xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Tamara Jade grew up in Bowie. Now she’s a rising star on NBC’s ‘The Voice.’

Bowie native Tamara Jade’s journey to compete on NBC’s “The Voice” all started as she attended Prince George’s County schools.

At Ernest Just Middle School, her principal made her sing at all the school events, Jade said.

Advertisement

And one day, the principal walked up to Jade in the hallway and said “Sign up for this” and walked away swiftly. Jade realized it was an application to Suitland High School’s visual and performing arts program, which she applied to and attended.

Program director Maria Saldana remembers Jade being vibrant.

Advertisement

“You could not not know when Tamara was in the hallway or outside, she was always singing and always a positive student,” Saldana said.

It’s not surprising to Saldana to see Jade on “The Voice.” Saldana sees the range of Jade’s voice and how she has grown from her classic training at the program.

It was that range that impressed John Legend, who is her coach on the show that’s in its 19th season. Jade performed Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You” and Legend said, “The fact you can rap sing, the fact you can sing these big soulful notes and then what sealed the deal was the very end of the song where you sang it more gracefully and tenderly. It was like ‘Oh, she can literally do everything. I would love to coach you.’”

THE VOICE -- "Knockout Reality" Episode 1909 -- Pictured: Tamara Jade -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)
THE VOICE -- "Knockout Reality" Episode 1909 -- Pictured: Tamara Jade -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC) (Trae Patton/NBC/Trae Patton/NBC)

Jade’s parents were skeptical of her going to Suitland High School, which was farther away from their Bowie home. Now, she said, her dad looks back and is glad she decided to go.

“They left the decision up to me, they said we can’t empower you to be independent then take away your independence,” Jade, who now lives in Laurel, said.

Jade was familiar with going to a high school for a specialized program because her older brothers did the same thing. She said she just had to find her niche.

One of Jade’s favorite singers growing up was Kelly Price and one song, “As We Lay,” Jade remembers singing at 10 years old.

“That song is about sleeping with someone else’s husband and at that time I didn’t know what it was about,” she said. “I just knew the way she delivered the song, I felt the pain even though I had no idea what it was talking about that young. I knew I wanted people to feel that way with my voice.”

Jade grew up listening to gospel and classic musical and she thanks her mother for playing all different genres in their home.

She also remembers watching “American Idol” and was a huge fan of Fantasia Barrino, who won that singing competition in its third season in 2004. She said after watching 18 seasons of “The Voice,” she wanted to apply.

“I had a lot of insight of what it could do for my career. I was definitely open to it but still was cautious."

Before auditions for the show began during the summer, Jade hadn’t performed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but kept busy by releasing a single “Better” and improving herself. She also started an online business, selling ginger juice to improve immune system.

Advertisement

Going into auditions for “The Voice” after not performing for months, Jade was excited and ready but also nervous.

Over 8 million people watched the auditions round of the show, but singing in front of John Legend, Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani was more nerve racking for Jade who was one of 40 people who were chosen for the competition.

Legend is one of her favorite artists and Jade says she listens to “Penthouse Floor” every morning. So it was only right that she chose him to be her coach after having all four judges offered. Legend’s career is a path that Jade would love to follow, she said.

“I had to think, ‘who has done the things I want to do?’ and ‘who knows my lane?’” Jade said. “There is no other soul coach, I came here for the soul king. He could immediately understand me and not want to change me.”

Choosing a Lizzo song for her audtion wasn’t random, Jade was a backup singer for Lizzo’s performance on the Video Music Awards in 2019.

After the blind round, Jade went to the battle round, when two artists sing duet together and the coach picks the winner. Jade went against Olivia Reyes and they sung H.E.R “Hard Place.” Legend chose Jade to advance to the knockout round.

During the knockout round, Jade went head-to-head with teammate Casmè. Jade sang “Higher Ground,” and Casmè performed “Wrecking Ball.” In the end, Jade was able to beat Casmè and Legend named her the winner of the round. She will go on to the live round that begins Nov. 30 where viewers can vote on who moves on.

“On the rest of the show, people should expect me to continue to be me. They should expect some dynamic and moving performances and I am going to enjoy the moment,” Jade said. “I am grateful to be back on the stage. It is very hard to be away from what you love. Look out for Tam and I am representing the DMV very well.”

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement