A Conversation with Singer/Actress Frenchie Davis: Part One

Frenchie Davis I Kissed A Girl

Frenchie Davis’s stunning cover of “I Kissed A Girl” landed her a spot on Christina Aguilera’s team on the first season of “The Voice.” (Photo by Mark Burnett Productions, Warner Horizon Television & NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

One of the most powerful performers that has ever graced The Voice is singer-actress Frenchie Davis.

The Broadway star’s high-octane performances still remain some of the most memorable moments in the show’s history.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with her for a two-part interview.

Jacob Elyachar: How did you get interested in music?

Frenchie Davis:  When I was growing up, my favorite movies were musicals.  I just remember coming home from school everyday and popping into my VHS player Annie or Little Shop of Horrors and I would watch that or sing along to it while I was doing my homework.   I loved music for as long as I can remember and I always loved to sing but it did not click for me until I was 12-years-old.

JE: Who are your musical influences?

FD: I have a lot of them but if I had to narrow down the list, it would be Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha, Whitney, Sylvester, Freddie Mercury and Grace Jones.

JE: Let’s talk about your time on the Voice. Why did you want to audition for the show in the first place?

FD: Originally, I didn’t want to audition.   I was performing at a nightclub in West Hollywood and the casting director for the Voice was in the audience that night having drinks and after the show, she approached me and we talked and she mentioned that she was casting this new show called The Voice and thought it would be very good for me and stated that I should consider auditioning for it.

Of course, I was apprehensive at first and I was not sure that I wanted to relive the whole Reality TV singing competition thing but she let me know it was all about the voice and it would not be fluff.   She really sold me when she told me that we would be auditioning without the judges being able to see us and we would be selected solely based on our vocal ability.

I thought that they were doing something different, and I don’t believe in walking away from any opportunity that presents itself because sometimes, you have to take chances and if it seems crazy, you just have to do it and it is all a part of your journey.  After soul-searching on it for about a month, I decided to audition and I am very glad that I did.

JE: Your cover of “I Kissed A Girl” was one of my favorite Blind Auditions from the first season.  Why did you choose to sing that song?

FD: We were not allowed to choose our audition songs.  The producers chose our songs and they chose “I Kissed A Girl” for me and I was excited to do it because I knew it was so unlike any song that I would have probably chosen myself and I thought: “This competition is about the voice and this is what the producers want me to sing and I can prove to them that I can sing whatever they throw at me.”

JE: What was your reaction when you saw that Christina Aguilera wanted you to join her team?

FD: You saw my reaction; I think I jumped for joy towards the end of the song. (Laughs) I was really excited to work with Christina because she has had so much success in pop music and she is a very soulful singer with a powerful voice.  I think that you can count on one hand the number of big voiced divas who have been successful in pop music and Christina is one of them.  I was really excited to have the opportunity to learn from her and gained a new perspective on how you channel a big voice and how you make that appropriate for singing pop music.  I really learned a lot working with her.

JE: In order to stay on Christina’s team, you had to prove yourself in the show’s first Battle Rounds.  In your battle round, you performed against Tarralyn Ramsey in a vocal duel of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” What was it like receiving advice from not only Christina but also her guest mentor: Sia?

FD: First of all, I love Sia.  She’s just amazing and I was really excited to work with Sia as well because she has this great voice and is this powerhouse from out of nowhere.  When you listen to her sing, you sing along and it is not until you start singing along, you start to realize that she is hitting these high notes and I love that aspect of her voice.

The whole battle round process was really nerve-racking because Tarralyn and I were the only black girls on the show and it made me sad that we had to battle one another.  She is a great vocalist and I was a fan of hers when she competed on VH1’s Born to Diva and I would have loved to see her advance further in the competition.   It was kind of bittersweet because I thought that we both wanted it and we did not really wanted to battle each other because of the mutual respect that we had of one another and it was a little bit nerve-racking. (Laughs)

 

Team Christina Lady Marmalade The Voice Christina Aguilera Frenchie Davis Beverle

Frenchie Davis and her fellow “Voice” contestants: Beverly McClellan, Lily Elise and Raquel Castro help their mentor: Christina Aguilera bring the house down with their cover of their mentor’s hit: “Lady Marmalade.” (Photo property of Mark Burnett Productions, Warner Horizon Television and NBC)

JE: You received one of Team Christina’s coveted spots in the Live Shows.  One of the first performances of the live shows was Team Christina’s performance of “Lady Marmalade.” Could you please talk about that performance?

FD:  We rehearsed it at least once. For a reality T.V. show, we (the contestants) do not know what is going to happen and they (the producers) do that for the element of shock and surprise.   While I was on the show, the producers told us to be at a place at a certain time and they would tell us what was going to happen.   When we arrived at that rehearsal, we saw Christina and the band and also saw sheet music for “Lady Marmalade” and all four of us were like: “Holy crap! Are we about to sing “Lady Marmalade” with Christina Aguilera? Is this happening?” (Laughs)

Lily Elise, who was also on Team Christina at the time, was on the verge of tears because when she realized that she was going to sing with her idol.   It was a surreal moment for all of us but for both Beverly (McClellan) and I, we have been doing this forever and it was a moment where we realized that we were not fools to continue to pursue this and we were meant to perform.

Beverly and I knew each other before The Voice. (JE: Really?) Beverly opened up for me when I performed for Gay Pride in West Palm Beach, Florida and nobody looks like Beverly or me, so of course when we saw each other: “Girl, I know you!”  Beverly has put out five albums independently and pursued this for a long time.   Being able to share the stage with Christina Aguilera, who we both respect, was surreal and amazing.

To connect with Frenchie, you can visit her website: http://www.frenchiedavis.org/

For more information about the Voice, click here: http://www.nbc.com/the-voice/

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  1. […] not audition for The Voice. When I interviewed the lovely and talented Ms. Frenchie Davis back in November 2012, she was very apprehensive about going back on Reality TV. But, thanks to a producer who stated […]

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