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'The Voice': Meet the first 13 singers

by jmaloni
Thu, Feb 9th 2012 03:05 pm
`The Voice.` (NBC photo)
"The Voice." (NBC photo)

Part I of II

Celebrity musician coaches Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton begin building their teams

Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni

"Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free. ..."

It appears NBC's "The Voice" has adopted the philosophy inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.

Through season two's first two blind audition episodes, celebrity musician coaches Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton have taken world-weary singers, browbeaten by the music industry - and life - and set them on a path of pitch-perfect redemption.

Among the first 13 chosen to compete on one of the four judges' teams is Jesse Campbell. Not 10 seconds into his performance of "A Song For You," Christina, Cee Lo and Adam hit the "I Want You" button.

"I heard you start out strong, but you followed through above and beyond all of my expectations," Christina said. "I would love to have you on my team."

"Congratulations. What an impact you've already made on this show," Blake said.

Yet, Campbell's journey to this stage had included a time when he was unable to land a contract - or a job, for that matter. Homeless, he was sleeping in his car.

"I personally just didn't know my worth. I felt unworthy. I was in my own way, and low self-esteem, and I just got to the place where I decided to do some things for me. And when I was so inundated with being a daddy, and there were things that were needed and I couldn't provide, I decided to make some changes," Campbell said. "And I began to do my inner work and clear myself of the things that were keeping me grounded in the sense of not flying and soaring with the talent that God has given me. And as a result of clearing some of those things and getting rid of that unworthiness and getting to the root of those things, I was able to dig deep enough to pull those issue up by the roots, and therefore stand and do what's being done today."

Campbell found work singing at church and now lives with his daughter in an apartment. Together, they're hoping "The Voice" is a platform for Campbell's talent.

"So I got my daughter in, and she's on board and she's supportive, and her mother's side of the family moved in town, and so I got a babysitter and I'm grateful for this opportunity," Campbell said.

For Juliet Simms, "The Voice" is a chance to shine apart from her band, Automatic Loveletter, and to build a larger audience.

"There's never been really a moment in my career where I've just stopped and, you know, like, waited around for the next thing. I've always been the type of person that had a few things going on and never let it get to the point where it was like, 'What am I doing; like, what's next?' she said. "And I have had a few record deals and I've been touring for the better part of the last 10 years. And you know, it's just - it's an opportunity that came up. You know, it was last summer when I was on Warped Tour promoting a new record my band had made, and we just released it, and this opportunity came up and ... I'd never really considered singing on a reality show or anything like that. But I checked it out and I watched the show and it just - it seemed like a perfect fit."

With "The Voice," Simms can stand on her own vocal talent.

"I'd always been told my entire career that, you know, you have a different kind of voice, you don't ... 'I've never really heard someone that sounds like you,' " she said. "It just seemed like, 'Wow, this show is really meant for a specific crowd of people.' People who maybe ... never fit the mold or wasn't what pop radio wanted.

"At the time when I was trying the major record labels, I wasn't exactly what they were looking for, because it wasn't something that they had heard before; they really didn't know what to do with me. And so this seemed like the perfect facet to finally, you know, not be the one. Like I'd always been in my career the one on the sidelines watching my friends' bands get huge or, you know, other girls I was friends with, they would get signed and then their bands would blow up or they would go - they would blow up. Like Katy Perry, I remember playing shows with her back at the Viper Room back about, I don't know, five or six years ago. And all of a sudden, Katy Perry (exploded).

"I always had been the one on the sidelines and it was finally just like, 'That's it. I can't take this anymore,' and I saw this opportunity and I just - I seized it. And it worked out in my favor."

Follow "The Voice" online at http://www.nbc.com/the-voice, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NBCTheVoice, and on Twitter at @NBCTheVoice and #TheVoice.

•Click here to read Part II and learn more about Angie Johnson, Gwen Sebastian, Jermaine Paul and Lindsey Pavao.

•Click here for a list of the 13 singers and their coaches.

•Click here to find out more about "The Voice."

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