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Sawyer Fredericks talks about the life-changing experience


Sawyer Fredericks talks about the life-changing experience

Sawyer Fredericks already has the look. Tonight, he may have “The Voice.”
Sawyer Fredericks talks about the life-changing experience
Sawyer Fredericks performs on May 6 at the Fonda Fairgrounds.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson

Sawyer Fredericks already has the look.

Tonight, he may have “The Voice.”

The 16-year-old singer from Montgomery County performed with three other finalists Monday night as NBC’s hit television series — and people watching at home — prepare to crown a new champion. The show’s eighth season concludes tonight with a three-hour finale that starts at 8.

Fredericks, who has won fans for both his singing and his trademark fashion — he always wears a derby hat over his long blond hair — spent the past weekend in rehearsals. He sounded tired during a brief phone interview from Los Angeles Friday morning with The Daily Gazette. And he said he was nervous about this week’s shows.

“I think a lot of it is just nerves going into the final, just because there’s so much on the schedule that I have to do,” Fredericks said. “There’s a lot that goes into it.”

Fredericks and the other members of the final four — Meghan Linsey, Joshua Davis and Koryn Hawthorne — have advanced from the original field of 48 singers in February. The winner receives $100,000 and a record deal with Universal Music Group.

As the field has dwindled, Fredericks said he has been able to work more with coach Pharrell Williams.

“It’s awesome, he’s a great guy and he’s very calm,” Fredericks said. “It’s awesome working with him because he has so many great ideas for the music. It’s just a joy working with him.”

Fredericks is the second local singer to go far on “The Voice” during the past year. Danielle Mozeleski of Latham — Dani Moz — made the list of 12 top singers on the show in 2014 before losing in live elimination trials.

“I’m just proud of all I have accomplished,” Moz said in an interview with The Gazette last spring. “I never even dreamed of making it to the top 12. The fact that I did was such a treat. It’s not the last you’ll hear of me, for sure.”

People heard. Moz spent time in Los Angeles, writing songs and preparing for performances. She returned home for last June’s “FLY92.3 Summer Jam 2014” at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. She also sang the National Anthem at the San Diego Chargers pro football game against Kansas City last Oct. 19.

Like Moz, Fredericks probably will have opportunities. Capital Region talent expert James Pentaudi believes the teenager should prepare for a busy summer and fall; career options could show up in New York City, Los Angeles or Nashville.

“Right now, he’s dealing totally with covers,” said Pentaudi, who runs Albany Talent Actor & Model Management, of Fredericks’ takes on classics such as “For What It’s Worth” and “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow.” “We’re going to find out if he’s a songwriter himself and also, does he already have a band? He’s got to be ready to make a move.”

Several positives

Pantaudi said Fredericks has several positives in his corner.

“He has great charisma on stage, he has a very natural way about him,” said Pantaudi, who has worked with young models who have scored high on the “America’s Next Top Model” show. “His style is a little bit of a throwback, and he’s got to find the right team.”

Fredericks must also keep his head in the weeks after “The Voice,” and think for himself. “You’ve got a lot of ‘yes’ people in this industry who will tell you anything,” Pentaudi said. “He’s got to be smart and stay a real person despite all the people telling him how fabulous he is.”

While some might say singers who go far on TV competitions like “The Voice” can’t miss successful careers, Pentaudi said they can miss.

“There are so many factors that are involved,” he said. “Luck plays a big role, choosing the right project, getting the right team. Every good agent and manager has had somebody they thought was going to go right to the top and didn’t. We’re always surprised, too.”

Fredericks couldn’t say anything about what surprises might be coming up in tonight’s final show. But he did say something about the “frontrunner” status that many people have assigned him.

“It bugs me a little bit just because I’m around all these other artists and we’re all good friends here,” Fredericks said. “I don’t really consider myself just a frontrunner because the artists here ... we’re all original, we’re all amazing artists and we have our own styles.”

Fredericks said support from family members, who run an 88-acre farm in Glen, has been a key part of his run on “The Voice.”

“They’ve actually made this possible, with just holding down the fort while I’ve been out doing all this stuff,” he said.

Fredericks is aware that no matter what happens tonight, life will be different once the winner is announced.

“It has sunk in,” Fredericks said. “It’s definitely going to be weird for me and I’m not really sure how I’m going to feel about it once I’m home, just because I’m going to be around all these other people who have been supporting me through this whole entire experience. I can say ‘Thank you’ to them, but I’m not sure how I’m going to feel because I’m a pretty shy guy. Being around that many people is going to be a little odd for me.”

Shy? After appearing in front of national television audiences since February?

“That’s performing,” Fredericks said, the hint of a laugh in his voice. “I can sing a song, but I can’t give a speech.”

Fredericks thinks it’s funny that some fans are imitating his hat and hair look. He’s got words for them, and all the other people who have cheered for him during the last several weeks.

“Thank you for all the support you’ve given me,” he said. “It’s been a great ride going through this whole thing and I couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s just been a blessing being here, so thank you.”

Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124 or at [email protected] or @jeffwilkin1 on Twitter. His blog is at www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/wilkin.

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