Two Houston singers ready for next step on ‘The Voice’
Houston singers Tamar Davis and Mary Sarah have been vocalists on the verge for several years.
Davis has worked with Prince and Tyler Perry. She was in the group Girl’s Tyme, a predecessor to Destiny’s Child, with Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland.
Sarah’s 2014 album “Bridges” featured duets with Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Tanya Tucker. She toured with the Kidz Bop production as a singer and dancer at 12 years old and has cultivated a big social-media following.
They have nice résumés. But there’s nothing like a reality-TV boost.
Davis, 35, and Sarah, 20, are among the 32 remaining contestants on “The Voice,” NBC’s highly rated singing competition that employs a “blind” audition process. Coaches Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell Williams and Blake Shelton listen with their backs to the stage and turn around if they like what they hear. Singers then choose from the interested coaches.
“I was hoping for one chair,” says Sarah, who grew up in Richmond and Sugar Land. She piqued interest from all four coaches and went with Shelton, who promised to get her on the Grand Ole Opry.
“I didn’t even see Christina turned around until I opened my eyes. I felt like I was playing a Wii game where I was singing into my TV screen. I was nervous, but I strutted out there, and I remember it was so quiet.”
Davis, a Grammy nominee for the 2006 Prince duet “Beautiful, Loved & Blessed,” is being coached by Aguilera. The knockout rounds commenced this week and will whittle the field to 20, who then move on to the live shows and public voting. Davis, who is a Houston native, and Sarah met for the first time on the show.
Davis independently released her debut album, “My Name Is Tamar,” in 2011 and has been working on a followup for several years. An earlier album, “Milk & Honey,” was co-written and co-produced by Prince but was never released.
“I wasn’t getting performances that I wanted. Theater kept coming across my table. I kept taking those jobs,” Davis says. She was recently part of the “Motown the Musical” national tour.
“The monotony of ‘Motown’ was a little tiring for me. I wanted the exhilaration of something different every night. I was invited to perform two songs at the W Hotel (in Los Angeles). After that, I looked my mom in the eye and was like, ‘I wanna get back to this. I wanna get back to live music.’ ”
Sarah says she’s spent more than half her life singing, from Texas Oprys to the national anthem at sporting events. She’s currently based in Nashville and released an EP, “Dress Up This Town,” last year. She has a crisp, clear tone that sometimes recalls Carrie Underwood. And she’s prepared for any of the surprises that come with reality TV.
“I am a country artist, for sure. But I sing Christina Aguilera and Katy Perry and John Legend,” she says. “I can definitely see myself pulling out a pop song or an R&B song – and adding a little bit of a country flair to it.”
Davis has showcased a refined R&B sound on the show. She hopes to do more ballads and take on some rock ‘n’ roll, which she explored on “Milk & Honey” alongside Prince.
More importantly, she realizes this may finally be her chance to shine.
“I want all the dots to connect at this moment. I wasn’t even thinking about the backstory or what I’ve done. It really was all or nothing on that day,” she says. “If no one turned, I was gonna be OK. But I knew if someone did, I was gonna seize the moment.”
An extraordinary new voice in country music, 18-year-old Mary Sarah unites modern and traditional country styles with her stunning new album, Bridges!
Features an awe-inspiring list of country music’s brightest stars performing duets with Sarah, including Dolly Parton singing her superb hit “Jolene,” Willie Nelson crooning the all-time classic “Crazy,” the late Ray Price counting “Heartaches By The Number,” Merle Haggard trading vocals on “The Fightin’ Side Of Me” and a whole lot more!
This exceptional young lady has already made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry in April of this year, will be featured in Billboard magazine’s “Artists on the Verge” column as well as Country Weekly’s “Who’s New,” and is set to join The Oak Ridge Boys for a series of live shows!
1. Jolene with Dolly Parton
2. Crazy with Willie Nelson
3. Heartaches By The Number with Ray Price
4. The Fightin’ Side Of Me with Merle Haggard
5. Texas (When I Die) with Tanya Tucker
6. Go Rest High On That Mountain with Vince Gill
7. Rose Garden with Lynn Anderson
8. Dream On with The Oak Ridge Boys
9. What A Difference You’ve Made In My Life with Ronnie Milsap
10. Where The Boys Are with Neil Sedaka
11. My Great Escape with Big & Rich
12. All I Want To Do Is Sing My Song with Freddy Powers
13. I’m Sorry