by Nathan Bewley
There hasn’t been a shortage of talent on The Voice season 7, but most viewers know by now it’s not all about talent on The Voice. Yes, singing ability is the most important factor for getting on the show, but staying on the show really comes down to who the coaches think America will vote for. Amanda Lee Peers stormed into the blind auditions with an exciting energy (and voice, of course) that made Gwen Stefani turn her chair. She was robbed in the battle rounds after giving an amazing performance of country classic “Jolene.” Gay the Straight Away recently had a chance to chat with the one the coaches let get away.
GTSA: Thanks for taking the time to talk!
ALP: Yeah, of course!
GTSA: You were recently eliminated from The Voice. How do you feel about your experience now that it’s over?
ALP: I had a really positive experience. I was actually really blown away by the staff. They’re so professional and they’re really positive and uplifting. I know some of the other singing competitions make fun of people, but this show is definitely different in that aspect. They made it very clear from the beginning that “we’re all here because we like music and we’re not here to put you down or make fun of you,” so that was really cool. Also meeting all the different people who were there and getting to know them – I’ve never been in one place with so many musicians so it was pretty cool to be around a lot of people with the same goals as you and in the same position as yourself.
GTSA: As someone based in Western NY, how was working in L.A? Does it make you want to move out there at some point?
ALP: I had been to San Diego prior to being there in L.A. but it was kind of tough because we couldn’t really go anywhere. We didn’t have a lot of extra time to just go out and do things, but I definitely love California. Especially after being there for The Voice, I really am strongly considering moving out there. I love it. The weather is beautiful. It’s just perfect every day.
GTSA: How long did you actually get to stay in L.A? Reality shows can be deceptive when it comes to production timelines…
ALP: They had us fly back and forth, so you’re not staying there for a month at a time. They have us do different things when we’re out there, but I can’t give you specifics…
GTSA: Ah. What was it like working with Gwen?
ALP: It was really cool. I sometimes just sit and think about what actually happened and it still kind of blows my mind that I was working with Gwen Stefani. It’s funny because I think she was the first artist that I, growing up, really tried to imitate. Like her vibrato. She’s what I really aspired to be like. So it’s funny thinking I got to work with her and talk with her. She’s really sweet. She’s a lot quieter than I thought she would be, and a little reserved. Maybe she was nervous, I don’t know. But she was nice, really, really nice. She was really helpful and there were a lot of really good things I took away.
GTSA: What other artists do you enjoy or aspire to?
ALP: When I was younger I didn’t really listen to a whole lot of secular music. It was more just Christian bands and Christian music. That was kind of all I knew growing up because my family didn’t really listen to anything else. It’s silly, but she was definitely one of the first secular artists that I got into. Later on Led Zeppelin was a huge inspiration and they are probably one of my number one influences musically. It’s weird because I always really just listened to so much music and I have kind of like my bands that I’ve always just really liked regardless, but I’ve always just kind of listened to everything. It’s not like I’ve tried to necessarily write like a certain group or artist; it just comes from all different music that I’ve listened to.
GTSA: I’ve read some comments about your experience with the church, and with coming out. As an out person, do you find that there’s still room in your life for that? Is it something you’re looking to go back to?
ALP: Ever since that happened, it really turned me off from going back to church. It’s unfortunate because I know there are a lot of churches that wouldn’t have done that and they have different beliefs. I know they’re out there, I believe that the churches are out there. A bunch of people and pastors have reached out to me and kind of apologized. Pastors have told me they would never treat a gay person like that, but it’s still kind of hard for me to get back into church and my beliefs have changed a little bit. I definitely would consider myself a spiritual person, but as far as what I grew up with, my views and beliefs have changed. I guess it’s not something that I would completely write off for the future. I’d be interested in checking out some different churches, but right now it’s not on the top of my priority list.
GTSA: Looking forward, do you have any goals? What’s next?
ALP: I’ve been getting a lot of shows and trying to write a bunch of new music. I would like to record an album or an EP that I can release for the spring of 2015 and plan a little tour for next year. Obviously for long term goals I’m hoping that with all the publicity from The Voice and just me playing out I can get to a farther place as far as me making some introductions in the music industry. I think I definitely want to make music a career. I want that to be my living and not have to work a second job. I write a lot of songs, too, so that’s another thing I’d like to have be part of my music career – songwriting, writing songs for other people as well.
GTSA: Have you been traveling much for your shows?
ALP: I do travel, but not real far. It’ll be regionally, nothing really out of the state. I’ve had a couple people tell me I should come play in New York or Brooklyn or wherever. I definitely would like to and probably will next year. New York is so hard because it’s such a big city. It’s kind of pointless to play there unless you’re going to play with a well-known group. I probably can’t draw that many people there. I’d rather play a bunch of smaller shows than down in the city where there’s an opportunity to grow my fan base. Who knows, maybe with people watching The Voice I’ll draw more of a crowd in bigger cities.