Before his breakout performance on “The Voice,” the biggest venue Samuel Mouton had played was the 300-400 seat Aggie Theatre in Ft. Collins. He has yet to play Denver.
Suddenly, almost 11 million people are watching him in prime time and his version of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” is available on iTunes. He could be the poster kid for NBC’s “The Voice” since he sounds quite unlike he looks. The sound is Jamaica, the look is Colorado.
Mouton missed his own debut: his “Voice” debut “aired on East Coast before I could see it, and I went from 60 followers to 400 followers on Twitter in minute and a half. It’s all super new,” Mouton said by phone from Ft. Collins.
Now that the blind audition rounds are over, the competition gets serious. On Monday, (7-9 p.m. on Channel 9), contestants receive their battle pairing and song selection from their coaches and advisors. In a new twist this season, judges can steal singers from one another going into the knockout round. For now, the task is to whittle the number of contenders from 64 to the top 40.
The Season 3 contender Mouton (proud member of “Team Adam”) is a walking promotional announcement for Colorado. He snowboards at Mary Jane, he has been shown working at his father, Andre’s, Fort Collins Restaurant 415. (He’s a pizza chef/dishwasher). He’s been in a hip-hop group since he was in Lincoln Junior High School. At Poudre High School he wasn’t the best student, preferring to work on lyrics and “writing raps in class,” but “my teachers knew I was smart, just not motivated to do schoolwork.”
He met his girlfriend of a year and a half, Brittany LeBlanc, at Poudre H.S. She’s a year younger, a freshman at Colorado State University studying graphic design.
“She’s not so musical, she’s more of an artist. A nice smart girl.”
For as long as he can remember he was “always just rhyming,” he said. And that seems to be working out for him. His band,Def.Rhymes.Divine., is getting national attention.
“We’re still doing our thing,” he said.
“The Voice,” he told the national audience, is “a perfect show for me, since I sound different than I look.” That was just before taking the stage to sing Marley’s “Redemption Song.”
“People have always commented on how I sound a different color, Jamaican or whatever, I mean, people have been saying that for a long time. Reggae one of my favorite genres mainly because of its positive message and vibe. My true singing voice doesn’t have an accent.”
He credits his father as his major musical influence. His dad played music since he was a teen, playing global beats music, “back when reggae was getting big… He had a cool little following in my hometown.”
Mostly he acknowledges the influence of “the huge Mouton crew that loves and supports me.”
The Moutons are of French-Canadian lineage. His father grew up in Louisiana where “there are huge Mouton statues and graveyards.” His mother’s parents are from the French half of Switzerland.
The TV singing shows may be approaching the saturation point, but that doesn’t seem to have stunted the ratings.
In one of the biggest primetime ratings battles of the season so far, the two buzz-iest singing competitions went head-to-head for an hour. The result was a win for “The Voice.” In the national Nielsens, “The Voice” on NBC hit a 3.3 rating in the 18-49 audience for that hour, with 10.7 million viewers, while “The X-Factor” on Fox managed only a 2.9 rating and 7.5 million viewers.
It’s all been a whirlwind for Mouton, who insists he’s not carried away by the frenzy.
“I’m a very calm person, all about Zen, feeling in the right spot. I’m trying to keep myself balanced. That’s more important that necessarily going big.”