The Voice Winner Sawyer Fredericks, 16: I Want to Get Back to the Farm, “I Do …

21 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Voice’ recap: 10 highlights from the Season 8 finale.

“The Voice” Season 8 crown was placed reverently on the sleek head of young Sawyer Fredericks, metaphorically speaking, on Tuesday night. Singer Sawyer Fredericks won the latest season of the reality show, while Meghan Linsey came in second place, Joshua Davis took third, and Koryn Hawthorne landed at fourth. “I kind of want to get back to the farm, just to get a little break from all this,” Fredericks said in an interview with Rolling Stone Country. “So I’m excited to get back home.” Compared to contestants at rival reality singing competition “American Idol,” which brought the world such successful singers as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Phillip Phillips, “Voice” winners have struggled.A mere eight seconds into his blind audition for The Voice, three big red chairs turned around for Sawyer Fredericks — with the fourth following less than a minute later.It hardly came as a surprise: Sawyer Fredericks, the fetching folky farm boy from Fultonville, N.Y., was declared the Season 8 winner of “The Voice” in the final moments of Tuesday night’s finale.

Season-five winner Tessanne Chin had the lowest album sales debut for a “Voice” winner ever, in 2014, according to the Hollywood Reporter, debuting at number 41 on the Billboard 200. So from the first verse of his unique rendition of the Soggy Bottom Boys’ “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow,” the 16-year-old New York native became Season Eight’s frontrunner — and at no point during the show’s run did he ever lose that edge.

The sweet 16-year-old with the gleaming hair, sincere smile, innocent glow and endearing habit of singing with his hand on his heart had prevailed over three other worthy finalists. It wasn’t until the confetti began falling that Fredericks cracked a youthful smile as the shock of what he’d just accomplished appeared to set in. Now, 16-year-old Sawyer Fredericks has been crowned the singing competition’s Season Eight champ, and no one is surprised — not the audience, not his fellow contestants and especially not his coach, Pharrell Williams, who notched his first Voice victory Tuesday night with the shy, young folk artist from a farm in upstate New York.

All four judges turned their chairs around, but as it turns out, the nerves never quite went away for Fredericks. (Danielle Bradbery also won The Voice in the fourth season at age 16.) “I was a little nervous about singing with John Fogerty,” he said of the finale. “But I mean, I was really just excited for the night. Not all “American Idol” champions break through either, but Entertainment Weekly writer Samantha Highfill was asking as recently as this past January, “Will ‘The Voice’ ever find a Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood? … considering ‘The Voice’’s season 2 winner, Jermaine Paul, hasn’t even released a debut album, maybe there is something missing from ‘The Voice’ formula. Why can’t singers successfully transition from selling cover songs to selling albums of original music?” Are “Voice” viewers simply tuning in to see the judges rather than the contestants? I was the only one who was getting to hear him sing this song, and it was amazing.” “Every day I’m worrying about that,” Fredericks admits. “Some days, my head voice is gone and I have to find different notes to hit.

After the parade of guests artists (Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow, John Fogerty, Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5, Meghan Trainor, Luke Bryan), the returning members of the Top 20, and even the coaches themselves had performed, Carson Daly gathered the four finalists – Meghan Linsey, Sawyer Fredericks, Koryn Hawthorne and Joshua Davis – to reveal whom the voters had chosen to collect this season’s trophy. “One of your lives is about to change forever,” Daly declared, before breaking the first bit of news. But what else happened during the course of the two-hour finale? 1) The Top 20’s return to sing “Carry On” and “Some Nights” by Fun — the 16 previously eliminated contestants rising up triumphantly behind finalists Koryn Hawthorne, Joshua Davis, Meghan Linsey and Fredericks — served as a striking reminder of how strong the competition was this season and what an accomplishment it was to survive to the very end.

The famed producer is proud of what he’s accomplished, but kept mum on whether he will be returning for another round. (Nashville native Meghan Linsey, 29, from Shelton’s team finished as runner-up.) “I love this show. To be honest with you, I don’t know that there’s another show that gives you this amount of like, diversity,” Williams, 42, said. “[Fredericks was] 15 when he came on, and [played with] 70-year-old — incredible — John Fogerty tonight on the finale. Small in stature but poised beyond his years, he carved out an identity as a guitar-strumming crooner who could effortlessly strip a song down to its barest essence. Both had performed well the previous night, as they had throughout the season, but Fredericks had two songs charting in the iTunes Top 5 – at Nos. 2 and 4 – while Linsey had just one, at No. 5.

Ray LaMontagne was his hero, and it appears the singer-songwriter is now a Fredericks fan, even gifting him with an original tune called “Please” for Monday’s finale. Is that my accountant?” The runner-up was Aguilera as Lady Gaga, contemplating the customization of “The Voice’s” trademark furniture: “Can we change the color of this chair? Immediately after the live broadcast, the track shot to Number Two on the iTunes chart. “I really want to do a song with Ray, just because I really want to meet him,” Fredericks confided. As Fredericks sang the song that had helped put him there, “Please,” an original his hero Ray Montagne had given him to sing in the finals and to release as his first single – the song currently occupying that No. 2 slot on iTunes – his parents, looking fresh from the farm, enveloped him in a hug.

According to host Carson Daly, “Between that Ray moment last night and John tonight, those were two of the greatest moments we’ve ever had on the show.” Coach Pharrell’s advice for Fredericks is simple: “Stick to your guns; don’t change for anyone. Couldn’t someone have fixed that? 7) The bring-back performances always bring interesting revelations about backstage friendships: Linsey’s bond with Sarah Potenza, Davis’ admiration for Brian Johnson, Fredericks’ teen-contestant crew.

Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again. Here’s a guy that possesses this ability to tap into something that we all know is bigger than all of us, and he’s humble, and he’s proud of being a farmhand, and he’s named all his animals, and he’s the one who won, and he even won a car!

Who knew? 8) Levine’s injured response to an unrecognizing Reba McEntire in a funny re-cut of her appearance as a guest mentor, working with Pharrell, was priceless. 9) Williams’ revelation that he has already started working with his former team member Mia Z? After months of escalating protests and grassroots organizing in response to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police reformers have issued many demands. The most interesting of these was Meghan Linsey’s match-up with Team Blake colleague, fellow Nashvillian and sister-from-another-mister, Sarah Potenza. The pair displayed considerable girl power as they traded verses on Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” And in a pop-up band news, the four Voice coaches picked up instruments and microphones for “The Thrill is Gone,” in a timely tribute to the late guitarist and bluesman, B.B. Because that is what this sweet-smiling, Americana-inflected, pure-voiced, preternaturally talented young man — who had never been on a plane before entering the competition, who had satisfied his love of music by singing at farmers markets, who was never too comfortable when required to speak into a microphone — clearly loves to do.

While law enforcers have existed in one form or another for centuries, the modern police have their roots in the relatively recent rise of modern property relations 200 years ago, and the “disorderly conduct” of the urban poor. Like every structure we’ve known all our lives, it seems that the policing paradigm is inescapable and everlasting, and the only thing keeping us from the precipice of a dystopic Wild West scenario. Rather than be scared of our impending Road Warrior future, check out just a few of the practicable, real-world alternatives to the modern system known as policing: Unarmed but trained people, often formerly violent offenders themselves, patrolling their neighborhoods to curb violence right where it starts. Stop believing that police are heroes because they are the only ones willing to get in the way of knives or guns – so are the members of groups like Cure Violence, who were the subject of the 2012 documentary The Interrupters. There are also feminist models that specifically organize patrols of local women, who reduce everything from cat-calling and partner violence to gang murders in places like Brooklyn.

While police forces have benefited from military-grade weapons and equipment, some of the most violent neighborhoods have found success through peace rather than war. Violent offenses count for a fraction of the 11 to 14 million arrests every year, and yet there is no real conversation about what constitutes a crime and what permits society to put a person in chains and a cage. Decriminalization doesn’t work on its own: The cannabis trade that used to employ poor Blacks, Latinos, indigenous and poor whites in its distribution is now starting to be monopolized by already-rich landowners. To quote investigative journalist Christian Parenti’s remarks on criminal justice reform in his book Lockdown America, what we really need most of all is “less.” Also known as reparative or transformative justice, these models represent an alternative to courts and jails.

From hippie communes to the IRA and anti-Apartheid South African guerrillas to even some U.S. cities like Philadelphia’s experiment with community courts, spaces are created where accountability is understood as a community issue and the entire community, along with the so-called perpetrator and the victim of a given offense, try to restore and even transform everyone in the process. Communities that have tools to engage with each other about problems and disputes don’t have to consider what to do after anti-social behaviors are exhibited in the first place. In Mexico, where one of the world’s most corrupt police forces only has credibility as a criminal syndicate, there have been armed groups of Policia Comunitaria and Autodefensas organized by local residents for self-defense from narcotraffickers, femicide and police.

Obviously these could become police themselves and then be subject to the same abuses, but as a temporary solution they have been making a real impact. In New York, Rikers Island jails as many people with mental illnesses “as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined,” which is reportedly 40% of the people jailed at Rikers. We have created a tremendous amount of mental illness, and in the real debt and austerity dystopia we’re living in, we have refused to treat each other for our physical and mental wounds. Mental health has often been a trapdoor for other forms of institutionalized social control as bad as any prison, but shifting toward preventative, supportive and independent living care can help keep those most impacted from ending up in handcuffs or dead on the street.

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