MATTHEW JOHNSON’S “I SMILE” CATAPULTS THE VOICE SEASON 16 PREMIERE
by Tanya LaNice
Season 16 of NBC’s The Voice kicked off on Monday, February 25th with Blind Auditions and newcomer John Legend joining the ranks of Kelly Clarkson, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as a musical Coach. So far, we’ve seen some really talented artists, but there’s one with an absolutely notable distinction that is worthy to keep an eye on – vocalist Matthew Johnson who befittingly closed out season 16’s premiere! We’re pretty sure he was strategically placed at the end of the show because he is truly a tough act to follow.
A native of the state of Maryland and currently residing in Jacksonville, Florida, Matthew delivered an ovation-worthy performance singing a perfectly revamped solo version of Kirk Franklin’s “I Smile”. The magic was instant as the rich sound only Gospel music can deliver filled the studio and permeated millions of televisions across the globe. The end result? Hearts were exuberant and every face had a smile – a combination which is truly needed in the world we live in today
Matthew undoubtedly possesses the innate ability to capture the soul of listeners while delivering a rich euphonious sound. And it is that very sound that arrested and turned the chair of all four Coaches – Blake, Adam, Kelly, and John. Matthew also garnered the prestigious affirmation of having Adam Levine throw his shoe at him (a Valentino sneaker, at that) creating a truly rare and over the top moment! Matthew ultimately decided to join John Legend’s team and is off to a remarkable journey that we look forward to tuning in and experiencing along with him. He truly had all of our attention on stage and he was gracious enough to give us some of his attention off stage, making time for a Q&A to help us get to know a little more about Matthew Johnson.
Were you nervous about your Blind Audition?
Leading up to my Blind Audition I didn’t get nervous until about 5 minutes before I took the stage. While waiting backstage I could hear the Coaches speaking and I realized that this opportunity was really happening.
As you saw the chairs turn, what went through your head?
When I saw the chairs turn, I tried my best to remain focused and make sure that I executed all that I had practiced until I completed the song. It wasn’t until the song was over that I let the moment sink in of all four Coaches turning around for me – and it was one of the best feelings ever!
With all four Coaches being amazing superstars, John, Kelly, Blake and Adam, was it easy for you to choose your Coach?
It was not easy for me to choose my Coach. Each Coach gave compelling reasons why they wanted me on their team. Blake hit his button a few seconds into my song and Adam was soon after him; and before you knew it John and Kelly were turned. They made it really hard for me to choose.
Being part of season 16, what have been some of your highlights so far?
One of the highlights for me is being surrounded by so many talented artists. I enjoy being around other people who share the same passion as I do. Another highlight has been working with people that have made it in this industry. I try and learn as much as I can from them so I can be just as successful.
Are you able to easily keep your cool throughout the process, or are you the hyped type?
I would say it’s a healthy balance between keeping cool and being hyped. I enjoy every moment that The Voice has given me. It’s an exciting time and I have moments where I’m hyped, but it’s also a time to be focused and in those moments I have to keep my cool.
You had some of your family with you during the Blind Audition. How important was that for you?
It was a great feeling to know I had support with me. I had my parents, aunt, sister, and girlfriend with me. When I walked onto the stage, I was so nervous. I looked at them for a split second and my nervousness left me. Having them there meant the world to me.
You are now singing on a platform that is viewed by millions all over the world. Do you feel that you are ready for such an incredible journey?
I feel like I am ready. I’ve been singing just about all my life and God has blessed me to grow as an artist over the years. This show is going to prepare me to become an even better artist so that I can hopefully one day become a successful artist.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
Michael Jackson is definitely at the top of the list. When I was a child I remember watching Michael Jackson perform on TV and I wanted to be just like him. To this very day, his music still has a huge place in my heart. I also really enjoy Tori Kelly and how she creates great clean music. She is a great example of an artist that crosses over into various genres including Gospel.
What are some of the things that make you happy?
I would say God, my family, and friends make me the happiest! I feel like if I have them, then I’m going to be alright. Singing definitely makes me happy. It gives me a chance to musically express myself. Also, the success of my favorite sports teams makes me happy. I love the Los Angeles Lakers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Florida State Seminoles.
Color: Blue Foods: Pizza Athletes: Kobe Bryant, Telvin Smith and Jalen Ramsey
Movies: The Lion King Songs: Made A Way by Travis Greene, Man In The Mirror by Michael Jackson Singers: Michael Jackson TV Shows: How to Get Away With Murder
Time of Year: Christmas Quotes To Live By: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Phil 4:13
How can people keep up with Matthew Johnson?
They can follow me on Facebook and Instagram at @matthewjohnsonsings and on Twitter @matthewjsings
You can see his whole performance in the FB video below!