‘The Voice’ Q&A: Emily B. Sings Straight From (And To) The Soul

The saying that adversity builds as well as reveals character certainly applies to “The Voice” singer Emily B. Through her trials with VHL disease, she has undergone two brain and four eye surgeries. Many individuals would have crumbled throug the process, but a strong faith in God as well as a grateful and open attitude has served her well. She has flourished on “The Voice” as a member of Team Shakira, and during our conversation she gave wonderful insights on having a strong spirit and growing up with big Hollywood dreams. Though she was insightful and articulate during our chat, my favorite remark from her is as follows: “I feel like what I can’t say, I can sing.”

Check out the Q&A below:

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Have you been able to enjoy your success on The Voice? Or is it too surreal to actually process those feelings in the moment?

I actually feel like I’ve forced myself to, as surreal as it is, to live in the moment and really savor this moment. Because I don’t want to forget how this feels. It will be fine to look back on it (but) because of my mind set and from the experiences in my life, I’ve learned to savor each moment and just really relish in it. This is amazing. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I don’t want to forget in each circumstance.

Your own life’s adversity and triumphs must have added an extra resonance to your singing. Do you feel that’s the case?

Absolutely. I think that’s what attaches us to music and gets us interested. It’s what we can really feel the emotion of the singer and the songwriter. My experience of the ups and the downs all contributed to what I want to emote what I sing and what I want the listener to hear. Being on stage on such a big platform, it’s what I hope to portray whenever I get up there. I definitely know that with life experiences and what I’ve been through, that it all contributes to everything now, especially my singing.

Shakira is a great performer and seems to really be connected with her music. How has she influenced you as a coach?

 The thing I love most about her is her genuine-ness, if that’s a word! What you see is what you get. She’s passionate about life, she’s passionate about her career, she’s passionate about this show and her contribution to us. She connects with everything as a person so of course that will be seen in her music as well.

Emily B. & Cierra Mickens (NBC, CR: Tyler Golden)

What have you learned from performing on The Voice?

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned – being in a competition on such a widely known show with everyone watching and people judging you – it’s crazy. It’s just, again going back to living in that moment, you do the absolute best that you can.

Whenever we hit the stage, we’re faced with the chance that we’re going home. We have to really lay it out there at that time and really sing with abandonment and control. It’s really tough to stay mentally connected to that portion of it, but also have the freedom to really have fun and let the emotion come through. That’s something I’m learning how to do, but obviously I’m going to need more practice. (laughs)

You seem very fearless on stage. In life, when adversity occurs, some people will go into their shell, but you don’t seem like that type of individual. How do you keep moving forward?

For me, the number one key thing is my faith. I have a very strong relationship with God. That for me is always number one. Knowing that I’m connected to him, and feeling that he has a bigger purpose and plan for my life really helps me get through it.

With that, I feel family and a support system come with that. They’re the human form of what God wants to give us. Honestly, I feel like going through that, I feel like I’ve been given a second chance. Making it through that and being given a second chance at life per se – it occurs to me that I have to take this gift of singing and not keep it to myself.

In a way, I’m a little bit forced to not go hide away because I have this gift I can share with people and hopefully through the music it will help encourage and inspire them to tell them to keep going and keep their heads up.

Was there an advantage for you growing up in Idaho and moving to Hollywood? Does this give you more of a drive to make it?

There’s even more motivation behind it because I’m a small town girl and I don’t know it’s expected from someone (who grew up in Idaho). So for me it’s been more exciting to say, “I’m from Idaho, and I’m on The Voice.” You’re right. I work in the industry out here and you kind of become numb to it all. And so I appreciate getting back to my roots and realizing what a huge opportunity it is to work in the industry I work in but now be on the show.

It’s been a dream my whole life to make it in Hollywood and be a singer. This is finally happening. The hard work and the perseverance the big dreaming has finally paid of.

The short term goal is to win The Voice, but the real victory is to cultivate a fan base and family from the experience.

This has given me the chance to draw in a crowd and connect with fans and friends that I would never had the opportunity before. That’s more people to support me and hopefully I can have an impact on as well. It’s been amazing connecting with people who have the same medical disease I have, and to hear how being on The Voice and sharing my story has really inspired them. And that’s what it’s been about for me.

Beyond “The Voice” I’m hoping I can continue to cultivate that relationship with my fans so that we can help each other get to where we want to be.

Sharing your story with other people and having that immediate feedback and support. Is that really hard to put into words what that experience means to you?

Yeah. It always is. That’s the beautiful thing about music. I feel like what I can’t say I can sing. For me, that’s always been an easy way to translate my emotions. Even if I can’t say it. I also write, so whether it’s journaling or writing a poem or a song, I’m grateful for this outlet to try and somehow explain what I feel and the impact it has on me.

But I don’t think words or music can ever really capture what you feel when you hear these stories or when you think about what you’ve been through. It’s the closest we can get to understanding.

“The Voice” airs tonight on NBC (8 pm et/pt). To follow Emily B. on Twitter, go to @emilybemusic.

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