It's hard to believe that just a few months ago 16-year-old Jacquie Lee was a regular kid in high school in her hometown of Central, New Jersey and tonight she is singing live in front of millions in the semi-finals of NBC's “The Voice”. But hear her sing and you won't find anything hard to believe about Lee's beating out thousands to make it to the top 5 of the top musical reality show on television. Lee's strong beyond-her-years vocals have led her to pull off angelic live performances of hit songs week after week, including recently one by her very own coach, Christina Aguilera.
When Aguilera pitched herself to Lee during her blind audition (Both Aguilera and Blake Shelton turned around for Lee) she told her she was “hungry to win”, and now there is a good chance Lee may very well grant that wish to her. It's something she definitely says she is aspiring for when speaking of being the sole remaining member of Team Christina.
In a new interview, Lee talks about the bond she has formed with her coach, what it's like singing those classic songs in front of the country and the most valuable thing she has gained from her journey on “The Voice”.
How are you feeling after tonight's performance? Amazing! We saw Christina was blown away!
Jacquie- I'm feeling pretty good! Afterwards, she came up and told me she'd never been more proud of you.
What was she referring to when she said you did something she didn't know about in the song?
Jacquie- I don't think she knew that I could have so much vocal control and hold it all back, because everyone has seen me belt and belt and belt, and either go from one extreme to the other, but never really build. So I feel that she was really proud of me for this.
You seemed like you were very much in your element tonight and just in the moment.
Jacquie- I was. I just blanked out a moment. I was just really sad, but just that comforting sad. It was like I'm here!
You're the youngest artist in the competition, how has that been for you?
Jacquie- It's just been an honor. Because if I'm here at this stage, at this point in my life then moving forward I'm really excited about the future. Because I have so many more years ahead.
Are you feeling any pressure being the lone Team Christina artist?
Jacquie- Definitely. I want to get Christina to the finale just as much as I want to get to the finale. She came back to win. And she's worked so hard and she's in such a good place and I want to win this for her. Yes, definitely more pressure now that Matt's [Schuler] gone.
Since you're so young, is there something that your journey on “The Voice” has taught you about yourself that you may have been surprised to learn? Did you discover something about yourself?
Jacquie- Yes. When I started out I didn't really take myself as a serious musician. I didn't consider myself to be on the same platform as any of these people. But as I progressed, I started seeing that I could turn into one of them. So it's really cool. It's given me a lot more confidence in myself.
How is it for you seeing all the classic songs? Are you wanting to do something more modern in the future?
Jacquie- Singing a classic song on this show I think does the contestants justice, but when I start writing my own music, I'm definitely going to have a more current, pop twist on it. But still with old soul. So it's sort of like mixing the two worlds together. Because I do what I love doing because my generation doesn't really know the older songs, I have a lot of fun having fun with them!
Christina was about the same age you are now when she was launching herself into the music world, is there something specific she has shared with you about what it's like being in the industry so young that you think you will always take with you?
Jacquie- She's shared a lot. She told me that with my age sometimes it's okay not to be happy and perfect all the time. The one awesome piece of advice she gave me as an artist was that sometimes just embracing your sadness and using it to your advantage on the stage and as an artist can really help you get through it and you're going to feel better in the end. So really the stage and my journal are the two places where I write everything out so I sort of get it out, which is why I think I have so much soul on stage because literally I bottle up until I get there. It's like my place. But I'm not cranky all the time, so don't think that! (Laughs) I just like that she understands that- that it's okay not to be perfect. You can't please everyone.
For someone like yourself, this is the first time you have gotten the chance to be in a recording studio, What is it like the first time hearing your song back?
Jacquie- It's weird! The first song I recorded was “Back to Black”, and I wasn't used to hearing myself so clearly on the microphone so it was really awesome when I listened back. It was very cool! Christina actually took me into the studio the other day and she sort of produced a little bit of my song for “Angel”. She gave me all these tips about how to record great and how to get more emotion in there and what she gets to do and it was so cool! When do you ever get to do that?! She was just sitting there giving me her techniques. It was just so cool because I was like I'm going to have that for the rest of my life. I know her technique. It's awesome. I'm so lucky that she took the time to do that because I learned that recording for iTunes and in a studio and on stage are two completely, seperate things.
It seems like you two have really bonded. She has always said during the show how much she connects with you, despite the age difference.
Jacquie- It's really cool. I feel like even when we're on camera, we're not on camera. And when the camera is shut off it's the same. It's really nice to know that everything is genuine. I'm just really happy that it worked out that way because I was so nervous choosing coach. It just started building and building each week and now it's awesome because every piece of advice she gives me is awesome and so valuable because she's been through the whole week and it's so weird knowing that. I couldn't think of a more perfect coach.
What else are you passionate about? If you weren't singing, what do you think you would like to do?
Jacquie- I love songwriting, so maybe just being a writer or maybe going into business school.
If you could go back in time and spend a day in the life of anyone from history, who would it be and why?
Jacquie- I think Marilyn Monroe. I would want to know what would Marilyn Monroe be thinking? I would be really curious to see that. I'm interested!
Keep up with Jacquie Lee on Twitter- @JacquieLeeMusic