America voted, and The Voice winner has been chosen. The man with "The Voice" is 33-year-old family man Jermaine Paul from Team Blake Shelton. Before the show, Jermaine sang background for Alicia Keys. Now, he is clearly in the foreground. The sleep-deprived singer (he's been awake since last night's finale) checked in with USA TODAY the morning after winning the grand prize on NBC's singing competition, a record deal.
Have you talked to Alicia Keys since winning?
She called me last night after they announced that I was the winner, when credits were rolling down. She was just screaming. (Going solo) is a step she's been kinda pushing me to take.
Has she influenced you?
One thing I learned about being on road with Alicia is that some nights she didn't have much voice at all. She let her emotions do the work. I want to have emotional songs like that.
Why did you decide to go on the show?
The thing about The Voice, it has so much integrity when it comes to the craft. For me, this wasn't just a chance to be on TV or a game show. This was real life. My wife and my daughter, they were very instrumental in telling me to try out. There was a gentleman from my chuch who tried out last year and told me to do it.
Before winning, host Carson Daly asked you what being The Voice champion would mean to you, and you got pretty choked up. Did you have something prepared to say, but got stuck in the moment?
We did a dress rehearsal that day and he asked me in the dress rehearsal what I ate for lunch. My answer was a cobb salad. I wasn't really thinking about what he would ask (on the live show). The emotions really get the best of you.
Before you won, how did you finish this sentence: "If I win The Voice I will..."
It all boils down to buying a house. We've been moving so much throughout the years and have talked so much about buying our house (in New York). I said "If I win," or "If I ever bump into a bunch of money" that would be (a priority).
Have you considered moving to L.A.?
I'm hearing L.A.'s where the money is, where the opportunity is. It all depends if things kinda align that way. If (my career) calls for it, definitely.
What can you reveal about your upcoming album?
Listen back to the songs I did this season-Livin' on a Prayer, Open Arms, Against All Odds, I Believe I can Fly- those are the ones that hit home. The album is gonna be filled with songs that hit home.
You used to sing backup, so have you thought about who will sing backup on your album?
I've got a lot of brothers and sisters. We grew up singing together as kids, but I'm the only one that stuck with it. I'm the only dingbat that didn't go to college and tried to make music.