Ryan Innes and Orlando Dixon blew judges – and the audience – away with their phenomenal Battle Rounds. The two sang “Ain’t No Sunshine” in what was possibly one of the best Battles performances we’ve seen on The Voice. Their rendition certainly put Usher in a tight spot, having to choose between the two, but he ultimately went with Ryan Innes. We were fortunate enough to get the opportunity to talk with the piano-playing, Utah native via conference call after that epic Battle Round, the full transcript of which you can read below. Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryaninnes.
The performance you did with Orlando has been talked about as one of the best battles of the night even among the judges. What was your thought process going into the performance – knowing that you were both very great vocally – and then your reaction after?
Man, the battle was… I did not see that happening. I did not see myself being paired with Orlando – I thought maybe we were too different – but when Usher explained to both of us that he really wanted to put us together because we came from different sides of the spectrum and he wanted us to come together in the middle and learn from each other and compliment each other and I think that kind of caught the vision of what he was trying to go for.
And I finally got a chance to sit down and work with Orlando and we just kind of had an immediate connection as musicians and as friends and as… I don’t know… as just performers wanting to create a really cool moment to experience for ourselves and for the audience to experience. So when we started to really dig in and create the arrangement we wanted and have the moments that we wanted in the song, it just started to really happen organically and we would feed off of each other… and it just kind of built itself up until we finally had a peak on the show.
We had never sung it like that before in rehearsal even though we had caught glimpses of what was going to happen. And so the process was really enjoyable, I really think he and I were both in the same page of just wanting to not get caught up in the competitiveness because that would just destroy both of us and the opportunity for both of us. So it was all about how do we do this thing together, how do we both have our moments but make a bigger – I don’t know what you – a bigger moment for the entire thing.
And I think that’s what happened, I think we created the groundwork for that to happen and then we finally had just a peak moment on the show and I think it will definitely be one of the highlights for me on the journey of the show.
You have tons of fans back home cheering for you and they had viewing parties to watch the show last night, do you have anything to say to them?
Oh definitely! My heart goes out to all the people who, for whatever reason, are supporting… what I’m able to do – to be doing right now. It just honestly… us as artists, everyone listening, our little artist world goes around because there’s people out there who – for whatever reason – are touched and moved and want to be part of what we do. So, my heart goes out to them and I just want to thank them so much – words can’t express, you know, the trite expression, it just… I really, really have so much love and respect and I just want to give them all a big old “griz grip” as it’s called back home.
If you make the ladies swoon when you sing, have you seen your new found popularity translated into more romantic opportunities for you?
What a question… you know what… I just get some crazy Facebook messages and some of them are absolutely hilarious, some of them are very heart felt and very sincere, some of them are really creepy. And so yes I think putting myself out in the public arena has just made whatever might of existed a little bit more amplified I’ll say.
Moving forward, who do you think is your biggest threat during the Knockout Rounds?
My biggest threat during the knockout round is myself, simply because I really don’t want to play into the competition aspect of things, I don’t like the energy that that creates.
I know it’s a competition show, but I think… when you consistently compete against other people, it kind of gets you jaded and bitter because you’re just never going to live up to someone else because they are very much a unique thing. So I’m trying just to compete against myself and push myself with… maybe a different type of song, a different kind of brains in the song and maybe doing a little bit more.
Because I usually play behind the piano, I’m getting used to being on stage and just singing with me and a mic – maybe I’ll try and do something there to push myself. But I love my teammates and they’re all fantastic singers and have their own amazing, unique talents and so I know I’m giving you the PC [politically correct] answer here but I really feel like me and myself is the biggest competitor.
You talked a little bit about the reaction you’re getting on Facebook, have you had a chance to be out and about and are people approaching you and what’s that like?
No I haven’t had a chance to be out and about in the real world, I’ve been on lockdown and, you know, when you’re with the show they do that with you. So I think some of the in-person, real life crazy fun moments that are going to happen are just around the corner and it will be fun to see what happens.
Are you hearing from people that maybe you haven’t heard from for awhile?
Yes there’s some high school buddies pop out of the woodwork, so I’ve got some old cousins and friends and they’re all being very respectful. No one’s been like, “hey man remember that one time you said I could sing with you that one time?” No it hasn’t been any of that. People have been very nice and very respectful and haven’t crossed any lines or boundaries with trying to play up the whole familiar friend card.
Have you chosen the song you’re going to perform during the knockout round – and if so, is it going to be one of your own compositions?
I haven’t chosen that song yet and it will not be an original, we only do covers on the show.
Will we see you play your keyboard or piano anytime during the show?
I believe you can only really play pianos once you get to the live show so if I get that far then I will definitely push to be able to play the piano, yes.