It's been two years since Nathan Parrett found a national audience on The Voice, and it's time to move on. At least, the talented singer-performer has, landing a leading role in the upcoming Los Angeles production of the rock musical Bare. Nathan recently checked in with BFTV on Friday to chat about the play, and candidly reflect on his time as part of a TV phenomenon.
"It's a really, really important show and we have an amazing cast," Nathan said of the Bare revival, which also includes Payson Lewis (The Sing-Off), Jonah Platt (The Office), Lindsay Pearce (Glee, The Glee Project), Katie Stevens (MTV's upcoming Faking It), and a host of other talented young artists. "The play is based in a Catholic boarding school setting, and there are two main guys that happen to be in love with each other. I happen to be sort of straight guy number one; I'm playing Matt [and] Matt essentially outs them. It's been a different experience, and I'm really excited about it."
The production marks the first time Bare has returned to Los Angeles since it originated there thirteen years ago. It's also particularly poignant as co-writer Damon Intrabartolo passed away on August 13. The Los Angeles run will be dedicated in his memory.
This isn't the first time Nathan has taken to the stage recently; he additionally participated in a limited engagement of Spring Awakening and was part of theatre well before he was on The Voice. Acting is as large a part of his life as music. "I'm just a lover of the arts," he reflected. "And the feeling that I get from being on stage, doing these musical theater shows, it's right up there with being on stage singing my own material. It's just another art form that I really enjoy. And it's really how I started. I would never have had the guts to get up and sing alone if I hadn't been involved in theater."
Nathan also continues to further himself as a musical artist. Late last week, he and his fellow Voice teammate Pip released another YouTube video, this one seizing on the popular comparisons between Katy Perry's "Roar" and Sara Bareilles' "Brave." The fun, playful clip takes the contest a step further, with Pip and Nathan trying to one-up each other for the audience's attention. It does well by the original songs and then some, with a charm all its own.
Although many of his fellow competitors have put out fresh material since the show, Nathan is taking his time and exploring a new aspect of creating music. "I'm writing a lot of sort of folky singer-songwriter, a little bit heavier, moodier stuff. I'm just writing and writing," he explained. "Songwriting hasn't always been part of my life; I grew up writing a lot of poetry. But now, for me, it's about writing a hundred songs and one of them being a gem. I'm getting my footing as a songwriter, and kind of seeking producers. I need to start bringing these songs to fruition. I'm thinking over the next quarter of this year, I'll be putting out some of my originals."
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Nathan's story post-national headlines, though, is the personal journey he's undertaken. While by no means ungrateful for the brief period he spent on a top-rated TV show, he's also been brutally honest about how the experience did not match what he thought it would be. He's not afraid to admit his own culpability in that, either.
"I think that there was a part of me, because of what I saw happening before my eyes, with sort of this limit in exposure and what I thought was going to happen to me with The Voice, as soon as I saw the situation slipping from my grip I feel like I kind of went a little crazy," he confessed. "I was really disappointed about the outcome, and I sort of felt a little bit out of control. I think that it drove me a little nuts for awhile. I'm really thankful to [have] kind of chilled out."
"The Voice happened and I've realized maybe how small my role was in that, and instead of dwelling on it it's kind of on to the next," he continued. "That really was my moment there. Whatever it was I have to take it and use it and move on. I have to allow somebody else to have their moment. I lived that experience, no matter how small or big it was. Don't dwell in the past."
That unflinching honesty has earned Nathan some negative attention, as he admitted that he's taken some flak from Voice fans for his comments. "I have to a small degree," he said. "Right after I got kicked off [the show], there was one incident where I was kind of a little too honest about one of the contestants, and I kind of got [stuff] about that."
"I'm consistent when it comes to being honest and I guess maybe sometimes [to] a fault," he continued. "I just don't have any reason to sugarcoat anything, I guess. I think that people in the public will appreciate honesty over a facade any day and they'll see through a facade any day."
The comments perfectly encapsulate what makes him a unique voice in a crowded landscape of aspiring artists. While America may not have found the next big music superstar in Nathan Parrett, what we did uncover was someone with the courage of his convictions, ready to speak his truth even if it wasn't necessarily what we wanted to hear. He wasn't afraid to put his hand up and say that certain things weren't everything they were cracked up to be, regardless of if that made him the bad guy. Count him as one of the rare people who stands behind what he says.
Yet Nathan has always quantified those statements by pointing out that they are exclusive to his experience. He's happy for the friends and colleagues who found greater success on The Voice than he did. And now that reality TV is far behind him, hindsight has made him able to admit that he's an artist so passionate that sometimes it gets the better of him, and say that he's going to look forward, not behind.
"I am at peace with where I am," Nathan reflected. "I always have a goal in sight. I will always have a goal in sight. That doesn't mean I'll never be content. I'm very happy with my life. I love the people around me and I love singing, no matter what scale. This last year I've really found happiness in the small things. I have big, big goals, but I'm going to be happy regardless."