EXCLUSIVE: RaeLynn Off The Voice, On Target For Country Career
The Voice rolls on without RaeLynn. But don’t waste a second worrying about the spunky 17-year-old. She may be off the show, but she’s well on her way to a career in country.
The native of Baytown, Texas reached the quarterfinals before being eliminated at the end of last week’s results show. America voted to save Jermaine Paul, which forced her and Erin Willett to sing for Team Blake’s remaining spot in the semi-finals. RaeLynn’s version of “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry was sweet, but not sweet enough. In the end, coach Blake Shelton made the tough (and for many, unexpected) call of cutting the country singer.
During her time on The Voice, RaeLynn was called everything from country cutie to heartbreaker to badass. Whatever you call her, don’t call her done. Elimination doesn’t mark the end for RaeLynn. Instead, it signals the start of her next step. From what we’re learned about RaeLynn, expect that step to be a big one. She’s a spitfire who won’t be stopped.
In the following interview, we talked about the elimination, how she faced the music afterwards in the press room, handling the haters, a special “taste” of home and what lies ahead.
Naturally, you hoped America had advanced you to the next round. What were you thinking when they said Jermaine had been saved?
When they said Jermaine I started thinking about my “sudden song” and how it went. I actually wasn’t really surprised because Jermaine did a really good job on that song (“Against All Odds” by Phil Collins) and I think he deserved it. In the end it’s a TV show and you never know if you’ll make it to the next level.
Then you and Erin had to sing for a spot in the semis. She went first and got the crowd into it with a powerful performance of “Proud Mary.” Were you able to see or hear her singing and, if so, did it add even more pressure knowing you really had to nail it?
When I found out she was doing “Proud Mary,” which is a really loud song, I was like, “Oh, crap!’ I was singing “If I Die Young” which is so different. But that’s the song they gave me and I stuck to my guns.
I’ve never really sang a sweet country song on television, except for “Free Fallin’,” but that wasn’t a country song, it was a rock song. It was kinda cool to sing “If I Die Young” and end with that.
In the end, when Blake said he’s going with Erin, you initially smiled for her then it was tears for you. Tell us about the emotions of being eliminated.
When he said Erin I smiled because I really do care a lot about her and I was happy for her. But then right when I smiled I realized I was goin’ home. Then I just started bawling.
It’s hard because I’ve been in this process for about six months and you get used to this lifestyle and being with all of these people 24/7 and then you go home. It’s hard. It’s very hard.
I’m guessing immediately after the show, calls, emails, texts and tweets of support came pouring in. Did that help ease the pain of elimination?
It did! I got tons of calls from people. I think I gained 6,000 Twitter followers that night. It was crazy! People were goin’ crazy! It was cool to see that.
People were getting upset with Blake. Nobody needs to get upset with Blake. He has to do what he has to do in the competition. He knows what he needs to take to the semi-finals. In the end I guess I wasn’t what he needed and that’s fine.
Him and Miranda are great people and they’re still really involved in my career and that’s all I could ask for.
The country community has really embraced you, but none more so that your idol, Miranda Lambert. What advice and encouragement did she offer you after your elimination?
Right when I got eliminated she called me. I really didn’t want to do my press interviews, but she said, “No, girl. You’re gonna go out there and you’re gonna suck it up. You’re gonna go be the badass that you are and do your interviews.” She said, “This is not the end for you. This is only the beginning. You’re going to keep your head up and go do those interviews.” She said this is just the beginning of everything.
I said, “You’re exactly right!” So I went in there and every time I was about to cry I would talk about Justin Bieber and me touching his face! (Laughs) I was like, “Oh, my God! Did you know I touched Justin Bieber’s face?” It was really funny! (Laughs)
But it meant a lot to me that she told me that. She was like, “You’re something new that country needs and you’ve just gotta stick to that.” She said her and Blake will always be there for me. Knowing that is amazing!
You keep gaining more Facebook friends and followers on Twitter. Team RaeLynn is still gaining steam!
I know! I’m gaining daily! I’m still getting lots of followers! It’s amazing. It’s cool.
I don’t know what your Facebook and Twitter numbers were like before The Voice, but they certainly weren’t anything like they are now (nearly 17,000 on Facebook and more than 50,000 on Twitter). What’s it like to have a following?
When I first started the show, I had 300 followers before my blind audition aired. When my blind audition aired I went from 300 to 10,000. It’s crazy how it all works – that one glimpse on television will get you that many followers.
It’s crazy to have followers but that’ll listen to you. When you post something, they retweet it. I used to never tweet until I got a lot of followers. When I had 300 followers I tweeted like once every six months because it wasn’t fun. But now it’s lots of fun because everybody retweets everything and talks to you and all kinds of stuff.
Let’s talk for a moment about your detractors. You were the polarizing performer on The Voice. People either loved you or hated you. How did you handle the haters?
Someone started something on Twitter called “Haters for RaeLynn” and I retweeted them and said, “Hey, guys! Somebody actually took the time to make me a hate page! Y’all go check it out!” I told them to check it out and like 500 people spammed them and it got deleted!
I don’t do it to all of the naysayers, but a couple of them I retweeted and said, “Hey, guys! Go check ‘em out!” Then my fans will go blow up their Twitter. It’s the funniest thing ever!
You know who taught me to do that was Blake. Blake doesn’t give a crap. If anybody’s mean to him he’ll retweet ‘em and say something back. So that’s what I’ve been doing.
So stand your ground and don’t back down?
One thing that Miranda told me is that you never want to be a lukewarm artist. You want to be hot or cold. You want people to either love you or hate you. If they just think you’re good, then there’s nothing really special about you. It’s good to have people who either love you or hate you. I think that’s true.
Back on the positive side of things, I hope you know that in your time on The Voice, you brought happiness and joy to so many people. Do you now have a better understanding just how impactful performers can be?
It’s pretty crazy. I’ve had so many people tweet me and tell me that I inspire them. But my favorite tweets were when people said they never listened to country music until they heard me sing. Tweets like that just made my day! And comments like that made my day!
Country music’s amazing. To make people who weren’t fans of country music, fans of country music is really special.
From your time on The Voice, it’s almost like you’ve become country music’s “it girl.”
(Laughs) I hope I’ve become country music’s “it girl.” That would be freakin’ awesome! That’s what I want to become! (Laughs)
I don’t know…We’ll see how the rest of this year goes and see what God has planned and pray that it works for the better. I’m just thankful that I made it to the Top 12. I know that Blake has something that he’s thinking about doing and Miranda…I don’t know what their plans are. I’m just goin’ along for the ride!
So many people wish you were still on the show, but it seems like you missed being at home. How nice is it to be back with your family and friends?
It’s so nice to be back home and be rejuvenated and hang out with everybody; all of my friends. It’s just good to be home.
It’s good to be back in reality. Because you’re in California and you have people giving you money every day for food and you have them doing your hair and makeup for the show and people doing wardrobe. It’s an amazing experience, but when you come home it’s back to taking out the trash and hanging out with your family.
My Mom doesn’t care. She’ll make me take out the trash and wash the dishes. Actually, since I was on The Voice, she assigned me to do more chores to keep me more grounded! (Laughs) It’s important to stay grounded and that’s what I love about being at home. You get right back into reality, you know?
What’s the first thing you did when you got home?
You really want to know? I went and ate wings! (Laughs) I think I talk about wings more than I talk about singing! I love food! (Laughs)
But you’re not home to retire – you’re home to recharge. What’s next for RaeLynn?
Well, I’m still workin’ on my music. I’m going to be goin’ to Nashville in a week or two. I’m gonna finish writing and try to get songs together for an EP or an album. And talk with different people and all kinds of stuff. It’s gonna be awesome!
What would you like to say about your experience on The Voice, the fans who got you to the quarterfinals and the ones who will keep following you in the future?
I just want to say that The Voice has been such an amazing show. I’ve dreamed of meeting Miranda and Blake my whole life and being mentored by them. Now they’re taking me under their wings and that’s so awesome! I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the show.
I just want to say thank you to all of my fans and friends and family and everybody who has supported me on the show and supports me now. It’s going to be a great year for everybody. I’m so excited to see what God has planned. It’s going to be really magical!