Catching Up With 'Voice' Winner Josh Kaufman - Rolling Stone
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Catching Up With ‘Voice’ Winner Josh Kaufman

Just three months ago, blue-eyed soulman Josh Kaufman was crowned the winner of The Voice Season 6, and he hasn’t had a chance to rest since. Almost immediately after the finale, he was whisked away to rehearsals for the Voice Tour, which featured him and his fellow Season 6 castmates Josh Worthington, Christina Grimmie, Kristen Merlin, and Jake Barker, along with the top three from Season 5 and Season 1’s runner-up, Dia Frampton.

Speaking to Yahoo Music’s Reality Rocks backstage at the tour’s recent L.A. stop at the Nokia Theater, Josh (looking a bit igcognito sans his signature hat and spectacles) admitted that he hasn’t had a chance to start work on his post-Voice album, but he has plenty of ideas about how he wants it to sound.

“I’ve started talking to the label about the direction, what I want to do. The first single is where we’re focusing right now,” he said, saying he’d like to incorporate the jazzy, bluesy, and funky elements of his old band, the New Etiquette. “I love that stuff. I probably won’t go as much with the jazz influence, just because there’s not as much of a market for that, unfortunately. But I definitely will include those elements.”

As for whether 38-year-old Josh’s type of music will fit into today’s pop market, he said: “I think there’s definitely a place for it, as far as the style thing. You have guys like Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and Bruno Mars taking those classic soul sounds and bringing them up to date. So I think there’s a precedent for that.” (Josh actually revealed that his dream album producer would be new Season 7 Voice coach Pharrell, so watch this space.)

As for whether Josh will work on his album with his own Season 6 coach, Usher (with whom he recently reunited at Usher’s New Look Foundation charity event), he said: “I think he does want to stay involved as much as he can… Working with Usher was amazing, just in the fact that he seemed genuinely interested in working with me. It never seemed like, ‘OK, I’m doing this for the show, and now I’m going home and I’ll forget about you.’ He really seemed to have an interest in furthering my career and making me a better performer — which I know he did.”

For now, most Voice fans have been able to enjoy Josh and Usher reunite, so to speak, via a virtual “Every Breath You Take” duet on the Voice Tour, a Nat King Cole/Natalie Cole sort of production. Josh jokingly admitted this has been “a little strange… because it seems like he’s not with us anymore!”

Now that the tour in finally over and Josh is getting ready to enter the studio, the pressure is on. Few Voice contestants have been successful after the show, and his predecessor, Season 5 winner Tessanne Chin, got a disappointingly “quiet release” for her album, which resulted in it flopping (it has sold less than 7,000 copies so far). Is Josh worried that his album will meet a similarly under-promoted fate?

“Obviously I’m concerned, in that I want it to turn out the best it possibly can. But it is what it is, and I don’t know what that’s going to look like,” he told Yahoo. “I don’t know what [the label’s] idea is going to be or how they’re going to go forward with things. So much is still up in the air. I’m just going to work as hard as I can, and hopefully all that stuff works itself out. It’s hard to judge what it’s going to be like for me based on what somebody else says it’s been like for somebody else, you know?”

As for Tessanne, Josh said she might very well end up on his debut album. “On the tour, Tessanne and I do a duet, and we’ve talked about collaborating and doing something like that, writing something, because I just love singing with her.”

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