'The Voice' Hopeful Benji Kuriakose on His Epic Scream and Being Racially Profiled

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We here at Celebuzz took notice when NBC’s The Voice coach, Adam Levine, told 24-year-old Benji Kuriakose he could win the whole competition with his killer scream heard round the studio after a rocking performance of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”

The funny thing is we found out the rocker hadn’t even planned to do it. In a conference call with reporters recently, he said, “To be honest with you I was practicing the song with the band and I had no idea I was going to do any kind – these kind of things.”

“I just – in my head I thought of Steven Tyler. And I was just like 'Man, I’ll just go for it,' ” the singer continued. Excited to see both Levine and Cee Lo Green turn around for him, he said the scream was, “Completely visceral. Straight from the gut.”

What else did we learn about the race car driver-turned-singer?

After his racing career ended, the singer says he thought, “Why don’t we go big or go home for this music?” and began working and performing with his two friends.

The trio played shows all around Florida and recorded their first record, which was released in 2009. They had also signed with a management company prior to his opportunity to audition for The Voice and even filmed a music video.

So why did he choose The Voice over other singing competitions shows? Partially because of his Indian heritage.

When performing with his band in Florida, the singer and his band mates experienced a lot of racial profiling. “You know, there’s been times where we’ve been heckled onstage for the color of our skin and for what we do. And so it’s been, I mean that was what was really important to me about this show.”

Benji, 24, says working with Levine has been like a dream so far. “We're very similar dudes. We have a lot of fun,” he said.

“We love the same kind of music. It's some good stuff man," he continues. "We've had some good conversations and I'm really excited to see where it goes from here, man. The sky's the limit, right? The sky's the limit.”

The Voice airs Monday and Tuesday at 8 PM on NBC.

Do you think Benji will go far in the competition? Sound off in the comments below!

 

Discuss

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  • Joanne Mason
    Joanne Mason

    Awesome team Adam. Good luck to all. Will b watching. Go Team Adam!

  • Mrs. Smith
    Mrs. Smith

    Celica - I remember you from Edinboro Elementary when you were a little girl in my art class. I am so proud of you! Will watch your performances. I know you will go far.