TRINIDADIAN singer and musician Paige “Payge Turner” Roopchan has continued her winning streak on US network NBC’s The Voice, beating Team Gwen Stefani teammate Ryan Berg in the knockout round to move forward in the competition.
In the knockout round, contestants chose their own songs and were coached by mega mentor Usher Raymond. Turner chose to perform Creep by Radiohead.
Turner said working with Usher was an unreal experience.
“I mean it’s Usher! Like my gawd. He’s a triple threat but he’s like a quadruple threat to me, he’s a singer, a dancer a producer and fine as hell. Okay, but really he was a pleasure and he genuinely saw me for me. He was an absolute sweetheart and really embraced who I was.”
During the rehearsal stages, Stefani coached Turner on how to perform her choice of song. “It seems as if you’re focusing on the singing as opposed to the message for me, I think you can act that out even more, it needs to be drama. When you have a song like Creep that is so emotional, talking about your inner weirdness, how you don’t fit in, you don’t belong, every line has to have something that just draws you in.”
Turner was in tears while rehearsing the song, as she said she relates to the lyrics. The chorus of the song goes, “But I’m a creep/ I’m a weirdo/ What the hell am I doing here? /I don’t belong here. “I connect to the lyrics of the song, because moving to the US, leaving my mom, and then coming to a different country and learning the different cultures, I was a jock but I was also a theatre geek, I’ve always been the person that never fits in in school.
“This song is 100 per cent me, my personality is just a lot for a lot of people so I’ve grown into accepting that part of me but sometimes it does get to me.”
Usher gave her tips on how to use her emotions while singing, and said she’d have an amazing performance if she was able to connect to herself.
“Bottle up that emotion. The rock elements that make this alternative allow it to come into the experience more than you’re physically doing and it’s just as important as what you’re singing. That’s the emotion you need to capture, it’s okay to fall apart and then put yourself back together on stage. The more you give, the more you get.”
Turner took all the tips she was given and put them to practise on stage, giving a dramatic, movement-filled, mesmerising performance that made coach Gwen Stefani emotional and had all the judges on their feet at the end of her performance.
Judge John Legend said he was utterly stunned by Turner’s delivery of the song, calling it a revelation, while judge Kelly Clarkson said, “What the hell? Even your body, like I don’t even know what just happened, your soaring little creepy-head voice stuff all night long, that was so good.”
Judge Blake Shelton said, “I feel like we witnessed her have an out of body experience especially by the end of it, only then were you starting to come back into your body from whatever happened. You truly dissected that song.”
In an e-mail response to Newsday, Turner said the performance was deeply personal and like nothing she’d ever done before.
“I fought for my life. Honestly. It was all or nothing for me. I had the option of either just singing my buns off or leaving everything on the table, and sometimes that’s leaving behind all the focus on vocals.
“Every performance on this stage is out of body, lol. Nothing feels like it. In this particular moment, I just let the brokenness come out. I was going through a lot at the moment too. Funny enough, before this performance, I just had a personal thing that made me feel like I just wasn’t enough and would always be the person that no one chooses as their number one. And this was a moment where that hit me.”
Turner performed wearing a gold bindi and gold jewelry, which she said was significant for her.
“My bindi was a bit of a representation of my heritage. Dougla for dayssss. But truly my heritage has played a lot in my journey as well. It’s also ways that I’ve been rejected. So I felt like I needed to step into all things rejection for PT (Payge Turner) to take off.”
Turner said it still hasn’t sunk in that she won the knockout round.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet. I don’t think anything will hit until after the show ends. I’m looking forward to growing the most. I have a pretty great coach.”