But Eric admitted Tuesday that he was surprised she was the coach who turned for his performance of “Ooh Child” by Five Stairsteps.
“Jennifer has a very, very commanding sound — just a real powerful voice,” Eric, 26, of Kansas City told Voice Views. “I didn’t think she would have picked me. But I was really blessed. She saw me and my style and the fact that I was jazzy and I was different.”
The Voice opted to show just a tiny snippet of Eric’s performance. But we got to hear the Grammy-winning coach compliment Eric on “giving each and every note the attention it deserved” and talking about how proud she was to have him on her team.
At age 26, Eric is a student at California State University, Northridge, studying classical music and vocal performance and pursuing a master’s degree.
But his Facebook bio makes it clear he’s been singing most of his life.
And since he was born and raised in Kansas City, Eric said he’s been heavily influenced by the jazz music that was so popular there.
During a conference call with the media, Eric said he grew up singing gospel in church and participating in school choirs. But it was when he attended Fisk University in Nashville that he got to participate in some of his most prestigious performances.
As a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Eric performed at the White House and Carnegie Hall. On Facebook, Eric says it’s that experience that reaffirmed his commitment to make a career of music.
Now that he’s based in Los Angeles, Eric supports himself through vocal lessons and by doing studio work as a background singer. He says he’s worked with Johnny Cash’s son, gospel artist Bobby Jones and done studio work “for a lot of artists I really don’t know, because when you do session work, you really don’t know who you’re doing it for. You’re just going in to do a job.”
He’s also been part of two viral videos — as one of a number of vocalists in “Gaga4Rent” and as one of four vocalists paying tribute to Pulse Nightclub victims with a performance of “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen. You can check out both below.
When speaking with the media Tuesday, Eric also explained his blind audition song choice. Though the performance was montaged, his cover of “Ooh Child” is available on iTunes.
“I felt I could make that song my own while still keeping the integrity of the song,” he said. “And I also felt the song would engage with people and whatever they’re going to and perhaps be an encouragement.”
As for his vocal style … well, he can’t escape his youth in Kansas City, Eric admits.
“I’d say my style is very jazzy. I don’t try to be. I swear I don’t. I try to be natural and soulful. But I think because of my connection with (jazz) as a child, it really has kind of stuck itself in my voice.”
Jennifer seemed to have no complaints about that.
Here are Eric’s social media links, followed by the promised videos.