After singing her soulful rendition of “Dive” by Ed Sheeran and getting two coaches to turn for her, Jamella Perkins picked newcomer Kelly Clarkson to be her coach. The Mission Viejo resident and former OCSA student moves forward to the battle rounds, which premieres this week.
*Update: Jamella makes it past battle rounds to the Knockouts.
You won Laguna Voice, a version of “The Voice” held at Mozambique Restaurant in Laguna Beach. Musical director Francois Dean described you as “an up-and-coming talent from Orange County” and an “old soul.” How does it feel to be on the actual show now?
It’s honestly really exhilirating. It’s a huge blessing to be honest. I’m just taking it one day at a time. The outpouring of support has been really great too. It’s a little overwhelming, but a good overwhelming.
After your blind audition, both Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton turned for you. What made you pick Team Kelly?
To be honest, I went into the show thinking that I was going to pick Blake. During every interview, I always wanted him. Kelly really won me over when she turned for me; she was the first one to turn. She had a lot to say about my voice and how it’s imperative for me to pick the right songs to continue in the competition. I wanted a coach that was going to fight for me throughout the show. That’s why I picked her.
What went into picking your song for the blind audition?
I actually changed it very close to the audition, and “Dive” felt a lot better. I really wanted to challenge myself and pick something that was really going to show my range because we don’t get a lot of time to show it off. I felt like it was imperative to show the best of my capabilities.
You live in Mission Viejo, but are originally from Chicago.
The reason we moved to O.C. instead of L.A. is because the schools are really amazing over here. People don’t know that there’s so much to do out here. Orange County is its own thing. I’m really big on going to Cinépolis in Rancho Santa Margarita with my mom and my friends.
On the show, you talked a lot about your mom and the big influence she’s been in your singing career. How does she feel about you making it onto “The Voice?”
My mom is overwhelmed too. She’s just super proud of me and it just means the entire world to me that I’m making her proud. My singing career is my passion and something that I’ve always wanted and strive for. Seeing my mom proud of me makes me want it even more. It’s just an amazing feeling knowing that I’m doing this not only for me, but for her as well.
What artists did you look up to growing up?
I grew up listening to a lot of oldies; my mom played a lot of Etta James, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson. The artists that really stood out to me growing up were Aaliyah and Janet Jackson. I have this R&B styling to me, but I also have this pop feel. My mom put me in dance just as much as she put me in singing. The ideal artist that I really embraced would be Aaliyah, but a new school version.
Which contemporary artists inspire you today?
I’m a huge fan of Sabrina Claudio and Chris Stapleton. They’re the top two people that I play on my iPod. Sabrina has this smooth, sexy, and beautiful voice and it kind of overtakes the room. I appreciate artists who don’t sound like anyone else. She has her own lane, stands out, and has this jazzy undertone that’s absolutely gorgeous. With Chris Stapleton, he can collaborate with any artist and make that song his own. He appears on “Say Something” with Justin Timberlake. Not only is the song incredible, the music video and story behind it is super incredible to me also.
The battle rounds premieres this week. What’s your mindset going into this part of the show?
Just have fun with it. You never know what the coach wants. Music is my passion so I’m just here to enjoy the ride and hopefully Kelly will pick me. The song that we got assigned is a little different too, so hopefully it will show my artistry. I just want to show people who I am as an artist and that I deserve to be here just as much as anyone else. This season is so talented and everyone is so different. If I had to pick someone, I couldn’t. It really comes down to who stands out. I want to show that I do.
Season 14 of “The Voice” is on NBC Monday and Tuesday at 8 P.M. Watch Jamella’s blind audition below!