The Voice's Bryan Keith on Channeling Amy Winehouse, Dueting With De'Borah and More

bryan keith the voiceHis dad may be a Grammy-winning Latin artist, but Bryan Keith was determined to forge his own path in the music business. “For the last few years, I’ve been busting my ass working at a deli and playing at bars and clubs in Manhattan and the Bronx for lame pay,” he explains.

When Bryan decided to go the reality competition route, he says he gravitated to The Voice because there’s a “realness” that comes from the show’s coaches needing to make all their initial decisions on vocals alone.

TVLine caught up with Bryan to dish how he felt about falling short of the Season 3 Top 8, why his Amy Winehouse cover was his favorite moment on the show, and who among his ousted Voice comrades he’s hoping to snag for a duet.

TVLINE | I was a little surprised you got eliminated after Top 10 performance night. You’d been really consistent all season, and I felt like “New York State of Mind” was a really good performance.
It was a surprise to me too, man. I felt that I should have stayed. I did everything right and instead I’m going home, and it kind of doesn’t make sense.

TVLINE | You had something of a split personality, musically speaking, during your run on the show: One half rocker, one half smooth crooner. Could that have hurt you in terms of building a voting base?
It’s kind of lame to expect an artist to be a one-trick pony. People ask me questions about what bands I like, and I respond with the Deftones or Glassjaw or Metallica, and then they hear me do an Amy Winehouse song that I love just as much. It’s all about the passion. I’m glad I got to show more than one side. I don’t think it harmed me at all.

TVLINE | Speaking of showing versatility, you broke out Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do (I Do It for You)” during the Knockout Rounds, which was somewhat unexpected. Ultimately, the judges seemed impressed across the board when you hit that big glory note. Tell me why you chose that ballad, and how you felt it played out.
I grew up listening to that song with my brother, and I just wanted to pull people into that world that may have never given a chance to that genre of music. I wanted to be an advocate for those classic rock ballads, and I’m just happy that it worked out and I was able to hit that note and get very positive feedback from the coaches, you know? A lot of contestants were scared of Christina for example, but she always had something good to say about me and I was surprised because I’m not a clean singer. I have that grit and that gravel, but she was able to feel me.

TVLINE | Was there any week you had to cover a song you weren’t excited about?
For my Blind Audition, Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain” was on a ranked list I’d turned it, but it wasn’t anywhere close to the No. 1 spot. When [the producers] ran the idea past me, I didn’t want to be a pain in the ass, so I kind of was like, “Let me just go with it and see if I can put my twist on it and make it sound like I wrote it.” Thankfully I had enough time with it, and I was able to get four chairs to turn.

TVLINE | Speaking of making something your own, walk us through your big band-esque rendition of “Back to Black,” which has to rank as your big moment on the show.
That was a song I used to sing at karaoke bars, and I always had a laid back approach to it. For [Top 12 week], I was like, “Let me really milk it and put some real oomph into it.” I wanted to stay in her key and push it and make it sound really powerful, while still keeping the integrity of the song. It was my tribute to Amy Winehouse in a way, because she was an artist who left us way too early. It just made sense, man. It felt really good. That was probably my favorite moment on the show.

TVLINE | You didn’t change the pronoun: “You’ll go back to her,” which I found interesting.
I didn’t really get much of a chance to explain to people on the show about my approach to that song. It’s like on most of the verses I was actually picturing talking to her, and then the chorus was her in me, her singing through me, and that’s what made it so powerful for me. It was the most connected I’ve been to a song this whole time.

TVLINE | Obviously the show is called The Voice, but being a reality show, other factors play into it as well. Personality wise, you came across very laid back, and definitely not the type who played to the camera with crazy sound bites or sad stories. Did you have a strategy for how to present yourself on camera during non-singing moments?
Sometimes [the producers] would try to dig for certain things, and it’s not that I had to make anything up, but I just felt like that’s not what I was there for. I know I should have had more participation in those interviews and quirky segments, but I just couldn’t help but be more passionate about going out there and singing my songs. Even right now on the phone with you, we’re just talking. I’m not trying to win over people, you know?

TVLINE | So what’s next for you?
As soon as I get home, I’m going to get my act together and hang out with my family, and then right after hit the studio and continue where I left off making music. I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration being out here from all the artists on the show. It’s insane the amount of talent that was here and that’s still here, the number of people who left that never got the opportunity to really show who they are including De’borah and Julio [Cesar Castillo]. I want to link up with a lot of the New Yorkers that got bumped off early on in the competition. I just want to have fun with the music again; I feel like I’m better than ever since leaving the show.

TVLINE | I strongly advocate a De’borah duet. I think you guys would sound amazing together.
Awesome man. I’ll run that by her. That’d be great.

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22 Comments
  1. Alex says:

    Where’s Reality Check? Did it take a week off for Thanksgiving?

  2. gailer says:

    Bryan Keith was my fave, and Back to Black was my favorite song ever on the Voice. Good luck to him!

  3. Marianne says:

    I liked Bryan, initially. His answers to Michael’s first 2 questions make him sound a bit of a jerk, imo.

    • FreeHaley says:

      I don’t see it that way. And at least you know he isn’t fake. Why not just be straight up and direct? Believe me there is something to be said for that. I’ve been in parts of the country where that is common and in parts where people tend to more put a polite front on everything and the latter actually isn’t necessarily as a good thing as it seems at first. If you don’t think like that you’ll never make it anyway. And I think a majority did agree that it was a bit of a surprise and were in tune with him.

      And I’m sort of with him on point #2. I know sometimes people say you have to decided to be just exactly this or that but I don’t know, sometimes the ability to and to actually do both this AND that isn’t such a bad thing.

  4. k. says:

    I love him. He deserved to stay. Wish him the best!

  5. Beth says:

    I can’t believe that he went home and Cody stayed! Brian has raw talent and I love his vo

  6. Scrubby says:

    Bryan was by far my favorite singer in the competition, his grit and his voice were amazing im so sad to see him go! Dude, if u r reading this, i will buy whatever you come up with..i love uuu

  7. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    He deserved to go home. The voice gets you on the show, but once you move into these rounds only your appeal can keep you there. Obviously not enough people were interested in a guy that had the SAME look night in and night out with the silly hat and the arrogant “I’m just better than everyone else” mentality. Which by the way you can plainly see in this interview. There is a difference between having a strong self image and just coming across as arrogant. I kinda wondered if he had to wear the hat constantly because he is balding. Never saw a scene without it to know for sure. I suggest he hit the gym and lose 40 pounds and get a stylist if he ever wants to make it. And take De’borah to that same stylist. The nerd (or hipster if you want) in highwater pants look isn’t working either.

    • A. says:

      Music isn’t about the looks. It’s about storytelling, rythm, lyrics and singing. It’s music, not a fashion or style show.

    • Andrea says:

      Wow… Bryan is an amazing vocalist and didn’t want to win using strategies the other artists may use because if he won, he’d have to either keep up the act or drop it. He stayed true to himself and the music and that’s why his fanbase will continue to grow.

  8. mia says:

    He really grew on my over the course of the season; I loved his calm swagger and classic sexiness he put into every performance. Definitely an artist I’ll keep an eye out for.

  9. dj says:

    I thought he should have stayed a lot longer than he did. Sometimes I wish they would change The Voice so that none of us would see the contestants until somebody won, because the best singers leave too early. Thank God Amanda and Nicholas are still there.

  10. RainDance says:

    I loved him right from the start during the Blind Auditions. I was shocked that he went home, and disappointed that someone so strong was sent packing when others that performed poorly remained. I’m not even going to begin to try and understand how they “tally up the voting” because last week felt extremely unfair to me on so many levels.

  11. Ashton says:

    Bryan wasn’t arrogant. He was just calm and knew he was amazing. He had one of the best voices this season, and he deserved to stay.

  12. Maricela says:

    Bryan is an awesome singer. He deserved to stay. Im sure this is only the beginning for him!

  13. Marbella says:

    Bryan Keith was one of the strongest singers, his raw talent got 4 chairs to turn around and that just shows how amazing he is. He’s not arrogant, he was just surprised like a bunch of America was. Bryan can look like a homeless person for all I care. It’s not called “The Voice&Looks.” It’s just “The Voice” and Bryan Keith was just that.

  14. Jazmin Iris says:

    Chuck Finey- I feel.bad for you that God didn’t give you the sense of feeling everyone has.

    Bryan’s talent was imense. I think its quite refreshing to see a person with such talent stay so calm during the show. There is nothing wrong with a man who believes in his talent. Bryan may not have realized that America sent him home because they knew he could win the Voice. if any contestant could take a elimination with such class, it would have been Bryan. He still supports his team, & his competition & isn’t being a brat about it. We all know his music career will continue to skyrocket as long as music continues to be his ## one priority. Much love Bryan
    Your fan always
    Jazmin Iris

  15. Doris says:

    I will like to see him sing with Adam Levine , woooowwww this can be super !!!!!! Can someone do s

  16. Doris says:

    Can someone do something x him? The producers ? To much talent to waste, he need to come back to us with a CD. He was the best in the voice show! He must have to continuo in the show . I don’t know if someone will read this, but if some

  17. Doris says:

    But if someone read this , help him.

  18. Sassy pants says:

    Daaamn. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that “Chuck Finley” is a disgruntled ex-girlfriend using a fake name. So honey…he doesn’t need you anyway. He’s too talented and too busy moving’ on up like a Jefferson.

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