This week on The Voice, Tamar Davis impressed Christina Aguilera with her cover of Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down.” Christina chose Tamar over Maya Smith for one of her five spots in the live playoffs.
What did Tamar think made the difference? Starpulse spoke to her after her knockout round performance to discuss how she picked the song, what might have given her the edge over Maya, and what she’ll want to do in that first round of live shows.
The song choice was great news for her. “It is one of my favorite songs,” she revealed. “When I found out I was going to perform it, I jumped up for joy for several reasons.
“One, I wanted to sing a ballad. Two, I wanted to sing a ballad and add my Tamar-ism to it. And three, I wanted to sing a Sam Smith song on the show. I just had no clue it would be so soon! “
Even though she knew and loved the song, covering it properly still took quite a bit of work with her coach and The Voice‘s musical staff. “The rehearsal for the song was ironically intricate,” Tamar revealed. “When I first rehearsed with the band, we realized the song was fast and too fast for me to get across the message.
“So we played around with some ideas I had in my head, such as the modulation,” she continued. “As soon as I sang it to Paul [Mirkovich], the musical director, he liked it. And as soon as we rehearsed it with the new change, we knew we had something different.
“Never having a clue it would actually be something special. And as Pharrell [Williams] said, it became my song. That was an honor. “
While she was humbled by the huge compliment, Tamar says she looks back and sees that she was “still in my head. I was concerned with how cold it was on stage, to making sure I didn’t go flat, to keeping in mind to simply have fun.
“In all honesty, that was the performance that you knew either you were staying or going home,” she continued. “So when that’s in your head anytime, I would say [I would give it] an 8.”
Who else’s performance did she love this week? “Adam Wakefield,” she told us. “First, I have had very few conversations with Adam. He’s so suave and carries himself in a debonair way.
“So when I heard him sing I literally would mimic some of his musical choices. He’s so smooth but very soulful. His performance was jaw-dropping and completely took me off guard. “
The knockout rounds not only secured Tamar a position in the final phase of Season 10 of The Voice, but they were a huge learning experience for her as well. She told us that she came away knowing to “stick to my first love of singing and performing ballads. I enjoy uptempo and funk and rock, but I knew if I could just get a ballad, that would be it. After actually watching the performance, I literally cried.
“My parents used to tell me that my gift makes grown men cry. And though I have seen it sporadically, to now get the overwhelming responses from all races, ages, and genders, I was left speechless. I saw that performance and knew that was not me singing up there. It was truly God’s gift shining. I practiced that song everyday but what I heard was nowhere near what I felt in my lessons and rehearsals.”
How does she think she can possibly top that during the live shows?
“I would like to work on completely getting out of my head and be free,” Tamar said. “Yes, it’s a competition but I want to remain free in knowing that I am only competing with the song and making sure to pay respect to it’s originality but at the same time, be confident that I am Tamar. And at the end of the day, I must make it a point to put Tamar into the song and just be. I can’t think about the outcome while being in the now.”
She does have one big get on her wish list should she make it further in the competition.
“If I could perform any song on The Voice, it would be ‘Purple Rain,'” she revealed. “I would love to surprise Prince with my Tamar-isms in that song. And if he could somehow pop out of the sky and perform a 16-bar guitar solo, then that would just be a ‘drop the mic’ moment and bill me later for the damages!”
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.