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'The Voice' interviews: Atlantans Darby Walker, Aaron Gibson before Knockout Rounds

This was posted Monday, October 31, 2016 on Rodney Ho's AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Will Aaron Gibson and Darby Walker - the two remaining "Voice" singers with Atlanta ties - make it past the Knockout Rounds and into the top 20 and live show?

The pre-recorded third episode of the third round is airing tonight on NBC at 8.

Walker received a coveted post-Olympics airing of "The Voice" in August. It would seem bizarre for her not to make the live rounds.

Gibson received plaudits for his Battle Round performance. We'll see if he can keep the magic going.

Both are on Miley Cyrus' team, which currently has eight singers and will be cut to five by tonight. (If you want to know what each person is singing tonight, spoilers are here.)

Here are highlights from my most recent interviews with each singer:

Darby Walker

Oldies lover: Darby was actually familiar with the early 1970s novelty hit "Brand New Key" by Melanie. "Right off the bat, I was down. That's one of my favorite songs. That's a song I've been singing for a long time. I listen to a lot of old music. I'm an indie artist. I love music from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Music was so rich then. Everyone was discovering things for the first time. Me and Miley both like what we call hippie music. It's something people can relate to."

Why Miley is a great coach: "It's amazing working with her. She's so easy. She's the most grounded person in the world. Right off the bat, you're just collaborating. She really gives you permission to really make it your own and explore and become comfortable... I really need to step back and breath. Other than that, I didn't have a ton of notes from Miley the first time. I knew what the song meant to me. I already had the meaning... She's such a special person. I wish everyone could get to know her the way I've gotten to know her."

Why she thinks Miley picked her over Karlie Metzger: "It came down to taste. I feel me and Miley have a bond. We have really similar pasts. We have similar values. We are into dog rescue. We are really into philanthropic quests. We are really spiritual people. We really live for music of the 1960s and 70s. We are free spirited. I think in that sense she wants to keep working with me. She sees a lot of herself in me." [Blake Shelton ultimately "stole" Karlie.]

How she felt going into the Knockout Rounds: "I was in a great mental state going into the Knockouts. I'm excited by the song I chose. It will give people another taste of who I am."

Aaron Gibson

Positive reaction to Beth Hart's "I'll Take Care of You": "It was a really good night. That was one of my proudest performances I've ever had. The audience screamed and yelled for a good minute or two. It was amazing, something I will never forget."

Wasn't familiar: "It was a fresh song for me. I did a lot of research. It's been covered by Drake. It's a blues standard I was unfamiliar with but quickly grew to love. I don't sing a lot of blues. I like the blues, but it has never really been my style. Maybe I have a bluesy kind of voice. It was a nice chance to broaden my horizons as an artist."

Why he stood still while Sa'Rayah roamed the stage: "Sa'Rayah has a wonderful stage presence. She has a commanding presence. Even if I moved around, I would not have captured that feel nine times out of 10." [Alicia Keys 'stole" her.]

Comfort zone: "It's me and my guitar standing hours at a time when I play a regular gig. That's home. That's my safety net. I can convey a lot of emotion and presence without having to run around the stage. We complemented each other. She could have owned that stage by herself. I was only adding to her performance."

Miley's decision: "She went with her gut. It was anybody's game. I'll be honest. I'm not the most in-your-face performer. I'm more or less relaxed. Miley helped me come out of my shell and get a little more engaged. She found Sa'Rayah could sing anything and perform well. There wasn't a whole lot of potential growth. She saw that opportunity in me to help me grow. I respect her for that. I want that advice from her."

Into the Knockout Round: "You don't have a whole lot of time between the two rounds. The next day, you get your song, you get to work. You really want to keep the momentum going. It's a little different. It's going to be equally as good a performance in my eyes. I'm just as proud of it."


"The Voice," 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, NBC

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.