Vicci Martinez' Green Revolution

The Tacoma artist found her Voice, and has Cee Lo (and NBC) to thank.

This spring, Tacoma singer/songwriter Vicci Martinez did her home state proud when she competed on NBC's The Voice, belting powerhouse renditions of Adele, Florence + the Machine, Dolly Parton, and Pat Benatar songs under the guidance of her personal coach, Cee Lo Green. Martinez made it to The Voice's final four; now that it's over, she's in L.A. writing new material for an upcoming album. Here, she talks about glitter, snubbing Idol, and Adam Levine's hot pants. SW: Why did you decide to go on The Voice, after turning down American Idol a few years ago? Martinez: The whole concept of the show was totally different. They kind of actually reached out to my management and asked me to audition, and if I didn't like it, I didn't have to do anything, whatever. So I got there, and the staff and the crew were just amazing. They didn't want to change a thing about me, which was opposite with American Idol. Like they didn't want to give you a makeover? Exactly! As the show went on, I definitely evolved. I was asking for the faux hawk and the sparkly eyes. But it took a little bit of time for me to get comfortable. At your original audition, did you have a judge in mind who you hoped would pick you? I definitely wanted to work with Cee Lo. It was cool that Christina Aguilera turned around, but I definitely had my first choice, and that was Cee Lo. Just because he's one of those guys who just does it his own way and kind of goes left-field all the time, and I feel like since the beginning I've done the same thing. Even though we're quite different, we definitely bonded on that note. What was your favorite moment with Cee Lo? I think it was when we did the Pat Benatar "Love Is a Battlefield." It was wild, and we both were so excited about it. It was really nice to see him as excited for a performance, because during the show he's kind of taking a seat, watching me, giving me advice, but then with this performance he was asking me advice, as far as what should we do with the dancers, do you think I look OK? I was like, "OK, Cee Lo, you don't have to ask me, but I appreciate it." There was a moment on the show when you thanked Adam Levine for the jeans. What was that about? Yeah, he bought me a pair of jeans. In passing one day I was like, "Dude, Adam, those jeans look so good on you." And he's like, "Oh, it's not me, it's the jeans." And then a few days later he had them send me to his trailer, and he gave me a pair of the same jeans. Did you interact much with Christina Aguilera? No. I don't think anybody did! The only interaction you had with Christina Aguilera was when she was commenting on your performance. At the end of the show, she came up onstage and gave hugs and kisses, but that was about it. But everyone else, we definitely interacted. Blake [Shelton] is amazing. Blake took us out to dinner, bought us drinks. He's that kind of guy that just wants to have a good time with whoever he can and just makes you feel comfortable. How has your life changed since you've been on the show? Well, I was on a plane today, traveling from Seattle at 7 a.m., and there were passengers on the plane asking if they could have a picture with me while we were in flight. It started because the flight attendant asked if I would come behind the curtain and take a picture with him—he was like, "I don't want people to bombard you or anything." But then people started seeing that and asking. I was like, "Oh my God, I just woke up." Is your new album going to be the same kind of blues-rock you've been doing for years? Yeah, [but] I think on the show I opened a new door, another side of me that I just feel like I haven't been able to do. I've always played my own instruments, and I feel like in a way I've hid behind my instruments. I came on the show, and I was like, "They're not going to change me." And they didn't try to do anything, but without my guitar there, I felt like I got way more into the music and the songs and the performance. Are you going to move to L.A. or stay in Tacoma? I don't know. I think I'm just living out of my bags now!

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