‘THE VOICE’ SEASON 3 FINALIST AND TEAM
CEE LO ALUM TREVIN HUNTE CAPS AN EXPLOSIVE
YEAR WITH HIS DEBUT EP, A HOLIDAY SET
PRODUCED BY ALL-4-ONE’S JAMIE JONES AND JACK KUGELL
The New York and Atlanta Raised, L.A. Based 19-Year-
Old Artist Follows Praise from Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton,
Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine—and Four Top
Rated iTunes Singles—With a KIA Commercial, a Song
On The Soundtrack of “From The Rough” and a
Thriving Pledge Music Campaign To
Fund His Next EP
It’s been well over a year since Trevin Hunte (www.trevinhunteonline.com), Season 3 Finalist on NBC-TV’s hit show “The Voice,” first captured the heart of America and blew away judges Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine with his powerhouse version of Beyonce’s “Listen.”
But the 19-year-old New York-born vocal dynamo, who joined 15 other singers—including ultimate Top 3 Finalist Nicholas David—as part of Team Cee Lo, isn’t anywhere close to stopping the celebration. And everyone’s still listening as he gears up to release his first recordings since his Top Rated iTunes singles from “The Voice,” which included “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” “When A Man Loves A Woman” and “The Greatest Love Of All.”
Hunte has also been a YouTube sensation, with his performance of “Listen” earning 5-Star ratings and over 4.1 million views, and “Vision of Love,” his duet with fellow contestant Amanda Brown in the Battle Round, hitting 1.5 million views.
What better way for the singer, who moved from his adopted hometown of Atlanta to Los Angeles in early 2013, to cap the wildest year of his life than making his independent recording debut with a holiday EP?
Co-produced by Jamie Jones of the Grammy Award winning vocal group All-4-One and Jack Kugell (Ronan Keating, Pussycat Dolls, Wayne Brady), the infectious 4-track set includes a stirring rendition of “O Holy Night” and a cover of Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” along with two original tracks, the festive “All The Christmas I Need” and “Elevate.”
“I had always wanted to do a Christmas album, so when my team presented the idea to me with the holidays coming up, I jumped at it,” Hunte says.
Earlier this year, “Elevate” appeared in a Kia car commercial. Hunte, who signed with veteran talent manager Sahirah Uqdah (SU Entertainment), was also tapped to record the song “Rise” for inclusion on the soundtrack to the indie film “From The Rough,” one of the last featuring actor Michael Clarke Duncan.
Choosing to go the indie route rather than entertain offers from major labels, Hunte is currently working on his follow up EP, a set of six or seven new tracks which he hopes to drop early in 2014. He has a new single and video set for release in January. The huge following he built from his performances on “The Voice” had made his www.pledgemusic.com fundraising campaign wildly successful, and he has exceeded his financial goal by 15 percent and counting.
“I’m still looking for great material, and I think my fans from the show will be pleasantly surprised with the approach I am taking to these new recordings,” he says. “I did a lot of ballads on ‘The Voice’, but some of the tracks I’ve been working on are more up-tempo, R&B/pop oriented. I’m getting to do a lot of things I wasn’t able to in the competition. Because of the success I enjoyed there, and the way the singles performed on iTunes, I feel a little bit of pressure. But I’m doing the best I can. I’m stepping out in faith again, just as I did when I auditioned for the show and when I decided to move from Atlanta to L.A. this past year to explore new career opportunities.”
In his introductory text on his PledgeMusic page, the shy by nature Hunte claims that confidence was always something he struggled with growing up. He talks about stealing his mother’s hairbrush and singing at the top of his lungs in the bedroom from the time he was seven, and gives a nod to his idol, the late Whitney Houston, whose smash version of “I Will Always Love You” was the first song he ever heard on the radio.
Then the singer added, “It was not until my experience on Season 3 of NBC’s ‘The Voice’ that I learned to embrace my gift of singing. I found my own voice.”
Hunte credits the advice of his vocal coach on ‘The Voice’ for inspiring him to choose “Listen,” which became his defining, foundational moment on the show. “She told me to tell my story, and no song reminded me of myself more than that one,” he says. “I really wanted to get out there and have people listen to the song in my heart. I have a lot of talent to share with the world, and this was my chance to do it.”
Hunte found his confidence and hit his stride in the wake not only of the votes of millions of instant fans across America, but by taking to heart the ongoing praises of the judges. When he sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” in the semi-finals, Aguilera gushed, “I grew up singing that song, but I never sang it as crazy great as that actually. You took it to a whole different level.” The five-time Grammy winner also said, “If a record deal doesn’t happen after this, I would love to take you on the road under my wing…”
After another bravura performance by Hunte, Levine said, “That’s one of the best performances I’ve seen on the show, seriously, maybe ever, it was incredible.” Shelton added, “I hit my button out of sheer respect for somebody that has that much talent that it absolutely blows my mind.” And the always quick-witted Green, who snagged Hunte for his team, said, “I’d like to take a moment of silence to mourn the loss of all the competition.”
As Hunte’s coach, Green gave him a lot of standard encouragement like “Be yourself,” “Do what you were called to do,” and “Nobody can be a better you.” But on a deeper level, Green shared stories about his background that were similar to challenges Hunte faced growing up as a big kid with a high voice. Though Hunte sang and performed solos in school choirs from middle school on, and won his ninth grade talent show with a performance of “Listen,” his high pitched vocals and frequent choice of songs associated with female singers made him a target for bullying.
While he spent the first 12 years of his life in Queens, Hunte’s parents were from Guyana and he grew up with a slight accent that also made him a target for mean spirited kids. One teacher in eighth grade told him that he shouldn’t waste his time pursuing a career as a singer.
“Because of what Cee Lo had been through himself,” Hunte says, “he told me, ‘I defend anyone who is different. He faced a lot of the same struggles. But unlike me, he’s an outgoing guy, so I felt like I could come out of my shell a little, too. What I love most about him is that he’s the real deal. What you see is what you get.”
Considering that he already has millions of fans as he gears up for his EP releases this holiday season and in 2014, Hunte doesn’t seem to be overstating his goals when he writes on his PledgeMusic page, “For the Future, I hope to become a household name and dream of having a career like John Legend or even Adele. I hope to do this by creating timeless music that can appeal to everyone. Music has always been my first love and as I grow older, each and every day, I realize I cannot live without it.”
Lacking confidence no more, Hunte heads into the New Year with hope, faith and the spirit of giving back. “My long-term goal is to write and record songs that people can relate to and can listen to in a hundred years and still feel good about,” he says. “I know what I have had to overcome to get here, and I want to be a voice for anyone who doesn’t have a voice. When people are too shy to speak up, I want to be that voice. Because I was one of those kids who didn’t want to say a word, and now I have had the opportunity to do all this. Thanks to my family and faith in God, I feel I can reach people no matter what I sing. I just want music to be my vehicle and I just want to use it to allow god to direct me wherever he wants me to go.”