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Richmond’s Evan McKeel Advances on NBC’s The Voice

After winning his battle round last night, Evan McKeel is one of the artists moving on in the competition who took part a call with The Voice. Evan says the toughest part of the process for him is competing with people he has grown close to. “We all want to keep going,” he said, “but no one wants to do it at the expense of the others.”

His battle partner, Riley Biederer, has been a friend throughout the process; the two met early in the audition process. In the battle round, they wanted to highlight both of their strengths as well as their differences. “That says a lot about the relationships we make on the show,” Evan said. “We all really care about each other.” Both hoped the other would get stolen by another coach. Riley admits she was a little intimidated when she had to battle Evan. “He is so amazing,” she said. “I couldn’t perfect the Stevie Wonder song like Evan did.” She wasn’t shocked when Evan was announced the winner. “I was so happy for him,” she said. The good news is she got picked up by Gwen Stefani, one of her original picks of coaches.

Team Pharrell meeting with the coaches. -- Pictured: (l-r) Riley Biederer, Evan McKeel -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)
Team Pharrell meeting with the coaches. — Pictured: (l-r) Riley Biederer, Evan McKeel — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

asked how confident he was, Evan said he doesn’t ever treat a performance like anything is a given “or take anything for granted.” During the blind audition all four chairs turned at the very end of his song. “For the most part I was fighting to get the first chair,” he said. “I felt like an underdog” for the first part of the song.

He went into the battle round knowing that he wanted to perform to the best of his ability and trusting in God’s plan for him. “Whatever the outcome was, I accept it,” he said. “You want to focus on doing the music. That is all you have control over.”

Walking in the rehearsal room and seeing Missy Elliott was “really awesome,” he said. Knowing that both Pharrell and Missy grew up in Virginia with the same type of culture and musical appreciation was comforting. He felt like he received honest feedback and critiques from both. “Having that musical diversity right there, that’s what I am aiming for — musical diversity,” he said. “They were encouraging. Missy and I talked about growing up with gospel music and music in the church. That helped her understand why I sing the way I sing.”

Evan will compete in the knockout rounds on The Voice, so Richmonders should tune in to NBC to support him.


Joan Tupponce, RFM entertainment correspondent

An award-winning writer based in Richmond, Joan Tupponce is a parent, grandparent, and self-admitted Disney freak. She writes about anything and everything and enjoys meeting inspiring people and telling their stories. Joan’s work has appeared in RFM since the magazine’s first issue in October 2009. Look for original and exclusive online articles about Richmond-area people, places, and ideas at Just Joan: RVA Storyteller.

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