More like Team Santa Barbara.
Local singer and songwriter Will Breman returned to ‘The Voice’ stage Monday night, coming out on top as he battled fellow team member, Jared Herzog. While the judges commended both competitors on their performance, Mr. Breman’s energy and skill ultimately won him the round.
“Part of it’s just my own preference as far as vocal style and vocal ability,” said John Legend on the show. “Part of it’s just (his) charisma and star power.”
This star quality struck all four judges, who noticed a change in Mr. Breman since his last performance.
“I could not keep my eyes off you,” Gwen Stefani told Mr. Breman. “You have a really crazy energy on stage. It was just so different and unique.”
Mr. Breman did approach this round a little differently, but because he didn’t have his signature guitar. Without his “security blanket”, as he calls it, Mr. Breman only had one option – dance.
“I tried to make it as fun and ridiculous as I could,” Mr. Breman told the News-Press. “I knew Jared was going to be all over that stage, and I wanted to show John and the other judges I’m not a one-trick dude.”
In his ‘Voice’ debut, Mr. Breman wowed the judges with an acoustic cover the Spice Girls’ “Say You’ll Be There.” Since then, Mr. Breman’s life has been a blur.
“I tried to go to The French Press like a day after the premier, but I got stopped by 10 or 20 people on my way,” he said. “I realized, ‘Oh shoot, you’re all watching me.’”
New recognition outside the show was coupled with changes inside rehearsal. With Mr. Legend as his coach, Mr. Breman’s entire approach to music has shifted. Now, he arranges songs, and even writes, in a completely new way.
“I always used to think of an idea, then turn it into a song – the music came later,” said Mr. Breman. “Legend starts a song with the music first. It’s wild to see an entire song emerge from one musical idea.”
Still, both musicians take an analytical approach to rehearsal, making their connection undeniable.
“With Asperger’s, I analyze everything with a fine-toothed comb,” said Mr. Breman. “But (John) analyzes everything, too. I just connect with him so well.”
While a blur, Mr. Breman’s journey on ‘The Voice’ has not been all smooth-sailing. He and his team members quickly became a family, which did not bode well for the battle round. When Mr. Breman found out he was challenging Mr. Herzog, his heart sank.
“(Jared) became one of my best friends on the show,” said Mr. Breman. “Having to compete against your friends is always hard.”
To manage, Mr. Breman made the music his first priority. Behind the scenes, he and Mr. Herzog spent a lot of time building one another up, so the performance was the best representation of them both.
“My goal was to win, and if I didn’t, then I wanted to get stolen,” said Mr. Breman “But even if I won, I wanted to make sure (Jared) got stolen. We wanted to make as good as an outcome as we could.”
While emerging as the winner, Mr. Breman was sad to see Mr. Herzog go. After Mr. Legend made the tough choice, Mr. Breman immediately pulled his friend into a hug, apologizing for the outcome.
“My philosophy is that music is a connecting tool,” said Mr. Breman. “I don’t want to be the reason that someone’s dream comes to an end, especially for a best friend like Jared.”
Even as Mr. Breman goes onto to the next round, he’s in disbelief. With no expectations, he just wants to learn.
“I feel like I have imposter syndrome going on,” said Mr. Breman. “Doing music as long as I have and not catching this big of a break before, I feel like, ‘How did I get here?’ These guys are amazing, and that just makes me want to work harder.”