His audition: Brandon Royal, 31, of Orlando, Fla., auditioned with Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster (Jammin’).” He earned chair turns from Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani. Gwen said she sensed different kinds of musical influences in his performance. Brandon decided to join Team Gwen
His background: He grew up in the Virgin Islands. He says his mom always played music around the house. In college, he and a friend started performing as Them Island Boyz; Brandon called their music “a mesh of pop, hip-hop and R&B.” After college, he moved to Orlando to pursue music as a solo artist. “But my musical pursuits in Orlando have been really bleak,” he admits. So he became a firefighter and EMT, a job he’s held for two years. In fact, he says his Voice audition was his first time on stage in five years.
What the show didn’t show:
* This performer from the Virgin Islands has performed under a number of names, including his own, Brandon Varlack, but also as B.V. and as B. Royal.
* As B. Royal, he joined a popular group in the St. Thomas area called B.E.S.T. in 2003.
* He went on to attend the University of the Virgin Islands and became friends with Art Philip — stage name Drastic.
* In 2007, they shared the honor of becoming the first-ever winners of Virgin Islands Idol, a televised singing competition.
* They followed up on that success by releasing an EP called “Mix It Up” in 2008. It featured the single “Lay Your Body Down” and the duo became known as Them Island Boyz. Next came an 18-track mix tape called “The Introduction.”
* In 2012, B. Royal and Drastic teamed up with reggae artist Jah Cure on a single called “Kiss Me Girl.” It was accompanied by a music video that became a hit in the Caribbean.
* Other singles that duo have collaborated on include “Life II Live,” “So Seductive” and “Tell Dem Shoo.” Search Them Island Boyz on Soundcloud and you can find many of those songs.
* According to his wixsite bio, Brandon started working on a solo project, intending to show off his “more sexy and sultry side.” In a conference call with the media last week, Brandon said “that didn’t pan out.” His only recent performances: karaoke nights. The Voice, he noted, is “a pretty big stage” to stage a comeback on. But he called the experience “a blessing.”
* How did he wind up on The Voice? Brandon says his girlfriend came home from work one day “with this paperwork for me. She said, ‘You’re going to go to Atlanta on this day. Tickets are booked. You’re going to audition for The Voice.’ And I said, ‘I guess I am.’ She did everything. She was adamant about me doing it.”
“So Seductive” (with Drastic as Them Island Boyz)
“Kiss Me Girl” (as Them Island Boyz with Jah Cure)