AUBURN, Mass. – Sam James, who was born and raised in Auburn, took another step on Monday night to reaching musical stardom after he won a battle on NBC’s “The Voice.”
James faced Benji in the battle round, as they sang a duet of “You Give Love a Bad Name,” by Bon Jovi. While celebrities Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton said that Benji won the battle because of his yelling and screaming skills, all that mattered was coach Adam Levine’s decision.
“Sam has a little more control over his voice,” Levine told NBC after their performance. “Benji has that scream that I really love, but I thought Sam was a little more solid as a singer.”
James was floored with excitement when he was declared the winner.
“It means so much to me that Adam saw something in me that the other coaches didn’t,” James told NBC after he won. “I live another day. I’m here, and I’m ready to stay. He believes in me, and I’m overwhelmed.”
Back in September, James advanced on the television show, which is a singing competition with Aguilera, Green, Shelton and Levine as the coaches and vocal mentors. James landed on Levine’s team in September after James sang “Imagine” by John Lennon, while also playing guitar.
Before the performance that was aired on Oct. 15, James and Benji were coached by Mary J. Blige and Adam Levine.
“It’s hard to put this in perspective right now,” James said. “I’m going to get to work with two of the biggest names in music. I’ve been a fan of Mary’s for a long time. Her trophy room is probably bigger than my house.”
In the practice sessions, James was struggling with hitting a few upper notes.
“There’s always one or two notes in a big song like this that I strain to hit,” James said. “I’m not really a Bon Jovi guy, but I want to make it all the way. I’m learning so much about myself for being on ‘The Voice.’ I definitely, definitely have a lot of work to do.”
Right before the performance, James said he didn’t want to head back to being a bartender.
“I don’t want to sling drinks anymore,” James said. “It’s a fun job, and it definitely pays the bills, but I’m done. I want every day I wake up to be music.”
And after the Oct. 15 performance, James’ dream lives on.
James attended Assumption School in Millbury and graduated from St. John’s Prep in Shrewsbury before moving to Worcester. He now lives in Sturbridge. When James is not touring, he plays locally at clubs, restaurants and venues, including the Banner in Worcester.
To hear a sample of Sam James' music, including “Imagine,” visit his website.
Check back with The Daily Voice to see how James does on the show.