SandyRedd talks 'The Voice': My heart was initially set on Jennifer Hudson, but choosing Kelly Clarkson just felt right
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/05/2018
SandyRedd, formally known as Melinda Bussie, inspired a four-chair turn during her Blind Audition on The Voice, and now she's opening up about the journey that could potentially change her life.
The 36-year-old from Chicago, IL, belted out "River," and coach Adam Levine said, "I want this. Sometimes you get possessed by something... You can win this, and you should do it on my team."
Coach Kelly Clarkson gushed about how SandyRedd was "fire" on that stage and her performance was "magnificent." And Jennifer Hudson insisted SandyRedd "can make it," just like she did in her career that starter with American Idol.
All of the coaches fought hard for SandyRedd -- including Blake Shelton, who admitted snagging her for his team would be a longshot -- but in the end, she picked Kelly, which surprised everyone including Kelly herself.
"I love what was said about, 'I don't care what team you go with; I just want to see you win. So I'm going to go with Kelly," SandyRedd announced on the show.
On Wednesday, SandyRedd talked to Reality TV world about choosing Kelly as her coach. Below is what she had to say.
Reality TV World: Which coach were you hoping to work with going into your Blind Audition? And were you close to choosing a different coach until Kelly made that one comment about how she wants to see you win the show no matter which team you're on?
SandyRedd: Definitely. I mean my heart was definitely set on [Jennifer Hudson] because, you know, I definitely look up to her.
Of course we are both from Chicago and we do have a lot in common. Our backgrounds are extremely similar and I have so much love and respect for her journey and her story, the fact that she's traveled the road I'm going down.
So, you know, I did have Jennifer in mind. It was between Jennifer And Kelly in my mind, but I was definitely leaning towards Jennifer at first walking on the stage. I feel the moment and where I'm led, and at that moment, it led me to Kelly.
Reality TV World: So would you say it was purely an emotional decision to join Kelly's team or was there any strategy involved? Sometimes a contestant pictures what a certain coach's team might look like and avoid joining that team due to its similar artists or intimidating vocalists.
SandyRedd: Not at all. I feel like -- I'm a firm believer in the fact that what God has for me is for me. And so I feel like all the teams have extremely dynamic performers that are all just as good as I am.
And so there was no strategy involved in my decision. I felt like everything that Kelly said out of her mouth and the genuine nature that it came from it just -- it felt right. That felt like where I was supposed to be at that time.
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Also during the conference call with reporters, Sandyredd talked about her musical influences and what went into her song choice.
I think everybody pretty much just expected you to pick Jennifer. Could you elaborate on what went through your mind when all four chairs turned around.
SandyRedd: Yes. Basically, I mean, of course I love and respect every last one of the coaches on the panel and I have so many things that I admire about each and every one of them. But I'm a very spiritual person and I'm always just led by God, I feel.
I feel like there are certain things that lead me to certain moments, and so I felt everything that Kelly was saying to me. She mentioned the rock and the soul that she felt coming from me and my genre is rock-soul.
When she was saying that, she felt the rock and she felt the soul and not wanting to put me in a box and everything.
And the fact that she said that she didn't care who I picked because she just wanted to continue to see me move on in the actual show just showed me that she was coming from a very genuine, very selfless place, and I just felt like everything she was saying to me led me to her.
Could you talk a little bit about your musical influences?
SandyRedd: My first and foremost musical influence is definitely my mom. My foundation comes from our gospel background, you know, I grew up on the Clark Sisters and BeBe and CeCe Winans and, you know, just all of the gospel greats.
And then, you know, as I grew up, listening to people like Michael Jackson and Tina Turner and those musical forces I feel changed the atmospheres of a place or a room or were able to exude emotion out of their music.
Those were the kind of people that I'm influenced by the most, you know, your Whitney Houston and people like that.
Do you have any favorite rock performers?
SandyRedd: I actually do not have any favorite rock and roll performers. I just love the energy that rock music gives just across the board, and that's part of the reason why I choose to do rock-soul.
And it's not about it being actual rock music because what I do is soul music that's delivered in, sort of, a rock-style energy.
What went into the selection of "River?" You've had so many performances and sung so many different types of music. With that one moment, what went into selecting that song?
SandyRedd: I really wanted to focus on songs that I haven't touched before, that I wasn't familiar with.
I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and show that I could do something that people already familiar with me hadn't seen me try. So I wanted to give myself a challenge and I felt like "River" was definitely a song that was up my alley.
But it took me out of my comfort zone. It took a lot of practicing and a lot of going back and forth on different ideas of ways to execute it. So that was really my biggest focus, just stepping outside of my own comfort.
You've been performing for a while, so what led you to The Voice at this stage in your life?
SandyRedd: You're totally right. I have been performing for quite some time. But when I first started I was very green, I was very nervous, I had no showmanship and I was all over the place -- I had no look. I was just not ready. I was extremely afraid.
But my desire to sing was bigger than my fears, so I started doing open mics and any karaoke or anything I could get my hands on music-wise and just started, you know, preparing from there.
And I felt like from then until now, I feel like I'm ready now. So when the opportunity to do The Voice came about, it just felt like the right time.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for more interviews with The Voice artists from the Blind Auditions.