Instead of playing it safe, Reagan James changed things up last week by tackling Blu Cantrell’s standout R&B tune ‘Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!).’ In context, it really wasn’t an unpredictable choice for James, who mentioned in our earlier Q&A that she wanted to explore different music genres.
James is now one of the artists featured on the The Voice’s Live Playoffs, which begin tonight on NBC (8 pm et/pt). Check out our new Q&A with the self-assured songbird, as she talks about her continued collaboration with Blake Shelton and getting the chance to perform on a new (and bigger) stage on The Voice.
Can you talk about your choice of Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!) as your knockout song?
I usually do songs that are a lot more laid back because I have a naturally breathy tone. I wanted to show a completely different side of my vocal ability and do something really intense, upbeat, and powerful.
‘Hit ‘Em Up Style’ has a great groove and I thought that people would remember it so I went with it. And I think it was a success – I’d say.
Continuing your collaboration with Blake Shelton, does part of that success comes from his lack of condescension. You guys are collaborating and he doesn’t act like some kind of expert who’s talking down to you.
It’s like a partnership almost because I bring something to the table and he perfects it and makes it the best it can be. He doesn’t talk down to me like – he talks to me like exactly how I am. I’m trying to be (the best singer/songwriter) and obviously I’m not. But everyday I work with him, I’m one step closer to that. I appreciate him so much.
Two part question. How crazy has your schedule been for the Lives and does it mean anything that you have a lot of momentum going into the Lives? Or is everything just unpredictable and you have to take it one step at a time?
It’s crazy, but it’s extremely worth it. The fatigue and the stress is worth it because the live shows are going to be absolutely amazing.
When you watch the show, the people that you think are going to win don’t even make it to the Lives. It’s totally unpredictable and I have no idea how it’s going to play out. I have my hopes and I have my ideas, but there’s no predicting. There’s no saying. I hope and I pray that I make it, and it’s been an amazing experience. Everything matters.
How much work do you put into the performing aspect of The Voice? Or does it come naturally to you?
I can perform pretty naturally. It’s very passionate, and I don’t have to work on that part very much. It’s the vocals that we put hours and hours into. I work super hard to perfect everything and yeah it takes a lot of work to get the to the best of my ability.
What are you looking forward to with the Live Playoffs?
I’m excited about performing on the stage. In the earlier rounds, the stage was fairly small – it isn’t huge. The stage gets a lot bigger in the Lives. The Live shows are crazy (with) the choreography and the way it all works is a lot different. And I’m stoked to be able to perform on that big stage. It’s going to be really cool.
I’m super nervous coming up to the show. But the day of (the show), I’m super relaxed. I have nerves, definitely. But the nerves don’t come from the performance.
I’m not scared I’m going to mess up the performance. I’m scared of the results. But I’m glad to be where I am and am feeling blessed and super excited for the future.
Reagan, thanks again for your time!
Thank you so much for having me.
— Reagan James (@thereaganjames) November 10, 2014