Will Champlin blew us away in season five of The Voice, climbing all the way to the finals. Then he came back in season six in a big way, with his techno-rock single "Eye of the Pyramid." Now, Will is one of the headliners of The Voice Tour, the first time the Emmy-winning show has put together a live performance schedule since its first season. He joined us during a break on Friday to talk about what fans can expect when the tour arrives in San Diego this Sunday, and to dish on his new album, Borrowing Trouble.
The Voice Tour has been winning over audiences nationwide, with its eclectic lineup of season five's finalists (Tessanne Chin, Jacquie Lee, and Will), a stalwart from season one (Dia Frampton), and season six's finalists plus two fan favorites (Josh Kaufman, Christina Grimmie, Jake Worthington, Kristen Merlin, and Jake Barker). Which stops have gotten high marks from Will? He enjoyed Chicago, and he's also looking forward to another Southern California performance.
"We've had some really great highlights," he told us. "I'm really pumped for Los Angeles. My own hometown that I grew up in. It's also probably going to be one of the biggest crowds, at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live."
San Diego's a special stop, too, because Sunday's show will feature season two finalist Chris Mann in his one and only appearance on the tour. Will's looking forward to sharing the stage with him. "I met Chris durng our semifinals, when The Swon Brothers, Danielle Bradbery, and Cassadee Pope came to perform. And Michelle Chamuel, of course, also," he said. "Chris was there. I got to meet him, too. He's great. We know a lot of the same people - a lot of the same songwriters, a lot of the same producers."
What can fans expect from this Voice tour? It's not that different from the original tour - yes, the artists perform some of their covers from the show, but there are also chances to hear some of their own music. Will told us a little bit about how the tour came together and what made the cut.
"They already kind of had a set list," he said. "We already pre-decided early on, in the rehearsals in [first tour stop] San Antonio, what songs were going to be done. Little changes do happen."
"I do some of the covers from the show," Will added. "They do pick some songs we didn't do, like group numbers and stuff. I did one duet with Christina Grimmie; I didn't do that on the show.
"I'm playing one of the covers I did for the show, and then there's a season five medley with me, Jacquie and Tessanne. It's actually all original songs," he continued. "Josh [Kaufman] gets done with one of his covers from the show, he introduces us and then I perform 'Eye of the Pyramid' from my album. And then Jacquie does her single ['Broken Ones'] and Tessanne does a song off her album."
Speaking of albums, Will's record Borrowing Trouble released at the end of June, giving audiences a chance to hear the techno-inspired sound that he didn't really get to show when he was on The Voice. "It's on iTunes and Amazon, and soon to possibly be in FYE outlets," he told us. "It's twelve songs; 'Eye of the Pyramid's' the first song. It's an interesting mix of electronic and Americana." And the title track, "Borrowing Trouble," is already being sent to radio.
Never one to sit on his laurels, this talented singer-songwriter is already hatching a plan for what to do once The Voice Tour comes to an end. He's planning to continue on the road. "We've got a lot of things set up with the college circuit. I have a bunch of schools I'm about to play," he said. Tour dates and locations will be updated on his website once The Voice Tour comes to an end; check the end of this article to find out how you can keep up with Will.
Right now, though, Will is loving the opportunity to join his fellow Voice alums on the road. "It's been a great tour," he enthused. "We've still got a ways to go. We've still got a good, solid couple of weeks. I'm going to make the best out of the twelve more shows. And a lot of it's reaching out to the fans that aren't as familiar with the season I was on, and me as an artist."
From the moment he stepped onto The Voice stage, Will was one of the show's most underappreciated singers, with a strong and atypical vision for the artist he wanted to be. Over the course of the competition, we watched him hone his craft and become an even better performer. Now with The Voice Tour, he has a chance to shine again - and show the nation that he's an artist who needs to be heard. Don't miss your opportunity to see him live.
To find out where you can still catch Will on The Voice Tour, visit nbcthevoicetour.com. Will's album Borrowing Trouble is now available on iTunes; make sure you also visit his website (willchamplin.com) and follow him on Twitter (@willchamplin).