Chandler resident Blaine Long admitted that his stint on “The Voice” hasn’t gone as planned—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
He passed the blind auditions and advanced to the battle round after Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Miley Cyrus turned their chairs around. He chose to be mentored by Shelton.
The only star who didn’t show interest was R&B singer Alicia Keys.
“That felt really cool,” Long said about the acceptance from three of the mentors. “It was a tough decision, though, because I wanted Alicia. She was my pick, but Blake said the right things.
“What I thought was funny was that they edited out the thing that really got me to choose him.”
Shelton told him that he would push the producers to allow Long to sing tracks that suited his voice.
“I will be an advocate for you as an original artist,” Long recalled Shelton telling him. “That was the reason why I chose him. The whole Nashville thing is not my vibe necessarily. I don’t consider myself a country artist.”
Long previously auditioned for “The Voice,” but tried again on the advice of Grant Woods, an attorney general turned musician who owns the label to which singer-songwriter is signed.
With nine collections under his belt, Long played Woods’ CD release party at the Orpheum in Phoenix. His set was recorded and handed to a producer of “The Voice.”
“The producer set up a private audience from my performance at the Orpheum,” he said. “I didn’t think anything of it. I thought this was a part of pushing the album I just did with Grant.
“A month later, I got a call saying to come for another audition. That was six days long. That was the executives. From there, I made it to the blind auditions.”
Long’s family has roots in the Valley. His mother attended McClintock High School, while his father studied at Tempe High School.
Long was born in West Virginia and lived in Ohio and California before his parents returned to the Valley, specifically Chandler. He briefly attended Thunderbird Adventist Academy in Scottsdale before dropping out to pursue music.
“Music is something I’ve loved since I was a little kid,” he said. “My dad, who was not a music fan, listened to the ‘story’ songs, the really old classics—the old-timey stuff. Late at night, he would switch to classical music.”
Long has vivid memories of creating songs on the floor of his bedroom. He is a fan of putting words and chords together and making “something from nothing.” His first couple concerts were Rush and Jethro Tull.
Now, he regularly plays around the Valley. Long is scheduled to perform from 12:30-3 p.m. Sunday at Rock Lobster in downtown Ocotillo; and 5-8 p.m. Sunday at Steve’s Greenhouse Grill in Phoenix; and 4-7 p.m. Oct. 23 at The Living Room in Ahwatukee. For a complete list of shows, go to blainelong.com.
“I love what I do,” he said. “I’m very grateful and thankful. Every gig, I love grabbing my guitar. I love being a singer-songwriter. I love being a working musician. Every time I open my guitar cases, I love it.
“What a great job. I get to sing to people; go out into the real world and sing my songs. I’m very blessed.”
He still has a lot of learn, however. Long is hoping that Shelton will put him at ease on stage and in front of a TV audience of millions.
“I have such high anxiety issues and panic attacks and such,” he said. “I love seeing how comfortable he is on camera and how casual he is. He doesn’t put on airs; he doesn’t rephrase the way he talks. I’m hypervigilant about everybody watching me. I’m not too comfortable with that.”
Up next for Long are the battles, which he called “ridiculous.” The show airs on NBC Mondays and Tuesdays.
“I can’t say who I’m against, but he’s a friend of mine,” he said. “We were buddies before then. You hang out while you rehearse and while you’re going through your songs and working out parts. However, there’s a sense of competition, but you don’t realize it until you talk about it.
“‘Everything is going good, but I’m going to murder you.’ That’s the way to think. I didn’t play sports growing up. I don’t know how to be competitive. For me, the competition part was really foreign and weird.”
Long couldn’t reveal how he fared in the taped segments, but he is proud of himself.
“The whole thing is awesome,” he said. “I’m so grateful.”