Special Feature:Interview with Pip from The Voice
“Don’t Judge a Voice by Its Cover”
By Michael Murphy
When the hit TV singing competition “The Voice” premiered last April, one its unique aspects was the blind audition phase. In this portion, the four judges (Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green, and Adam Levine) have their backs turned to the contestants and judge the contestant solely on vocal talent. This feature benefitted 19-year-old Pip, from Marietta, GA, who’s adolescent looks don’t match his sound.
“For me, since I look so young, it was a positive for them to judge me off my voice and not focus on how young I look. They all said that my voice sounded much more mature than my look. Adam Levine told me I epitomized what the show was about”.
For Pip, stage presence comes naturally. Growing up, his older sister Eileen was heavily involved with community theater in their hometown, and anytime the group needed a young stand-in performer she would ask Pip. Pip’s debut came at the age of two, and he has been performing since. His first major role was as the lead in the musical “Oliver” for the community theater when he was ten. His early performance years have helped him immensely with “The Voice”.
“Starting off on stage at a young age has made me much more comfortable performing in front of live audiences. I thrive on being on stage performing. It is like home for me.”
When it came time for Pip to choose a song to perform, he chose the 1964 Animals classic “House of the Rising Sun”. Some may see this as a surprising choice for a 19-year-old, but Pip‘s risk was a calculated one.
“I remember when I was a kid my mother used to play that song on the guitar and I always liked it. Then I heard a remake of it not too long before the competition and it rekindled my interest in it. I sang it at a coffee shop in Marietta and people really liked it so I decided to make it one of my choices.”
Pip’s unique style and southern gentleman personality has made him an early fan favorite on the show. He came out for his blind audition performance wearing a bowtie and suspenders; not exactly the typical look for a 19-year-old.
“My style is totally from me some people think that the show created it or a stylist created it, but the choice was all mine to wear the bowtie and suspenders. I always liked that southern gentleman style. I wanted to take that classic southern gentleman look and put my modern twist on it. I think it is vital to brand yourself and make people remember you.”
Pip was one of few contestants during the blind audition phase that had all four judges turn around and fight for him. As each judge turned around, Pip experienced increasing pressure.
“Going out there I actually had a speech prepared because I didn’t think any of them were going to turn around, but then as they kept turning the feeling of man this is really happening kicked in and it became a surreal feeling like I was watching someone else perform on TV.”
The first judge to turn around was Adam Levine of Maroon 5. Levine made his case that Pip could be a chameleon and affect and blend with his teammates. Levine’s arguments were compelling and Pip signed on.
“I picked Adam because he was the only judge that critiqued me and sold himself really well on how he could help me win. I am very happy with the decision I made.”
Next up for Pip is what the show calls “the Battle Phase”. In the Battle Phase, which airs in March, coaches have two of their team members sing the same song together, and then pick which team member advances. If Pip advances past the Battle Phase, he then enters the Final Phase. In this section, the remaining contestants (Final 8 ) compete against each other in live broadcasts. The television audience and the coaches have equal say in deciding who moves on to the Final four phase. When one team member remains for each coach, the contestants compete against each other, with the outcome decided solely by public vote. The winner of the competition receives $100,000 and a recording contract with Universal Republic.
Pip he is one step closer to making his dream come true. From the lead role in Oliver to performing in front of millions of people worldwide, Pip has come a long way and his future is limitless.