, very happy and I
feel very fortunate.
Krista Chain: Okay great, I
really enjoyed your performance by the way.
Larson: Thank you very much.
Operator: Our next
question comes from the line of Bobby Jones with the New
Music Buzz. Please proceed.
Bobby Jones: Hi, this
question is for JChosen.
JChosen: Yes sir.
Bobby Jones: Did you ever think that, you know, if you had a
chance to win this thing, you know, what are you going to do
with the kids and how will you winning give a platform to
the kids that you teach?
JChosen: Honestly winning -
I havenít been - I havenít actually thought about if I win.
Right now I guess Iím just taking it step by step. But if I
did win I definitely would come back and, you know, support
where I came from. I was always taught never burn the
bridges that help you cross. And so I would definitely come
back and love on my kids and just give back to the
community. Because I mean, thatís who really makes you.
Bobby Jones: Right, right. Do you think - have they
watched the show?
JChosen: Oh they have and I have
been getting a lot of publicity here at school and itís just
- itís amazing.
Bobby Jones: Well Iím excited for
you, thank you.
JChosen: Thank you.
As a reminder, once again ladies and gentlemen to register a
question it is the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone.
And our next question is a follow-up question from the line
of Mark Franklin with Voice Views. Please proceed.
Mark Franklin: Yes my question is also for Jesse. Jesse you
talked about being in the music business for 15 years. The
story with Prince is fascinating but can you fill us in a
little bit on the other things youíve done musically to this
Jesse Larson: Yes of course. When I was 16 is
when I started playing guitar and it kind of started with,
you know, just like having friends over and playing, you
know, back yards and garages and stuff like that and then it
kind of progressed into playing bars and clubs when I was
17, 18 years old.
So we were - we as in me and my
brother and the people we had in our band were playing bars
when we were 18, 19 years old. And then from there I got
into a couple other like original groups and stuff, you
know, just playing the bar scene, things like that. Nothing
And then about five years ago we started
a band with a bunch of my friends from around here called
MPLS like Minneapolis, MPLS, and we released an album two
years ago called Hello and we have been, you know, touring
around a little bit. Weíve opened up for Mint Condition a
couple different times and we played First Avenue a couple
of times here in Minneapolis.
And at this point
weíre just kind of, you know, supporting our album. Weíre
working on writing another album currently as well. But, you
know, to be honest just like what Iíve done for the past 15
years is really just work really, really hard at what I do.
Mark Franklin: Right, and so youíre still active with
that group and what type of music do you play?
Larson: Yes sir. We do like - the basis of what we do is
like the Minneapolis funk sound from the 80s like the Morris
Day and the Time, Prince, you know, all that stuff. And from
there we kind of add some soul, R&B, hip hop influences,
stuff like that. So itís pretty diverse. And we have five
front people in the band. We have a rapper and four singers.
Mark Franklin: You have a pretty big band?
Larson: Yes itís a lot of fun. People really enjoy it and I
have a great time with it too.
Mark Franklin: Okay.
All right, thank you very much and best of luck.
Jesse Larson: Thank you very much.
Operator: And our
next question is a follow-up question from the line of Bobby
Jones with the New Music Buzz. Please proceed.
Jones: This question is also for Jesse. What was the steps
that it took for you to get on The Voice, like what made you
make your decision like you know what, let me try The Voice.
Because it seems like you were pretty comfortable with the
band that youíre in.
Jesse Larson: To be honest I got
a phone call and they said, you know, we saw your, you know,
weíve seen you on social media and some YouTube clips and
stuff like that and weíre really interested. Weíre wondering
if youíd be interested in possibly auditioning for the TV
show The Voice.
And to be honest at first I was a
little hesitant just because I wasnít sure if that was the
direction personally I wanted to go with what I do. Because
I have always been a side man. Iíve been like the lead
guitar player, back on my vocals and I sang a couple of
songs in the night, so it was a big step for me to get in
the mindset of being, you know, an artist and being the
person in charge, you know, the focal point of a musical
performance is kind of hard me to get in that head space.
But to be honest like it was my wife that kind of
pushed me into it. You know, I had told her that I had got
the phone call with interest in having me on the show and
she said do it. Please do it for me. And I was like, you
know, I think that was all I needed to believe in myself
that I could make it happen and that I could do it. And so
yes, thatís kind of how it happened. And then, you know, now
Iím here which is crazy.
Bobby Jones: Weíre
definitely looking forward to seeing you move on throughout
the competition. Thank you.
Jesse Larson: Oh thank
you man, appreciate it.
Operator: As there are
presently no further questions I will turn the call back to
you Ms. Blanco.
Kaitlin Blanco: Thank you. All right
then, that wraps up our call for today. Thanks everyone,
enjoy the rest of your day.
Jesse Larson: Thanks, you
Woman: Thank you.
Operator: Ladies and
gentlemen that does conclude the conference call for today.
We thank you for your participation and ask that you please
disconnect your lines.
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