Dennis Drummond: I didn't go on 'The Voice' with stars in my eyes, being stolen isn't a disadvantage at all
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/20/2017
Dennis Drummond was matched with Mitchell Lee for a Battle on behalf of Blake Shelton's team on The Voice's thirteenth season.
The rockers from Nashville were required to sing "Mr. Jones" by Counting Crows, and Blake admitted that choosing between them was going to be his toughest decision so far this season.
While Blake said Dennis, a 27-year-old musician from Warren, OH who currently resides in Nashville, TN, is a great entertainer and singer, Mitchell, a 29-year-old woodworker from Columbia, SC who currently resides in Nashville, TN, noticeably had clear and perfect pitch.
Since the show is called The Voice, Blake thought it made sense to keep Mitchell on his team because the contestant's voice undeniably "hits you right in the hut." However, Adam Levine chose to steal Dennis for his team since the artist is "so unique" and the coach previously fought hard for Dennis during the Blind Auditions. Adam also appreciated the fact Dennis is "super talented" simply loves playing music.
Shortly after the Battle aired on NBC, Dennis talked to Reality TV World about being stolen by Adam. Below is what he had to say.
Reality TV World: Do you think being stolen serves as an advantage or disadvantage at this stage of the competition? One might see it as an opportunity to receive advice from two experienced and wise coaches, but someone else might argue you'll have to work harder for Adam to keep you on his team since he's had more time to get to know his other team members.
Dennis Drummond: I've just kind of been opening the doors as they come and I kind of went into this not with stars in my eyes to begin with. I was just playing guitar, you know, like I was hired by people, so I've just been being me and taking things as they come.
I feel like Adam saw potential in me. I had reasons for [joining] both [teams in the Blinds]. It was a really difficult decision taking Blake and now being on "Team Adam," however, this whole competition has been a great experience because of being able to work with those people and being able to get their input on what it is that I'm doing and have that little boot of confidence where you're like, "Maybe I can do this."
I mean, you tell yourself that you can -- you realize it every now and then, but it's really tough to think that because you're invested in everything as you do it. It's so involved as you do it, it's like we're just performing, like we're just working and trying to get this performance down.
I wasn't thinking, "I'm going to knock Mitch out." I just wanted to go have fun and make a great song with my buddy. So the competition factor really hasn't been on my mind.
It's just been a great experience meeting people and having the input from people who are so established in their careers to be like, "Hey dude, we like what you do." That's been really nice, having that from both [coaches]. I don't see it as a disadvantage at all.
I think it was cool that he turned early in the song and then he saved me pretty quickly, he didn't make me have to [say goodbye]. I was so nervous. So luckily, he hit the button quickly. I didn't know what to say [to Blake] in that moment, it's like, I'm just used to this, being like, "Oh, thanks," that's about it. So it was crazy how quickly he acted on it, so I'm excited to see where things go with this.
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Also during the conference call with reporters, Dennis talked about the song choice and being matched up against his pal Mitchell.
I'd like for you to talk to me a little bit about that performance. What did you do to pull that off? Because not only did both of you survive, but the song is doing very well on iTunes.
Dennis Drummond: Man, going into that performance, I was really looking forward to going into that just because up until that point, you're like, "Can I do this?" Like, with the Blinds, you go into it and I've never performed to a room like that before. So, going into it, you're having to kind of prove yourself and then you get a little confidence.
So going into [the Battle], the song, I'm like, "Oh great, I love the Counting Crows!" And then the pairing, me and Mitch, we hung heavy. We hung out all of the time. So it was great, and I enjoy Mitch as a person to begin with, so we get up there and it's such a foreign thing, you know, like performing for a television show. It's a different kind of feeling, there's competition involved.
We had that base friendship going up there and were having fun. I couldn't stop dancing and smiling, and just whenever you start feeling weird about something, you look over and you've got to just look and see your buddy smiling and having fun onstage and you don't even think about it.
That performance, that was a really fun night, a really fun experience, and... it was so close to what we're used to doing, so it's more familiar to us. And plus, we rehearsed it so much just because we hung out so much. We'd be like, "Alright, dude."
We just hang out and [would] do it or go get lunch, and we were just always [together]. So, you know, we got to kind of catch each other's [vibes], so it was like, "Let's just go do this thing that we've been working at man. You know?"
And I mean, I really liked that song. One of the first songs I ever learned how to play on the guitar was "Long December" by Counting Crows. So early on, I liked his songwriting style and the storylines and he's got a really unique voice. It's kind of Eddy Vedder singing where it's very unique, it's almost like talking -- just like a harmonious or very melodic talking, almost.
I've always really liked that, because the song is always so cool... and it was just such an easy thing, and when we got it, I was like, "Right on, another Crow's related song." I did The Black Crowes for the audition and I did the Counting Crows for this one. So I'm like, "Right on, I'm starting to see a trend." I was like, "What's going to be next," you know?
Before your Blind Audition, you mentioned you were a Maroon 5 fan and you anticipated being on "Team Adam" if he turned, but then you ended up being on "Team Blake." So do you feel like you've learned everything that you needed to get out of being on "Team Blake" so far?
Dennis Drummond: Being around both the singers, they both have such a different background, you know? The reason I went with Blake was just because with country, it's not always like the vocal acrobatics, that's never been my wheelhouse. I've always just kind of done what I did. You know, I don't do the big runs or anything, I've never really heard that.
So, with Blake being a male and with country music, it's always just kind of been about the ability to tell a story in a song and sell lyrics, really sell the performance. I mean, some of the best country singers aren't the best singers; they're just performers and they're very good at telling a story.
And that's kind of why I initially went with Blake, and his pointers and everything, he kind of helped pull me out of my shell a little bit and get a little confidence as the frontman. And then with Adam, that was a whole new can of worms, because with Maroon 5 and with all of that stuff, he's always valued cool music like in his songs.
Like with Maroon 5, all of the albums are so cool and you can hear the players, and that was cool. I remember hearing "Sunday Morning" on the radio when I was in like middle school and thinking, "That's cool." I like the way it starts, all of that stuff.
So, I'm excited to work with him and dive more into the musical creative side of stuff, and he is a singer, he does have that range. So we'll see what he can pull out of me in that way.
Do you think viewers will see a shift in your performance, like will you be heading towards more of a rock side than country side now?
Dennis Drummond: Well, going into this whole thing, I've never really liked genres and stuff, like people ask me my genre, and I'm like, "What's the gig? How much is it paying and when are we leaving?" You know, I've never really been focused on the genres. I've always just kind of had to be a chameleon going into things.
So that was kind of fun with this whole experience, kind of diving into, "Well, what do I like to sing? What is my thing?" You know, because with genres, I just felt like it was giving myself a nickname. It was just kind of one of those things, like, "I don't know, what's my genre? You tell me. What is it?"
And so, I've always really appreciated rock, I've always really liked Eddy Vedder and Pearl Jam, that era. I have a brother who's 10 years older than me and that was his era, you know, like that's what my older brother would listen to when I was growing up.
So that was always kind of like my initial -- and like Soul Asylum, I had like a VHS of Runaway Train's music video and when I was four, I would watch it. I always knew how to put in the VHS, so that's the one thing I knew how to do.
Rock has always been a thing for me, but I've also always loved the blues and soul music. I'm a big Donny Hathaway fan; I can't sing like him at all, but that's one of my favorite albums ever.
I just love music, so with the whole genre thing, I've always just kind of done it my own way, just like [with the Battle] song, right? How am I going to do it now? I can sing rock, I can sing soul, I can sing blues, I don't know, there's a million genres.
You said you worked with Adam Wakefield, who was also on The Voice. Did he give you any pointers or the ins and outs of being on The Voice competing?
Dennis Drummond: He just told me, "Don't suck." That was his first advice. I was like, "Alright, cool man, thanks." And we were playing video games, so it was like -- you know, he's a buddy. His advice is very just friend-like. He's a good buddy of mine, so it was more like, "Dude, go out and be you and sing a song."
And his big thing he said was, "Just be Dennis, because nobody can be a better you." So he was just like, "Go out there and do whatever it is that you do. Just go out there and do it and sing a song, play the song," you know, and he's been great.
I'm actually playing guitar with him this weekend. So seeing how it's helped him out -- he was where I was at in the same situation where he was coming from playing keys and singing harmony with people and then kind of did his own thing when he could do it. And then after he got off the show, he called me and was like, "Hey."
Before he was Adam Wakefield, I knew him. So now he's like Adam Wakefield -- he comes off and was playing the shows and stuff, and I learned a lot just by being around him, just being submerged in the working side of this. As soon as he got back [from The Voice], we loaded up in a van and went across the United States. So I've learned a lot and seen a lot from that side."