Black Student Union hosts “The Voice” singer
Stephanie Anne Johnson, who starred on NBC’s “The Voice” last year, performed at Puget Sound on Wednesday, Feb. 12 to a small, intimate crowd.
Her free concert was part of a series of cultural events to celebrate Black History Month.
She was a season finalist last year on “The Voice,” bringing to the show her powerful voice in jazz, folk, soul, rock and blues.
Before “The Voice,” she was a professional singer performing on cruise ships.
When asked about the blind auditions with the judges, Johnson said, “It’s a lot easier when they aren’t looking at you.”
She impressed judges Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green with her sassy cover of “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree” at her audition.
At the end of losing the battle rounds against country singer Olivia Henken, Johnson was traded to Green’s team.
“I loved working with Cee Lo,” Johnson said. During an interview on “The Voice,” Johnson described working with Green, “like talking to a friend, talking to someone I knew.”
He was a steady mentor who complimented her for singing “with a lot of conviction.”
On the whole, Johnson described her experience on the show as “wild.”
Johnson is undaunted by life as a rising musician, continually enhancing her craft.
“I studied classical voice for a number of years,” Johnson said in an interview with YTacoma. “Classical music makes me feel free and strong and it’s a basis of study like if you meet dancers who do Hip Hop, but also have ballet training it gives you a lot of grace.”
This training gave Johnson a foundation to become a versatile artist.
As a blues lady, she appreciates the creative freedom she has an artist. In an interview on “The Voice,” Johnson said she savors performing soulful music that she “feels strongly about, that people can live with and connect with, and have a life with.”
She has “charisma, pure, raw talent and a presence full of energy and joy,” sophomore Nakisha Renée Jones said of her recent performance.
“I like the connection I can make with people I might not otherwise meet if not for the music,” Johnson said in Tacoma Stories.
“I like an audience I can touch and feel and listen to.”
She catered well to the crowd, playfully interacting with the audience in between songs.
“Do you guys want a ridiculous song, or a love song?” she asked, performing both songs to the crowd’s appeal.
She also performed covers from artists Norah Jones, Billy Joel, including Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” and ending with Phillip Roebuck’s sweet “Can I Keep You?”
“She killed ‘Superstitious,’ ” Jones said. Johnson also did songs off her new album like “I Need You.”
Her new album “Hollatchagurl” is on iTunes along with her previous albums “Orange” and “For the Record.”
Johnson is a very “candid and honest artist,” Jones said.
“I was honored to listen to her and graced by her coming and singing for us,” sophomore Elise Hooker said.
“She knew the crowd well and it’s not every day you get to watch a star being born.”
The performance was a homecoming for Johnson who remains grounded in her roots and hometown, Tacoma.