I don't follow singing competition shows. Never have, never will. What generally happens however, is that after the show has aired and the dust has settled, I find an artist or two that can stand on their own merit away from the show. One of my most favorite pop stars is Blake Lewis who was on Season whatever of American Idol and he didn't even win. You can listen to his two albums that were released and the first one that was fully under the control of the execs with Fox and American Idol sounds totally different than his sophomore release that has some distance from the show. It seems like the second album is more of what he may have wanted to say than the first.
A very similar thing has happened with Vicci Martinez. The only thing I know about The Voice is that the concept was pretty cool. Using your ears to determine the merits of a singer opposed to who looks good. They weren't picking a visual representation of what would make good television but what was actually pleasing to the ear and what would actually make a good recording artist. I would love to be able to say that I stumbled upon her all on accident and thought holy crap, this is great stuff. But in all actuality, I was contacted by someone in her camp and asked me to listen to the track and see what I thought. I am no corporate lackey therefore I am on no one's payroll and if I don't want to write about someone or if I don't like what I hear, I don't write about them.
So I threw the song on and sat down to give it at least a play. If it didn't catch my ear, I was going to be done. What has happened, though, is I have sat here for the past 20 minutes listening to the song on repeat. The album version, the live version, the original version and what I can say is wow. The production is great. The arrangement is solid. The vocals are superb. The addition of Cee-Lo takes the track to a new level, then when you add the little psuedo-rap in the middle eight and the song is just full of everything that could make this a top 40 song without question.
Vicci has an earthy quality to her voice that is suited to this slow, deliberate arrangement. It's down to earth and it's honest. It's not autotuned and it's not overproduced. I think Joan Baez and Melissa Etheridge. But it's more than just that. It's the honesty in her voice that I think is palatable. You can feel it. It's there and it's got a raw edge that can't be taught.
She has an album out on iTunes and all the other fine retailers. I'm going to pick it up and go from there. This song, has made me want to invest more time in her because I think she deserves it and I want to hear her story and what she has to say to me. I'll probably do a write up when I've let it breathe for a bit.
Find Vicci on Facebook: www.facebook.com/OfficialVicciMartinez