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By Krista


Interview with contestants from "The Voice" on NBC 10/3/18

Moderator: Abby Freemire
October 3, 2018 1:00 pm CT

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to The Voice Season 15 Artists Advancing Press and Media conference call. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, Wednesday, October 3, 2018. I would now like to turn the conference over to Abby Freemire with Voice PR. Please go ahead.

Abby Freemire: Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for joining our call today. And joining us today from Team Adam we have Reagan Strange and Fousheť. From Team Blake we have Chris Kroeze. From Team Jennifer we have MaKenzie Thomas. And from Team Kelly we have SandyRedd. I will now go ahead and turn the call over to the Question and Answer portion.

Operator: Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to register a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. You will hear a three tone prompt technology request. And the first question comes from the line of Mark Franklin with Voice Views. Please go ahead.

Mark Franklin: Yes. My question is for MaKenzie. MaKenzie, how are you today?

MaKenzie Thomas: Iím doing great. Thanks. How are you?

Mark Franklin: Pretty good. Hey, I was wondering if you could tell me what you think was different for you auditioning for The Voice this time around?

MaKenzie Thomas: Okay. Well this time around, I can say that I was actually ready for my audition. You know, I was ready to be in that spotlight. Last season - I was still kind of nervous about performing. And I mean, I still have pretty bad stage-fright but being on national television once already, itís really helped me, kind of, conquer that fear a little bit. It really lessened it and I feel like the practice and just being more prepared and knowing what I was going into really helped out and I feel like thatís part of what kept me going during that audition.

Mark Franklin: Good. And where are you hoping this leads you? What are your musical goals?

MaKenzie Thomas: Well, Iím a huge Tori Kelly fan and Iím a really big fan of gospel music as well. And she recently put out an album that is a gospel album; she did it with Kirk Franklin. And my (unintelligible) so, you know, gospel music but just kind of a twist on it. Something a little bit more acoustic and I guess up my alley. But I mean mainly my goal is to be able to minister to people, so, yes.

Mark Franklin: Okay. Thank you very much and best of luck.

MaKenzie Thomas: Thank you.

Operator: The next question comes from the line of Krista Chain with TV MegaSite. Please go ahead.

Krista Chain: Hi. My question is for SandyRedd. How are you today?

SandyRedd: Iím (here). Good. How are you?

Krista Chain: Iím great. I guess my question is I think everybody pretty much just expected you to pick Jennifer. Can you tell us what went through your head when you had the four-chair turn and how you went about selecting Kelly?

SandyRedd: Yes. Basically, I mean, of course I love and respect every last one of the coaches on the panel and I have so many things that I admire about each and every one of them. But Iím a very spiritual person and Iím always just led by God I feel. I feel like these certain things that lead me to certain moments. And so I felt like everything that Kelly was saying to me. Mentioned the rock and the soul that she felt coming from me and my genre is rock-soul. When she was saying that she felt the rock and she felt the soul and not wanting to put me in a box and everything. And the fact that she said that she didnít care who I picked because she just wanted to continue to see me move on in the actual show just showed me that she was coming from a very genuine, very selfless place and I just felt like everything she was saying to me led me to her.

Krista Chain: Okay, great. Well thank you and congratulations.

SandyRedd: Thank you. I appreciate it.

Operator: And the next question comes from the line of MJ Santilli, youíre with MJís BigBlog. Please go ahead.

MJ Santilli: Hi. This question is for Sandy. Like you said, you mix elements of different genres like rock and soul together. And I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about your musical influences?

SandyRedd: My first and foremost musical influence is definitely my mom. My foundation comes from our gospel background, you know, I grew up on the Clark Sisters and BeBe and CeCe Winans and, you know, just all of the gospel greats.

And then, you know, as I grew up, listening to people like Michael Jackson and, Tina Turner and those musical forces I feel that changed the atmospheres of a place or a room or were able to exude emotion out of their music. Those was the kind of people that Iím influenced by the most, you know, your Whitney Houston and people like that.

MJ Santilli: Do you have any favorite rock performers?

SandyRedd: I actually do not have any favorite rock and roll performers. I just love the energy that rock music gives just across-the-board and thatís part of the reason why I choose to do rock-soul. And itís not about it being actual rock music because what I do is soul music thatís delivered in, sort of, a rock-style energy.

MJ Santilli: Got it. Thank you.

SandyRedd: Thank you.

Operator: The next question comes from the line of Abigail Warren with the Commercial Appeal. Please go ahead.

Abigail Warren: Reagan - Youíre obviously one of the youngest contestants in the competition. You got on stage and you didnít seem frightened. Do you think your pageant past kind of played into that? What do you think played into you going up and being able to seem really confident up there?

Reagan Strange: So I would say that the biggest thing for me going on that stage is just the past performances that Iíve had in my lifetime. It is going on stage and knowing that my voice can sometimes make people smile and that just encourages me to do my best and really nail it up there.

Abigail Warren: Where do you see this ending for you?

Reagan Strange: I would hope to let people hear my voice and to get my music out there. And if that leads to fame thatís a really great thing for me but really I want people to hear my voice and my message and what Iím trying to say with my songs.

Abigail Warren: And that message is?

Reagan Strange: Just that I want to spread joy with my music. I donít want to spread any sort of hate. I want it to be purely joy and I want to put a smile on peopleís faces.

Abigail Warren: Great. Thanks.

Reagan Strange: Thank you.

Operator: The next question comes from the line of Elizabeth Kwiatkowski with Reality TV World. Please go ahead.

Elizabeth Kwiatkowski: Hi. A question for SandyRedd. Which coach were you hoping to work with going into your blind audition? And were you close to choosing a different coach until Kelly made that one comment that had a really big impact on you?

SandyRedd: Definitely. I mean my heart was definitely set on Jennifer because, you know, I definitely look up to her. Of course we are both from Chicago and we do have a lot in common. Our backgrounds are extremely similar and I have so much love and respect for her journey and her story.

The fact that sheís travelled the road Iím going down so, you know, I did have Jennifer in mind. It was between Jennifer and Kelly in my mind but I was definitely leaning towards Jennifer at first walking on the stage. Like I said, again, I deal in moments and why Iím led and at that moment, led me to Kelly.

Elizabeth Kwiatkowski: So would you say it was purely an emotional decision to join Kellyís Team? Or was there any strategy involved? Like, maybe you thought Jenniferís Team might have more artists like you that youíd have to compete against?

SandyRedd: Not at all. I feel like - Iím a firm believer in the fact that where God has for me is for me. And so I feel like all the teams have extremely dynamic performers that are all just as good as I am.

And so there was no strategy involved in my decision. I felt like everything that Kelly said out of her mouth and the genuine nature that it came from it just - it felt right. That felt like where I was supposed to be at that time.

Elizabeth Kwiatkowski: Perfect. Thank you.

SandyRedd: Youíre welcome.

Operator: The next question comes from the line of Paula G with Paula G Media. Please go ahead.

Paula G: Greetings everyone and greetings SandyRedd. This is Paula G of the Paula G Show. How are you, love?

SandyRedd: Iím good, Paula how are you?

Paula G: I am fabulous. Many, many congratulations to you. My question for youÖ

SandyRedd: Thank you.

Paula G: My question for you is what went into the selection of that particular song? You have so many performances and sung so many different types of music. With that one moment, what went into selecting that song?

SandyRedd: I really wanted to focus on songs that I havenít touched before, that I wasnít familiar with. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and show that I could do something that people that are already familiar with me hadnít seen me try. So I wanted to give myself a challenge and I felt like River was definitely a song that was up my alley.

But it took me out of my comfort zone. It took a lot of practicing and a lot of going back and forth on different ideas of ways to execute it. So that was really my biggest focus is just stepping outside of my own comfort.

Paula G: And taking a risk?

SandyRedd: Yes. Absolutely.

Paula G: And it paid off. It paid off.

SandyRedd: It definitely paid off yes maíam.

Paula G: Yes. Well thank you so much and much success to you and your Plan A.

SandyRedd: Thank you.

Operator: We have a follow up question from the line of Krista Chain with TV MegaSite. Please go ahead.

Krista Chain: My question is for MaKenzie. Hi MaKenzie. How are you?

MaKenzie Thomas: Iím good thanks. How are you?

Krista Chain: Iím great. My question was just that - first of all, congratulations and applaud you for having the courage to come back and try a second time.

And my question is, were you going into it - did you have an idea in your head of who you wanted to turn around or were you just hoping that this time that you would have a chair turn?

MaKenzie Thomas: Thatís actually a really good question because Iíve been asked that a lot and my answer, you know, it pretty well stays the same throughout.

Going into it, obviously, I was hoping, you know, just for somebody to turn. But a couple of days before my audition I was trying to get in the mindset that I needed to be when getting on that stage. So I kind of started this what I call speaking things into existence. So, you know, my heart wanted Jennifer. Thatís who I really wanted to turn more than anybody else.

So all day, for like three days I just kind of spoke that into existence. I was like, Jenniferís going to turn. Jenniferís going to turn. Itís my time, you know? Just kind of - yes. I mean, I donít really know how else to say that other than speaking it into existence, you know, kind of like a mantra. But, yes, Jenniferís who my heart was set on and so when she turned I was ecstatic.

Krista Chain: Well congratulations and I hope you go far.

MaKenzie Thomas: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Operator: The next question comes from the line of Mark Franklin with Voice Views. Please go ahead.

Mark Franklin: Yes. My question is for Reagan. Reagan how are you today?

Reagan Strange: Iím great. How are you?

Mark Franklin: Pretty good. Hey, I was wondering, you were on the show where some of the contestants had been performing since before you were born. Why did you decide to try out for The Voice at such a young age?

Reagan Strange: Well I literally have been watching the show since Season 1. I was about 6 or 7 years old when I started watching the show. And I was inside, was sitting on the couch as a little girl, I had always envisioned myself on that stage and itís always been my dream. And as soon as they lowered the age to 13 I just thought, now is my time. It is my time. So I just decided to fill an online submission out and once I saw that they wanted to see me for a private call that is when I knew that - I said this is my time to myself, and Iím going to do my best and see what happens.

So after that and once I ended up making it on that stage for the blind audition is when I knew that this is meant to be. And I guess it kind of went along with my song choice anyway so, yes, as soon as all the process just came together is when I knew that although I am so young it was my time.

Mark Franklin: Okay. And why Adam?

Reagan Strange: So I originally went in wanting either Blake or Kelly and my heart was really, really set on Blake. But when I got on stage and I heard the words that Adam said and it just, I guess my gut feeling was just telling me, Adam.

While I did really want Blake itís just the whole mix of things - I think my heart was just also set on Adam and then in the moment, he was the name I said.

Mark Franklin: Okay. Well thank you very much and best of luck.

Reagan Strange: Thanks so much.

Operator: And the next question is also follow up question from the line of MJ Santilli with MJís BigBlog. Please go ahead.

MJ Santilli: My -yes this question is for Fousheť. Everybody seems surprised that you chose Adam as your coach. Could you talk a little bit about why you did that?

Fousheť: Hi. How are you? It was a really hard choice in the moment. Like, when I first came to the show I remember watching the last season and I really thought if I were to go on the show I would pick Alicia Keys.

So when they announced the new judges I knew that Adam would be the closest pick for me for the genre that I want to be in and with the type of music that I wanted to sing.

But of course Jennifer - I grew up listening to her. I was a big fan of hers so it was a hard choice. But I really connect with Adamís career the most and I felt like he would understand, you know, who I was as an artist creatively. Because I kind of - I do identify as a singer but as an artist first and songwriting is a big part of it for me so I admire that about him and his music.

MJ Santilli: Yes. Well just could you talk a little bit about that, about your musical influences?

Fousheť Yes. My musical influences. Itís just a melting pot of so many different things. But where I sing right now, where I have my residency, itís a place called Cafť Wha? Every musician comes from a different background of music. We have from Latin to Jazz to Blues to Rock and Soul, of course. So I grew up listening to R&B and my mom, she was a big Bob Marley fan being from Jamaica and was a mix of so many different things.

And then - as I started doing music, I felt like my music was a mix of everything. It wasnít just one thing so I kind of gravitate towards artists who incorporate a lot of different sounds in their music.

MJ Santilli: Thank you.

Fousheť Thank you.

Operator: And the question comes from the line of Abigail Warren of the Commercial Appeal. Please go ahead.

Abigail Warren: Hey, Reagan I have one more question for you. So youíre the second person to be chosen from Memphis. So whatís it like to be able to represent Memphis to, I mean, like, not only LA while youíre out there but also, you know, America as a whole and our music?

Reagan Strange: So Memphis really, really has a music root to it. And so when I went out to LA for this audition I knew in some way I had to represent my home.

And so I just really, with my voice, I just want to show the world that Memphis is still striving with music and that I just really wanted to represent Memphis very well and just show them that even though I am so young - I can still go out there and represent Memphis the best I can.

Abigail Warren: Great. Thanks.

Reagan Strange: Thank you.

Operator: The next question comes from the line of Elizabeth Kwiatkowski with Reality TV World. Please go ahead.

Elizabeth Kwiatkowski: Hi. Just a question for Reagan. The blind auditions are only the beginning of a very long and stressful journey with, you know, long hours and a lot of scrutiny from fans. At this stage in the game, I mean, given your young age, were you intimidated by any of that?

Reagan Strange: In my mindset I guess had prepared myself for what I knew was going to happen. Walking into this, I was told by my mom and my family, they said, ďitís going to be a lot going into this and there will be times where it is stressful.Ē But I knew I was ready for it and this was something that Iíve always wanted. And so mentally, I was ready and I was really excited for it.

So waking up knowing that I have fans and people that are there to support me even keeps me going even more than before so I really truly enjoy it.

Elizabeth Kwiatkowski: Thatís great. And, Chris, welcome to the call, I have a question for you. Did Jennifer really stand a chance of becoming your coach or did you have your heart set on Blake? And how did it feel to hear Blake say that you could make it to the finale this season?

Chris Kroeze: I donít know. I donít want to say she didnít have a chance but it wasnít a very big chance. Nothing against her music or anything like that I just have a lot more in common with Blake. And yes, that felt cool. It is something everybody wants to hear and itís just cool to hear it said for you. And, I donít know, a definite confidence booster.

Elizabeth Kwiatkowski: Okay. Thank you.

Chris Kroeze: Yes. Thanks.

Operator: And the next question is also follow up question from line of Mark Franklin with The Voice Views. Please go ahead.

Mark Franklin: Yes, and this is for Sandy. Sandy how are you?

SandyRedd: Iím wonderful. How are you?

Mark Franklin: Pretty good. Hey, I was wondering, youíve been performing for a while what led you to The Voice at this point?

SandyRedd: Youíre totally right. I have been performing for quite some time. But when I first started I was very green, I was very nervous, I had no showmanship and I was all over the place - I had no look. I was just not ready. I was extremely afraid. But my desire to sing was bigger than my fears so I started doing open mics and any karaoke or anything I could get my hands on music-wise and just started, you know, preparing from there.

And I felt like from then until now, I feel like Iím ready now. So when the opportunity to do The Voice came about, it just felt like the right time.

Mark Franklin: Okay. Thank you very much and best of luck.

SandyRedd: Thank you.

Operator: The next question is a follow up question from line of Paula G with Paula G Media. Please go ahead.

Paula G: Thank you. This question is for Fousheť. First of all, congratulations to you love.

Fousheť: Thank you so much.

Paula G: And my question for you. If the Fousheť of this moment - and you know your own personal journey and what youíve learned on this journey thus far, the lessons that youíve learned - trials and tribulations that youíve learned on this journey just thus far. If the Fousheť of this moment could go back and sit in front of this Fousheť, and perhaps her darkest moments for lack of a better word, what would she speak to her? What would she say to encourage her?

Fousheť: Girl thatís a good question. My, my, my. I think I would just tell her to keep her head up and, like, keep working regardless because, like, you have to have faith when thereís nothing there to make faith of. You have to make faith out of empty space. So Iíll just tell her regardless of what you see and what you think is possible, keep working and putting in the effort and the hard work and just, like - man - and thereís going be light at the end of the tunnel. Donít stop.

I would tell her that youíre perfect with all your imperfections. I would tell her that being different is beautiful and to embrace it.

Paula G: Yes. Yes. Yes. How did that moment feel for you on The Voice when you were finally there on stage?

Fousheť: Oh my gosh. I donít know how to explain it because I just felt like there was no one just like me who had made it to a platform like that.

Iím from a little town in New Jersey and, you know, there were so many obstacles that wouldíve made anyone stop. And there was so many times that I wanted to quit and stop because Iím an introvert. Because, you know, lack of money; because of my ageÖbecause of, oh, many different things.

But so to finally make it on that stage, I felt like I already won regardless of what the outcome was. It was so powerful. It was so beautiful. And to know that people at home would be watching that and then I was so proud. I felt like I was representing New York, New Jersey, Jamaica. I was representing, you know, (unintelligible) and people over 25 still and going hard at their dream, not giving up. Everything and I just felt proud.

Paula G: Thereís a phrase and it says, ďLeap and the net will appear.Ē And I encourage you to continue to leap and congratulations to you.

Fousheť: Thank you so much. I want to write that down.

Paula G: ďLeap and the net will appear.Ē I donít know who the original author of that quote is but, ďLeap and the net will appear.Ē

Paula G: Continue to leap. Yes, continue to leap my darling. Thank you so much and congratulations. Yes, and this is Paula G of the Paula G Show.

Fousheť: Thank you.

Paula G: Youíre welcome.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, as a reminder, to register for a question, press the 1-4 on your telephone. Once again, 1-4 on your telephone.

And the next question is a follow up question from line of MJ Santilli with MJís BigBlog. Please go ahead.

Operator: And the next question is from the line of Paula G with Paula G Media. Please go ahead.

Paula G: Yes, thank you, this question is for Reagan. How are you, love?

Reagan Strange: Hi. How are you doing today?

Paula G: Hi.

Reagan Strange: Oh, Iím amazing, how are you?

Paula G: And that you are, darling, you are.

Reagan Strange: Thank you so much.

Paula G: You did an amazing job on the show. Share with us a bit as a young person, how do you juggle your time management in regard to your academics and your rehearsing and performance? How does a young lady like yourself, a powerhouse like yourself, manage your time?

Reagan Strange: Well, especially with how much that has been going on over this past year with this amazing opportunity, Iíve started home schooling this year and that has helped so much to keep me on schedule with my school work.

And in the past, I even made sure I always got my school work done before I would go to any of my practices and all of my lessons and things but this year, really itís all about scheduling and organizing for me.

Iíve had to lay everything out and almost do a to do list for every single day just to make sure I was getting my priorities straight. And so after I had completed all of that, I just make sure everything that is important to me I get done first and then all my necessities and then stuff thatís important and then stuff thatís just extra, like, curricular activities is always the last thing I do. Education and family are very important to me and so is singing. But I just make sure I get everything out and I lay it out to make sure I get it all done.

Paula G: Wow. Wow. Is there anything that you feel that, man, Iím missing out on this as a teenager but itís worth it? Is there anything that, you know, proms or football games, you know? Anything of that nature that you can say, man, you know, Iím kind of missing out on this but itís worth it?

Reagan Strange: I mean, honestly, I wouldnít trade anything in the world for this opportunity. As far as football games and getting to go to a movie every once in a while but, I mean, of course I miss things like that but this incredible opportunity is arose for me and itís something that Iíve wanted for so long and the fact that I have it, I never want to complain about anything ever again.

Paula G: That is certainly understandable. Itís certainly understandable. Well you continue to do what you are doing and the sky is the limit young lady. Thank you so much.

Reagan Strange: Thank you so much. Hope you have a great day.

Paula G: You too.

Operator: And we do have a question from the line of Beth Beacham with Hollywood Junket. Please go ahead.

Beth Beacham: Oh, hi, everyone. This questionís also for Reagan. Hi Reagan, how are you?

Reagan Strange: Iím great. How are you?

Beth Beacham: Good. Was wondering when Kelly mentioned that Adam didnít have anyone Country on his team, does that kind of sway you a little bit to want to be on his team? And also, I was curious if you were going to perform more of any other genres like pop or soul on the show?

Reagan Strange: So when I was in my blind audition, I was asked the question by Adam after Kelly said that, if I was strictly Country. And as for my genre, I have more reach to the pop-soul vibe of music.

And so just the fact that I got to do pop-country in my audition and then reaching on later in the show, I can spread out to my true genre. While I donít stick mainly to one genre, I really like to spread it out all across music and so I think the fact that I get to do that on the show is a really great thing for me.

Beth Beacham: Okay. Thank you so much, have a good day.

Reagan Strange: Thank you, you too.

Operator: There are no further questions at this time.

Abby Freemire: Great. All right, thanks so much everyone. That wraps up our call for today. Thanks again so much for joining and enjoy the rest of your day.

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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