Jordan Rager is the only male country singer on Team Blake Shelton on this year’s season of The Voice. The high school senior is dedicated to his career dream of being a country singer, already with one demo tape out and working on a second one this year. He was in Nashville when his mom called him to let him know he earned an audition for The Voice – which she had entered his name into. Although his fellow classmates don’t treat him any differently, and his teachers Fed Ex’d him his homework while he was in Hollywood, the fans have – his Twitter page jumped from around 100 followers to over 5,000 since his Blind Audition aired on NBC.
Jordan discusses why he auditioned for The Voice, what his dream is after high school, what kind of a person Blake Shelton really is, what’s the reason for him loving music, and why he was disappointed over Kelly Clarkson. Read our exclusive interview with Jordan below and be sure to follow our coverage of The Voice through the rest of the season.
So how did you become interested in The Voice?
I watched a little bit of it last season. The idea that caught me was the Blind Audition. The idea that everybody gets judged based on their voice – age doesn’t matter, looks don’t matter – the only thing that matters is how you sound and I love the idea of that. Whereas in some other shows, it might be “well, you sing good but you don’t have the look.”
Was it anybody’s idea to have you try out, or was it your own?
Well, we had a lot of people tell me “you should try out for The Voice, dude, you should try out.” So finally, my Mom was sitting around at home one day and thought she’d give it a shot. She put my name on NBC.com to see if they would pick me. I was in Nashville cutting a demo CD when me and my Dad were on our way back through Chattanooga when Mom called saying “hey, you got an audition with The Voice.” I was like, “Really?”. She goes “yeah, I put your name in to see if they’d like you and they gave you an audition.” I was like “okay, cool!”.
So you said you have your demo CD? Is it out or are you still working on it?
No, it’s already out. It’s released. We’re actually about to run out of them, so we’re planning on cutting another one this year.
Any idea when we can expect it?
Not right now because we’re still in the process of hammering all the songs out, me and my band. We still have to get some studio time set up, so we don’t have any set time right now.
What was it like working with Blake and Miranda Lambert to prepare for the Battle Rounds?
Working with Blake and Miranda was really cool. They’re just two really genuine and real people, and they genuinely care for the people on the team. It wasn’t like, you know, where some coaches might be like “do this!” and then they have no hope. They understood. If you messed up they would start over again and they made sure that you understood. It was a great experience.
Did you get to work with Kelly Clarkson too, or did they divide her and Miranda up?
They divided them up. There was six people with Kelly and six people with Miranda.
Did you at least get to meet Kelly?
No, I didn’t get to meet Kelly Clarkson. I was a little disappointed.
How did you prepare for the Battle Rounds?
Preparing for the Battle Rounds I went in with the mindset of I don’t care, you know, if I lose, if you lose, if I win or the other person wins. I just wanted to go out there and give the best possible show I could because I didn’t want Blake to be like, oh you definitely won. I wanted it to make it hard on the coaches. That’s really the only mindset I had going into it.
If you could record any song on the radio right now, which song would it be?
Oh man that’s hard. My favorite song that’s on the radio right now, it just hit radio, it would either be “Something To Do With My Hands” by Thomas Rhett Akins, or, “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” by Brantley Gilbert.
I see your style now.
(laughs) Those two are probably my favorite two songs out on radio right now.
If you could tour with any artist, who would it be?
Oh man you’re making it hard on me. I don’t know… touring with Eric Church would be really cool, or touring with Jason Aldean. It seems like those two would be a lot of fun. Brantley or Thomas would be really cool too.. but I think I’d pick Alan Jackson. Alan Jackson is the reason I’m in music and why I play music. Ever since I was little he’s been my biggest influence. If I had the choice with anybody in the world I’d go with AJ.
If you could pick one of the other coaches to work with, who would it be?
I’d probably pick Adam, Team Adam. My music is kind of like country with a southern rock or country-rock edge to it. I think me and Adam would go together really good if me and him got to work together. Somewhat similar styles; we both love rock and roll. We’ve both got that edge to it. I’d go with Adam.
Now are you still in high school right now or are you in college?
Yes ma’am. I’m in high school, I’m a senior in high school.
What do you think you’re going to do after high school?
My plan after high school is to follow music full-force. My dream is to make a career out of it, so I’m hoping that once high school’s over that I can do that.
Now is there anybody from your team that you’re in contact with still?
I keep in touch with mostly everybody that’s on the show right now. Chris and Pip are on Team Adam, and Sera is on Team Christina. We’re gonna have a little meet-and-greet this weekend because we’re all from the Atlanta-area. Adley Stump, the girl who got the last spot on Team Blake on Monday, she was in Nashville about two or three weeks ago so I was writing with her. Brian Fuente… yeah, I keep in touch with everyone.
So you guys are a pretty close bunch?
Oh yeah. When they have you out for the show they kind of get you to stay in the hotel, “don’t talk to anybody, don’t answer any questions, just stay with everybody.” So while we’re filming the show you really have quality time to hang out with people and we’ve really become like a family.
Are you in contact with Blake still or is it all on the show?
I haven’t talked to him in a while, but we would talk to him just about everyday when we were on the show. I haven’t talked to him a whole lot since I came back from L.A. last time.
How nervous were you when you got on-stage in front of all four coaches?
I was walking around backstage pacing back-and-forth just as nervous as could be. I was trying to talk myself down and tell myself that this is just another show. I was so worried, then I stepped on-stage and that all went away. It was just like I was playing another show in my home town.
So was it more excitement when you were out there then?
Oh it definitely turned into excitement just because I had the chance to work with four of the biggest people in music today. That shot just fueled me out there to go out there and do my best, and so I went out there to do it.
So for the fans who aren’t quite familiar with you yet, how would you describe yourself as an artist?
I’m definitely country. Country music is where my heart and soul is at. I love traditional stuff, and I love the outlaws of the 80′s. Like I said, Alan Jackson is a huge, huge influence of mine; but I also have influences in rock music. Southern rock, like rock n’ roll, like Guns N’ Roses kind of stuff. It’s kind of like country with a rock edge.
Is your demo tape available for fans?
It’s available to buy. You can get two of my singles from the demo tape on iTunes [HERE]. You can go listen to the stuff – I’m all over YouTube, and there’s a website called ReverbNation. Go to Reverbnation.com/jordanrager. It’s got every one of my songs on there.
How hard was it keeping your audition a secret from everyone?
It was eating me alive. When we went back home after filming The Blind Auditions; I was so excited about making Team Blake which was three months before they even had a date for airing the show; but I had to keep my mouth shut. The only people who knew anything were my Mom and Dad and they were out there with me. It was really hard because I had all this built-up excitement that I wanted to tell people but I couldn’t tell people anything about it. It was really hard. I would find myself slipping up and almost telling people and would have to bite my tongue.
Do people treat you differently at school?
You know, that was one thing that I was worried about going home. I was worried people were going to start treating me like a celebrity, like I was famous or something, but they really haven’t. You know, my school is really supportive of my music and so are my friends and family. When I go out to shows I’m the kid that’s on The Voice that’s on Team Blake, but when I come home and I’m around my friends and family it’s like just me. It’s the same I’ve always been. It’s like I’m a regular kid.
Are you teachers going to let you have extensions?
When we were in L.A. they would e-mail me my work. I’d get it done and Fed Ex it back to them. I was hoping to maybe, “hey, I’m in L.A. want to give me a free pass?”, but they were like “no, we’ll just send it to you.”
Is there anything else you wanted to say?
Yes, thank you to everyone who’s watched the show so far. Thank you to anybody who’s found my Facebook and Twitter, and all the folks who have supported me all along. I’m so appreciative of it and I wouldn’t be where I am right now without them.
I guess your Twitter kind of blew up, didn’t it?
Oh yeah. The night of the Blind Audition I had 107 followers on Twitter… then once my audition aired it shot up by a 1,000 in an hour. I think I’ve got like 5,000 right now, something around there.
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Tune in to The Voice Monday at 8 pm EST on NBC to find out if Jordan makes it to the live round!