My only gripe with The Voice is that some artists get the short end of the stick when it comes to the blinds and battle rounds. Team Adam member Rebekah Samarin has suffered such a fate, but her composure, gratitude, as well as her innate talents can’t be denied.
A Berklee College of Music student blessed with a standout voice (during her blind audition, Adam Levine described her voice as a “super fast sports car”), Samarin’s television time on The Voice has been montaged throughout this season. Hopefully we’ll be able to see a full performance during the Knockout rounds (during the Battles, she performed “Will You Still Love Me” with Clara Hong).
During our chat, the California native discussed her lifelong love for such singer/songwriters as Joni Mitchell (her audition song was “A Case of You”) and also elaborated on a new venture she’s working on with Berklee and Emerson students (you can follow its progress under the Twitter handle @Noviproductions). Due to a phone snafu, we only had six minutes to chat, but it was a good talk nonetheless.
Can you talk about this ambitious project you’re working on and what it’s about?
Yeah absolutely. It’s called NOVI. It is a branch (that features) music, videos. and photography. It’s pretty much a bunch of artists grouped together to create something really huge. This is just the start of it. You can go on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – all of our pages – we have tons of amazing music and videos coming your way soon so we’re really, really excited about it.
— NOVI (@noviproductions) October 23, 2014
I love your rendition of Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case of You’ from the audition rounds. . .
How has Joni Mitchell and other singer/songwriters that surfaced in the 1970s inspire your music?
I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell so I’ve known the song for a long time. I was so excited to perform it for the coaches on The Voice. She’s been a big inspiration for me ever since I was little. I love the classics – I love Stevie Nicks, Elton John, and Joni Mitchell. To perform (that song) on The Voice was so special for me.
Working on ‘The Voice’ – has it given you a different type of education than what you’re learning in Berklee?
Usually a lot of the music on The Voice is popular music. For me to branch out and do folk stuff was really exciting for me. It was very cool and different than what is normally done.
But yeah, I love singer/songwriter music. At Berklee, I do a lot of that. With the NOVI collective that we’re doing right now – it’s a bunch of musicians too and it’s a lot of singer/songwriter stuff mixed with R&B and alternative music. It’s a little mix of the old and the new, (and) that’s kind of what I like to portray myself as.
I really am influenced by the classics and the greats, but I’m trying to do a modern spin on it. The Voice really helped me do that. It was really an amazing learning experience.
Along with the learning experience from The Voice, you’ve probably befriended artists that will support you throughout your career.
The show really provides lifelong friends. We also have to work with each other for a very long time. Everyone is so amazing and so talented.
It’s just an insane, crazy experience just to be surrounded by 100 amazing musicians. To be able to narrow it down and get to know everyone . . . I’ve definitely made lifelong friends and they are people I would love to work with in the future.
I interviewed Griffin the other day and he was talking about how he becomes a different person when he’s on stage. Is that the same for you? Especially since you have an ethereal and resonant approach to your singing.
Oh thank you. That’s so funny, because Griffin‘s one of my very good friends. I feel the same way as him. I definitely go into my own space, especially on the show when I got two great songs – ‘A Case of You’ and ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.’ They both really took me to a special, surreal place.
To be able to perform (the songs) on stage I kind of got lost in my own head and closed my eyes, but the songs I performed definitely were songs that were emotional. I definitely had to sing from the heart, for sure.
So what does the future hold for you? Are you going to finish your studies at Berklee?
I’m still at Berklee. I’m a Music Business major and (we’re launching) the NOVI collective. (It’s) Berklee musicians and Emerson videographers, photographers, and graphic designers. Right now we’re focusing the collective in Boston, not only to create a band but to create a brand. We want to make NOVI a brand and just get it out there.
So we have a lot of amazing music and videos coming your way – so everyone stay tuned!
As much as you love Boston, do you miss Cali?
(laughs) Absolutely. I really do. It’s starting to get really cold here and I miss the California sun and my family, but it’s the best of both worlds. I get to go home to the sun and I get to enjoy the winters here.
To follow Samarin on Twitter: @RebeccaSamarin.