Deja Hall is part of Team Shakira on The Voice, and along with a smooth, emotive voice, Hall is also blessed with a wonderful sense of graciousness and subtlety. If you’ve been following her journey on the show, you probably know that her talent is matched by her intense love for her family. During our Q&A, Hall talked about her parents, getting coached by Shakira and why, when in doubt, pressing your feet firmly on the ground can lead to wonderful results.
Where does your strength as a performer come from?
I feel like that would have to come from my family. Just because they’re very strong willed. They support me every step of the way and they are there for me with whatever I love to do. They just want me to go out there and just be myself and do what I want to do and just shine.
My mom and dad are the cheerleaders in our family and they like to encourage all of us to be the best that we can be. Not only that, they are always there for us, shouting our name out and giving us that extra boost in whatever we want to go out and do. I love my family so much and I really couldn’t imagine myself doing this without them.
The only thing I was worried about was her experience, because she knew how to connect to the song more than I was able to. I admire her so much. Her voice is very distinctive. Singing with her gave me the opportunity to personally experience the approach and expression that she uses to convey the message in her songs. She’s definitely a naturally gifted person and it was just great to be on stage with her. I grew so close to her and when she got stolen, I went crazy.
What have you learned from Shakira through your journey on The Voice?
Working with Shakira was great. She knows so much about this business and she knows a lot about the art of singing. I was happy that she turned her chair for me and I personally got to choose her as my coach and mentor.
I’ve been a fan of hers since the beginning so it was great to have the opportunity to talk to her and have her give me advice. She told me that I had a soft, angelic voice and I need to project more so people don’t see me as (one-dimensional). Having her believe in me is amazing, since she’s big in everything and it warms my heart that she believes in me and she still wants to work with me.
What is it like to perform on the big stage?
When you go on stage, you really have to zone in to the moment and take everything in. I know one thing I have to do and one thing that I learned to do was just close my eyes and take a deep breath. I also take my feet, and I press them against the floor. It’s weird but it kind of releases my nerves a little bit.
When you’re actually in the moment, you really don’t know what’s happening because the adrenaline rush is just kicking in. It really hits you a couple of hours after or when you watch it back on TV.
The pressing your feet on the floor, did you come up with that idea? That seems like a great thing to do…
No, I actually didn’t make it up. I was backstage about to go on and they could tell I was extremely nervous because this is the biggest thing that I’ve ever done. So someone told me that something that helps them release their nerves is to take their feet and plant it against the ground as hard as you can. For some reason, I felt like a big rush go through me and it released most of my nerves. It was pretty crazy. It sounds weird but it really helps. I would recommend trying it sometime.
So you were raised in very different environments growing up.
It’s very difficult because I grew up in the military and we moved a lot. I would have to say I was mostly raised in Okinawa, Japan, but I was also raised in San Antonio. When people ask where I’m from, it’s kind of hard to tell them. I say San Antonio, since I’ve lived there the most.
I feel like it influenced in showing my true colors because they are two different places and cultures. It’s kind of hard to explain, but that kind of helped me show my true colors and show how I really am.
What have you taken through your journey on The Voice?
One thing I want to take from this whole experience is the exposure. It’s a great opportunity to get my name out there. I am still humble through this whole experience. I tend to be shy at times, so this whole experience makes me come out of my shell a little bit more. It’s made me open up and express myself.
**The second round of the Battles starts tonight The Voice (NBC, 8 pm et/pt). If you want to follow Deja Hall on Twitter, go to @DejaHallMusic.