The Voice's Sarah Simmons on Rolling Stones & Gotye Covers, Soundtrack Dreams and More!

Sarah Simmons The Voice - Season 4Sarah Simmons is less concerned about making a fortune on her music than she is with making a connection to her audience.

The Top 8 finisher on Season 4 of The Voice says she’s still marveling at the back-and-forth she has on Twitter with her newfound fans. “As much as they think I bless them, they bless me back sevenfold with their words of support and love and encouragement,” marvels Simmons. “The things that they say have brought me to tears, have made me laugh. You log on and see someone’s Tweeted ‘Puppies love you!’ That’s awesome.”

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Simmons is planning a move to California in July, and hopes to start work on an album soon after. “I’m going to try to give them as much as I can of myself and my music, to always be myself and to never allow myself to be put in a box,” she says. “You can make it without selling out to money, fame and fortune. You can make it to the top without settling on a certain genre just because it makes more money. And I feel like it’s always important to follow your dreams, because you don’t want to be singing a song at the age of 50 that became really popular, and you’re not even in love with it!”

TVLine caught up with Simmons to dish how she had a movie-like reaction to her iTunes sales statistics, why she was stressed by her Knockout Round matchup and which Russell Crowe film has served as a source of musical inspiration.

RELATED | The Voice‘s Judith Hill on Reworking Bieber & Xtina and Coping With Front-Runner Pressure

TVLINE | You became an instant front-runner based on your Blind Audition to Joan Osborne’s “One of Us.” Did you have any notion that you’d get such a tremendous response?
You’re only allowed to sing for like 90 seconds, so there’s this pressure to show your whole self as much as you can in that brief time. I worked really hard on the dynamics of the song, and it worked out well. But yeah, hearing that I was a front-runner after that first performance, I knew that I had to work my butt off as hard as I could — especially because I was surrounded by such incredible people and incredible artists, you know? Each performance throughout the season, I felt like I did really well, and I charted pretty good. When I got to No. 1 on [iTunes’] rock charts, I felt like I was in that movie That Thing You Do, the whole, “Oh my gosh, my song’s playing on the radio!” I was so excited. It was a dream come true.

TVLINE | I found your Knockout Round bout to be particularly frustrating, because both you and Warren Stone really deserved a spot on the live shows. What’s that like being in that kind of competitive situation?
Gosh. Oh, man. I actually got to talk to Warren yesterday. I love that man. He’s such a big brother. Battles and Knockouts and Steals and all that kind of stuff, it’s just the most nerve-wracking thing ever. You’re all together 24/7, and you become like family. That was a really tough round because I listened to Warren, and I was just like, “God, he’s so amazing.” You want everyone to win. You seriously do. But in the end, people do have to go home, and yet even so, it’s like they’ve already won, too. Because if you can connect to just one person, then you’re already a winner. So we all keep reminding each other that this is also a TV show, and we have to keep our minds in good places, and not forget that this is just the beginning.

TVLINE | You got to choose your own song for the Knockout Round and went with the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses.” Had you sung it previously?
I love the Rolling Stones so much, and I’ve had that love of them ever since I was a little girl. I’d covered “Wild Horses” a couple of time before, and it was just an incredible experience to sing that song on the show. Every week I got to collaborate with Adam Levine on song choices. I always tried to think about what I’d want to sing if it was my last time performing on the show. The last song I did, Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” that was Adam’s choice. At first, he actually wanted to have me sing Adele’s “Skyfall,” and he was going to have Amber [Carrington] sing Gotye, but then we switched, because I’ve done a lot of Adele covers in the past, and I love a challenge. Adam kept telling me to trust him, and he felt pretty bad after [I was eliminated], but I told him not to. I’ve never worked so hard on a song in my life. As simple as that the Gotye song sounds, the phrasing is crazy, and you have to really bring your emotion to the table, be really vulnerable with America. That’s challenging in a beautiful way, and I told him it stretched me. He was still upset, but I told him thank you for that. I definitely grew from it. And in the end, The Voice is a TV show, but it’s not the end of us as artists. It’s not the answer to everything.

TVLINE | Tell me a little bit about your vocal technique, the way your voice transforms from an ethereal place to a gritty place, sometimes in sudden and unexpected ways. Is that something that you’ve had to work on or were you born with it?
It’s just something that I was born with. I grew up listening to all kinds of music. My grandparents helped raise me. I listened to things like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, old Turner Classic sounds, you know? My dad, though, listened to groovy stuff like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, all these incredible artists. And then my mom helped me grow up on soft music like Sarah McLachlan and artists like that. I loved it all, and music became such a release for my spirit and my soul. I started writing music when I was 13, had my first guitar when I was 15, and I just experimented with all kinds of music. I definitely would say it came naturally. But everything that is worth something, you always have to work at it till the day you die.

TVLINE | Did The Voice give you a sense of where you want to head musically?
I definitely want to make a CD that’s rock and roll, blues and soulful sounds, but I also really want to make a CD of ethereal, eclectic sounds as well. And my other dream is to make music for movies. One of my favorite composers is Hans Zimmer, who did the music for Gladiator and all kinds of incredible movies with incredible scores. It would be a dream to work with him. I’m a big fan of an artist that he worked with, Lisa Gerrard, who’s just an incredible singer. And then there’s Eddie Vedder, and how he made music for Into the Wild. I’m so inspired when someone can make music to a story. It just sounds like an incredible blast.

Were you a Sarah Simmons fan during Season 4? Shocked she didn’t make the finale? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Cindy says:

    Sarah Simmons was my favorite and after she left, I lost interest in this season. I love her versatility and range. She’s the whole package. I would definitely buy her music and look forward to her album.

  2. MsHello says:

    Please go the Adele with an edge type of music.

  3. Brett says:

    she’s insanely talented – people don’t realize it – her voice penetrates to the core of your being and hangs there for a while – she awakens your soul – amazing!!!

  4. darrell arvin says:

    If “The Voice” was truly judged by the ability to sing; Sarah would win hands down. I can’t wait for her first album.

  5. Flávia says:

    Absolutely, yeah! I’m still trying to describe what her voice make me fell. It’s such a penetrating voice. And then, there’s her heart. Someway she transmite all that passion which suddenly starts to grow in us too… And it’s this way that she can make her music stay in our mind and heart for so long as a great memory from the past. We just can’t and we absolutely don’t want to forget. She’s incredible!

  6. Susa says:

    Sarah has an awesome VOICE, and should have been in the finals. While some of the program’s performers were able to shine with all the theatrics around their numbers, I think she and Danielle are the main two who have pure vocal talent that will be wonderful to see unfold in the future.

  7. as says:

    Adam was responsible for her way too soon exit. Bad bad song choice. I’ve bought more of her i-tunes than anyone else form this season.

    • Wow. ‘Someone That I Used to Know’ is my absolutely favorite song of Sarah’s. I picked it up on iTunes and love it. I think it just didn’t translate well on the live show. Adam’s pick wasn’t bad at all but the audience was a little stuck on Blake’s country crew.

  8. CL says:

    Great voice, bad strategy/packaging.

  9. mia says:

    She’s excellent and I look forward to her original music. She’s got such a refreshing take on the industry and I love that she wants to work on soundtracks.

  10. Dez says:

    I thought Sarah was way overhyped at first, and then I completely fell for her over the course of the season. I sort of felt like the season lost some of its credibility when both she and Judith went home in one foul swoop (and way too early).

  11. MamaLis says:

    Michael…. you’ve got such a gift.
    I had sort of wondered about Sarah… wondered about her vibe… and now I get it. I mean besides the voice. Of course the great voice. But VERY cool!
    Way to go, Sarah. Love your intentions and wish you the BEST of luck!!!

  12. whosays says:

    Sarah’s in a good place coming off TVoice because, though not everyone “got” her, the people who did get her *really* got her. Just read the rest of this comments section. She really grabs your heart and stirs your soul, if she’s your cuppa.

    Sarah, put out something for us weekly, if just on YT, as you work toward your first release, so that you whet our appetite and don’t let us forget you!

  13. Jodi says:

    When Sarah was on The Voice I could not wait for Monday to get here! Now it’s back to “ugh” it’s Monday. Quit watching after she left.

  14. ron wade says:

    Quit watching after SS was eliminated. What a joke.

  15. Karen says:

    I was stunned by your blind audition and was so excited to hear you sing each Monday. Your voice brings shivers with the right song. I will be following you. Very best wishes for your singing career. We, the fans are the beneficiaries of your amazing talent.

  16. thedeviledadvocate says:

    Early on I really enjoyed Sarah. I had her and Judith as the frontrunners. A couple of questionable song choices, and some strong performances from others changed my mind. I still enjoyed Sarah and Judith, but there were others I started enjoying even more.
    The worst thing about these singing shows is that you find yourself getting very attached to your favorite contestants. Some of the most heartbreaking eliminations for me in recent years has been, the eliminations of Adam Lambert, Siobhan Magnus, Haley Reinhart, Jessica Sanchez, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Melanie Martinez, Janelle Arthur and most recently Caroline Glaser. The producers know how to tug our heartstrings, and they usually are quite successful. Just read how passionate the posters are about their favorites, All these contestants are talented, and every season, one by one, sometimes two at once, our favorites get eliminated. There is only one winner per season, out of the thousands that try out. Everyone in the top 12 has done a fantastic job to make it that far. The winner is never the one who should have won, at least according to the fans of winners opponents.
    I hope Sarah makes it in the music industry, along will all the others who entertained us this year on The Voice. I love this show, and AI, and Xfactor. Without these crazy shows, there would be dozens of very talented people I would never have had the pleasure of hearing, so I appreciate these shows.

    • Danny says:

      @The- That’s pretty much how I saw it too. I had the same 2 as the leaders, but others passed them by. That’s no fault of theirs, others just started to do better IMO.

  17. Yolaine says:

    I had never watched The Voice before this season. One evening I was flipping through channels and just happened to catch Sarah singing and was so stunned by her voice that I was spellbound. She has such an incredible range and at times reminds me of Janis Joplin. Although I was very disappointed that she was not “saved” by America, I know it was just the beginning for her. She has a gift that she is willing to share with all of us and I know she will do well.

  18. Emmanuel says:

    For me, Sarah’s influence on The Voice can be summarized by Coach Shakira’s reaction during her performance of ‘Angel’.
    She belongs in a very very special place

  19. Mary says:

    Thanks for the follow up on Sarah!! I just loved hearing her on The Voice!! I stopped DVR’ing the episodes after she left. I used to go back and relisten to her songs multiple times. Thanks for sharing your gift with us and can’t wait for your CD!!

  20. Mary Ellen Lanigan says:

    Learned to download itunes for SS. I played them over and over and voted to the max. She is right, it is just a TV show. What she has and gives is so much bigger than that…One of us and the story tore my heart out.

  21. Patti says:

    I loved listening to Sarah. Her voice gave me goosebumps and I was so down after she was voted off. Funny how a show can be so emotional, but I look forward to hearing her again in the near future!