Q&A: Jeremy Gaynor, On West Point, The Voice, and His Relation to Gloria Gaynor
A West Point officer reflects on his time at the academy and on NBC’s singing competition The Voice. PLUS: Watch his blind audition video
You probably know Jeremy Gaynor as the crooning superstar that made all four judges turn around in their seats when he sang the Carpenters’ “Superstar” on the hit competition show The Voice. He has since been eliminated from the show, but that’s not stopping Gaynor, an army officer who has been stationed at West Point since January 2014. Luckily, for those who live near the military academy, Gaynor continues to sing with all the groups in the West Point band. We chatted with Gaynor about his dual life.
When did you decide you wanted to join the army?
It’s a family tradition, with my dad retiring from the navy and my uncle retiring from the army. At the time it wasn’t a priority for me. I really wanted to pursue my dream to become a professional musician. After time, it just became more of a priority to follow in the family tradition and join the military.
When did you first know you wanted to pursue music?
Since I can remember, really. My family’s full of talent, full of artists. My grandmom’s cousin is Gloria Gaynor, you know, “I Will Survive.” So there was just a love that I’ve had for as long as I can remember, really.
What was being on The Voice like?
It was pretty amazing. I never really intended to audition for The Voice. I was just really going out, seeking an opportunity to be a representation for the military. You can live a dream. It just really developed into something more.
You got all four coaches’ chairs to turn around at your Blind Audition. What went through your mind?
You go into it thinking, “Man, I can get a four-chair turn.” But when you actually get in that moment and it actually happens, it’s a humbling experience. One chair was enough; one chair would mean I was on the show. But to have all four chairs turn around and for me to realize they are actually superstars sitting in those chairs, it was like, “Pinch me, is this real?”
What was it like to work with Christina Aguilera and Nick Jonas?
Christina’s pretty powerful. She gave so much knowledge. It was really invaluable working with her and Nick.
Best piece of advice they gave you?
To really just be yourself. One of the things Christina touched on was that since I am a vocalist in the military, I became kind of structured. It’s just really being able to rediscover myself as an artist and being able to fall back in love with my music.
What music do you listen to?
Well I love John Legend. I love Justin Timberlake. Michael Jackson is a legend. I love Blake Shelton. He has a lot of fun, so I cover a number of his songs.
Did Blake Shelton offer advice on the show?
Yes, he called me a stud. That’s the thing that kind of stands out the most.
I’m working on Jeremy Gaynor music right now. As they say in the studio, in the lab, “writing some new material.” My fellow band members, they put together a welcome home concert for me in April, which was pretty amazing.