Season 3 of The Voice was particularly exciting for the TuneCore family, as all three finalists were TuneCore Artists—Cassadee Pope, Terry McDermott and Nicholas David. As season 4 starts to wind down and we wait anxiously to find out who will receive the coveted ‘Voice’ title, we’ve been lucky enough to chat with Nicholas David about the ins and outs of being on the show and what’s happened since his season wrapped. Even if you missed his silky smooth performances of Barry White classics, we think after reading this you’ll like him as much as we do… (after reading the interview, head to iTunes for his brand new EP!)
TuneCore: Have to start out by saying congratulations on getting to the very end of The Voice—the top 3 of Season 3! That was huge. We [at TuneCore] were rooting for you every week.
Nicholas David: That’s awesome. I appreciate that.
TC: So, just a general question to get this going–can you tell us a bit about your experience on the show?
ND: It was like the best music school I’ve ever been to. I learned so much from being there, and we [the contestants] became so close with the many facets that helped that whole thing run—from the layout to the producers, to the stage managers, the contestant managers, the production crew, the tech crew, the transportation, the band, the coaches, the judges, the vocal coaches. It was amazing. You learn so much. You walk out of that with a family; it’s pretty amazing.
TC: That sounds like an amazing experience. We got to see the onscreen performances every week, but what was happening behind the scenes?
ND: [There were] rehearsals, different types of interviews, working on group numbers, single numbers, iTunes studio stuff, interviews, and you’d have daily meetings and daily briefings. I would try to Skype with my kids, I would try to workout every day, make time to pray and meditate. It’s crazy, but some of those days would be 16-hour days. It would be —
TC: — a long day –
ND: It was quite an adventure.
TC: You worked with CeeLo [Green] as your coach. Were there some specific things that he told you about your singing or your stage performance that really stuck with you?
ND: “Be yourself” was a huge thing—in creative endeavors and in life itself. Come here to be you. We all came here to be ourselves, but we follow so many people, try to be all these other things. I also took from him how he carries himself, who he is. He is himself and he’s true to himself, and I do the same.
He kept saying—we’re cut from the same cloth, and I agree. I agree one thousand percent.
TC: A lot of those lessons transcend beyond music. Are there are specific things you think an artist needs to do to stand out on a show like that?
ND: Honestly, it’s a combination of a lot of factors–how the contestant is feeling that day, what songs they choose to sing, what kind of genre. You pick it and you have your own style—being who you are and trying not to worry. Most importantly, trying to enjoy it and be appreciative, because it’s the adventure of a lifetime.
I remember in our in-ear monitors, [Paul] Mirkovich, the band director, said “David, look where you are right now.” It was when we were doing “Fire” on-stage, practicing it, and I thought: “I’m on a stage in Hollywood where they made Bride of Frankenstein, the laboratory of Doc Brown in Back to the Future. I’m sitting here with this awesome band, these dancers, and my piano is on fire!” And I would try to swallow that, really enjoy it and be grateful for that experience, because I’m not sure I’ll get a ride like that ever again.
TC: One of the things I love [about the The Voice] is seeing the personalities of the different artists come out. It’s not just everyone trying to fit into one mould, or the coaches trying to fit you into something. You know what you do, what you love, and what you want to get across, and you’re really able to do that. At least from an audience perspective, that’s how I feel watching it.
ND: Yeah. It’s pretty sweet. I still can’t believe it happened.
TC: On the show, you obviously got huge exposure. Did you have any kind of strategy when the season wrapped to stay connected to your fan base and continue to grow fans?
ND: Yes. I’ve been doing a number of charity events for nonprofits. A lot of really cool things are taking me around the country and it’s all youth-based, from working with little kids up through an event we just did for high schoolers in a program that was in many ways the last chance they had to have music as a structured outlet. I really like to get these charities because it all involves kids and music as a medicine, as a healing tool.
So moving forward, the idea is to play historic spots around the states with different charities that pertain to those areas, and to see what happens. We also hope to go to Europe in the spring, and release an album in January.
I’m actually releasing an EP, which is comin’ up. All these things keep unfolding –It’s truly unreal. I call it “The Ongoing Wow. “
TC: I love that. I know you mentioned Terry – I don’t know if you know this, but both Terry and Cassadee are also TuneCore Artists. It’s exciting for us to see so many artists on The Voice who use TuneCore for distribution. After the blind auditions [this season] there were eleven TuneCore artists on different teams, and then five in the top ten.
ND: That must be fun for you guys to see artists and know “Hey, they go through us.”
TC: It really is. Can you talk about how TuneCore is part of your team? Do you actively manage your account? Do you use any of the tools like daily iTunes trend reports?
ND: I release all my music through our label Wake The World and with my business partner Jackson. We’ve been with you guys for a while, and I know that I’ve been very happy with the service and with the help we get. I also like the trend reports, especially when we were on the show and since. But even before that, as things were picking up and we were doing things with a wider media scope, it was cool to see those trend reports. I get really excited, have a bit of what we sometimes call that “Christmas Morning” anticipation, that feeling of “what’s it going to be?” and I love that. Anything that gets you excited about what you’re doing leads to motivation, leads to a harder work drive and dedication. Everything seems to move forward in a more efficient way, I think.
TC: You have a new release coming out soon through TuneCore.
ND: Yep, it’s a four song EP. We recorded three originals and one cover tune. I wrote all the originals and recorded it with The Voice band, which was cool. I flew out to LA and they learned my music, and it was awesome.
TC: Well, we’re looking forward to hearing it. Did you do covers before The Voice? Or did that move you to do more because they were so well-received?
ND: Making music is my job, and I get that you have to balance art and commerce. You can be artistic and play what you want to play, but if you’re playing in a bar where people come to hear music, you’ve got to cater to them as well. So finding that balance was something I was trying to do even before the show.
But being on the show helped develop my ideas about popular music, where before I was kind of snobby about pop and other kinds of music. But being on the show you realize—it’s all music. I may not agree with some of the words in it, or I may not like this or that, but that broke down some fences.
TC: So, you’re performing on The Voice again next week, with the final five?
ND: Yes. Tuesday, June 11. I’m doing an original song called “Say Goodbye.”
TC: Are you excited to be back?
ND: I’m so freakin’ pumped, yeah. Even just going back to do the commercials, to be back and on that stage was just like “Oh my gosh.”
TC: Seeing the family again —
ND: — Yup, it’s really exciting.
TC: Just to wrap things up, is there any advice you have for independent artists looking to get on a show like The Voice?
ND: Don’t ever stop. Don’t ever stop playing your music, don’t ever stop playing your songs, don’t ever stop singing your songs. Don’t ever stop trying to hear your songs. Please don’t ever stop trying to be inspired, and please don’t ever give up. Take chances, take risks.
I hadn’t watched TV in I-don’t-know-how-many years before the show, y’know? But I took a chance, I took a risk, and I stayed myself. I stayed true, I kept praying to God, God as spirit, science, universe, whatever word you use for it. I tried to stay open, humble, grounded, and just grateful, you know? Just open as a vessel and ready to share what’s been given. And that’s the truth.
TC: Absolutely. Well thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. Thanks again for being a TuneCore artist, and for all of your words. We really appreciate it.
ND: Awesome. I appreciate it and truly, thank you for working for such a cool company that helps get music out, and helps in ways that our human family feels and expresses life. Thank you for providing a vehicle for that. That’s huge. Thank you from me as well.
TC: We wouldn’t be here without the artists, so thank you.
*You can catch Nicholas performing one of his new tracks live tonight on The Voice, 8 PM on NBC. Fellow TuneCore Artist and Season 3 Finalist Terry McDermott will also be performing live tonight!*