‘The Voice’s’ Terry McDermott on His Classic Rock Sensibilities: ‘It’s Great Music’

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Scottish singer Terry McDermott auditioned for NBC’s The Voice with a track from The Who, catching the ears of three of the coaches and millions of viewers. From there he continued down the path of classic rock with Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son” during the Battle Rounds, and then “More Than A Feeling” and “Summer Of ’69” during the first two major live shows. Though the songs are not your typical Top 40 fare these days, McDermott finds a timeless element to them that he hopes to instill in the newer, younger audience.

“It’s great music,” McDermott told Celebuzz after Monday’s Top 10 Performance show in Los Angeles, Calif.

“There’s a reason it’s lasted this long; there’s a reason it has such an appeal; there’s a reason so many radio stations are dedicated to it and so many people tune into it, and it has such a great effect,” he continued. “If any way, shape, or form I can bring that back to people and maybe even encourage people to bring back an element of that music, which I think has been lost, I have to try.”

The fact that the youngest The Voice viewers don’t necessarily know these songs and are therefore getting a lesson in music history through McDermott’s performances is something he hasn’t done on purpose when selecting his songs, but it is something he thinks makes the nerve-wracking performances a little less stressful.

“It’s actually something I spoke about with [coach] Blake [Shelton],” McDermott said. “I don’t think we pick these songs by that design, but it’s certainly something we think about. As an example, when I did “Baby O’Riley,” there were people reaching out to me saying ‘Is that your song?’ I was like ‘No, no, no, we have to fix this! I’m going to have to send you an EP or something of The Who, send you a copy of The Kids Are Alright, the movie, and then we can talk!”

McDermott has exhibited a lot of energy and fun with the band on-stage, as opposed to just standing and singing into the mic, showcasing his vocals and only his vocals. This is another key element to McDermott’s style and sensibility. He got his start as a member of a band, playing to much more intimate crowds than the audience of The Voice.

“The environment [in which] I sort of learned my chops, so to speak — learned my trade — was with a band, touring, chasing record deals and girls and fortune and fame — you know, like most people grow up wanting to do with a healthy desire to write music,” McDermott smiled.

“And that means playing in rooms, whether it’s 1000 people, 10,000 or 200, your first concern is the crowd. To really pull off the performance, what I’d normally be doing is working with the band and working with the crowd. They’re very talented guys here in the band on the show, and they’re easy to get on with, and the more I get on with them, the more I like to interact.”

McDermott didn’t want to think too far ahead in the competition; he was just taking it moment by moment and enjoying pouring his heart out on-stage to people who seemed to appreciate his talent. However, he did tease he has a very special song selection in mind, should he continue on.

Reluctant to spill the beans on the title to keep it a surprise if and when it happens, McDermott said that if he does get the one he wants, “it’s a song I connect with very well, and I’ve sung it before, and I love ripping my voice to pieces on it. So, I might blow myself out if I get to do it.”

Any guesses, McDermott and The Voice fans?

What did you think of McDermott’s Top 10 performance of “Summer of ’69?” Let us know in the comments below!

Danielle Turchiano

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