The 19th season of NBC’s “The Voice” kicked off Monday night and already one local musician has made the cut.
During the opening night blind auditions, Seattle-based soul/rock artist Payge Turner impressed the show’s celebrity judges with a commanding version of The Weeknd’s “Call Out My Name,” earning a spot on Gwen Stefani’s team.
“I was ready to go,” a visibly amped Turner told the judges. “They had me back there and I was like, ‘I’m a bull in a pen. Let’s go, let’s go!’”
Born in Trinidad and Tobago, the 27-year-old singer/guitarist is a relative newcomer to the Seattle scene, after relocating here from Kansas where she spent much of her youth. A keyboard teacher at the School of Rock, Turner released her “Sleep Walker” EP this summer, coolly blending soul and soft rock with hints of jazz and blues in her guitar playing, plus some steel drums flashing her Caribbean roots.
Turner, who holds a degree in music theory and vocal performance, grabbed the judges’ attention right out of the gate, hitting a rich low note as deep as Puget Sound. “I just felt like your voice is just so beautiful, everybody was dying when you hit that low note,” Stefani gushed. “And I just love how much control you have and how sexy your voice sounded.”
While Turner ended up choosing Stefani as her coach for the season, Stefani’s boyfriend and fellow judge Blake Shelton was the first judge to decisively turn his chair, indicating he wanted Turner on his team. The country star praised Turner’s swaggering stage presence after her high-stepping performance yielded one mic stand casualty. (Though we can attest, Turner held a Seattle rock crowd equally rapt with a seated acoustic set last year at Chop Suey.)
“She’s not just an incredible vocalist, but she’s a performer,” Shelton said. “If you don’t pick me for your coach at least give me a year’s free in your fan club.”
Watch a video of Turner’s performance below.