Being on “Team Blake” on the premiere season of NBC’s “The Voice” worked for Jared Blake last year.
For several years, he has lent his voice for intermissions, going into and out of commercial breaks, on “Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40” show (www.ct40.com), heard nationwide every weekend – including Sundays locally: at 8 a.m. on WGTR-FM 107.9 and 6 p.m. on WKML-FM 95.7 of Fayetteville, N.C.
Calling last week from Nashville, Tenn., before heading into the studio for more songwriting, Blake voiced his excitement to return Friday for a concert at The Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill, just west of Myrtle Beach.
Promoting his new single, “Don’t Mind,” the 33-year-old remembered his first time there, opening for Sumter native Lee Brice, who played July 6 at House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach, and looked to a second half of the year of touring and plans for his own album.
Question | How was the experience of working so closely with coach Blake Shelton on “The Voice”? Is he as down to earth and real as he appears all the time?
Answer | He’s exactly as he appears. It seems like we’ve been the most fortunate in the country world. Most of the artists are truly genuine. Blake’s just a total guy’s guy.
Q. | With the surge in reality music shows on TV, how has that reshaped the atmosphere for aspiring artists to break through the big time in the industry?
A. | It’s changed it pretty dramatically. A lot of artists like myself have been kind of turned off by reality TV in the past because you were kind of told it’s not the real way to make it. ... There’s not really a real way to make it anymore. That was one of the things Blake Shelton brought up: You’re using every avenue you possibly can.
Kids out there are getting noticed from YouTube and other places. Technology has changed everything, but TV has always been a big thing in entertainment . Look at Sawyer Brown winning “Star Search.” ... Obviously, you can’t deny the path taken by people like Carrie Underwood winning “American Idol.” ... It has reshaped everything.
Q. | What’s the most valuable enrichment you brought home from competing on “The Voice”?
A. | It’s proving you the idea of reality. After being on a show like that, you realize reality TV isn’t really reality, but neither is the entertainment industry. Things are never quite what they seem. Garth was always big on how his fans really owned him, because he said without them, he wouldn’t be anything. Things are never quite the same on the other side of what you think they will be.
For me, it really made me focus on things going on in my life that are real, thinks that I count on ... . Now, I have a fan base, and people ask to hear my songs on concert. ... That’s like the coolest thing. ... Whether you’re on the radio or now, as long as you’re out there making music for a living, and you have people wanting to hear you, it doesn’t get better than that.
Q. | Bob Kingsley’s weekly countdown shows have been a part of the country masses’ lives for many years. How did landing that jingle/bumper music/vocal intermission gig come up?
A. | I always listened to him when I was growing up. Of course, I didn’t know that I was going meet him later. From behind the board came this voice, and I thought, “Who is this voice?” I was writing for Sony/ATV Music Publishing at the time, and they called me, saying we have this radio show that needs some overdubs, and they were kind of looking to go with a country voice. ... That was five years ago. ... Now, I just came by and recorded some more overdubs.
Q. | What aspects from your classical vocal training while growing up in Arkansas, and the intensity of competing as a youth helped prepare you to make your stamp to stand out in the country field?
A. | Believe it or not, the classical training never really seemed to be any good at all, until last year, when I came off the show. ... I had had a real job, writing and singing demos and performing , ... a full-time job where it’s just using your voice, ... you put in 15 hour a day or more, when you’re using your voice nonstop. Then I went back to a way of ... not pushing so hard and using technique taught to me to get through shows and everything else.
A lot of that wasn’t realized until after I was off “The Voice.” ... I went to a vocal coach, and Blake, Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine had been in there the same week before me. You just have to use your voice correctly. All this stuff I learned in high school is paying off now.
Q. | What else reminds you to place greater value on your voice?
A. | At one my point in my career, ... I started focused on songwriting. This is where everything got defined. Once I stopped thinking of myself as a singer, ... I just wrote songs. I just sang to convey my emotions. ... I went to a songwriters’ round, and we had written a song for Bryan White, who has a higher voice, and I just kind of screamed them out. Someone said, “Dude, that was so cool,” and I still didn’t have any idea of what I had done. It basically just developed out of me not worrying about what other people thought. It turned out to be the best thing I had ever done. It made me find myself to find what was natural to find my own style.
Q. | How do you progress toward your debut album and finding when the timing’s right?
A. | I just got a bus, and we’ve started out with a lot of different things going on. ... I’ve been so blessed to be working with the people I am right now. We’re not moving on the album until everything’s ready, but we’ve started performing some new stuff on the road.
Q. | What’s your wish for audiences, including your return to the Grand Strand, along the Intracoastal Waterway as the sun sett?
A. | I want them on their feet for everything. We try to get them riled up and keep them there.