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Tim Mahoney - High Vocals & Even Higher Aspirations
Monday, January 02, 2012

Artists who’ve poured their blood, sweat and tears into their craft for fifteen years seek out that one moment that will make everybody remember them. As Minnesota singer Tim Mahoney learned, however, you can’t control what that moment will be, and until the next one comes around for him he’ll be wearing the label as the guy on The Voice that Adam Levine thought was a chick.

It was one of the show’s defining moments. Mahoney was singing Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me,” Levine turned his chair around to see who was singing, and his first comment was “I thought you were a chick.” Mahoney, who is both a solo artist and in the band The Blue Meanies, laughed it off, and even wrote a playful song about it titled “Hey Adam Levine.” It’s been easy for Mahoney to crack a smile about it as, since the show, and his position as one of the members of Team Adam, he’s seen a noted increase in the size of his fan base. “I’ll be in a Target and there will be an old lady who will be like ‘I totally thought you got robbed,’ and an eight year old girl who wants a piece of paper signed.”

Rather than asking for an autograph, when I caught up with Mahoney I asked what it was like dealing with that moment, how the grind of being in a reality TV singing competition differs from the grind of being a touring artist, and why The X Factor might be in his future.

Adam Bernard: You have the blessing and the curse of being the singer on The Voice that Adam Levine thought was a woman based on voice alone. How do you feel about, after fifteen years of performing, having that up your current calling card?
Tim Mahoney: {laughs} You know, I guess I’ve been in it long enough to know that it’s something where if something’s gonna get your name out there more, then that’s great, and the truth is that was the case. When he said it, truthfully, it didn’t really bother me at the time. I’ve heard it before. Then all these papers wanted to do interviews with me regarding that and it’s something where I’ll take it. It’s not like “you’re a bad singer.” I do have a higher voice. (Levine) went on to mention that his voice is high, too. It’s been pretty funny that I have been playing around and wherever I go I’m either known as the guy from The Voice, or the guy that Adam Levine called a chick.

Adam Bernard: Even though what you performed resulted in you being selected, would you, in retrospect, have picked a different song to sing?
Tim Mahoney: Definitely wouldn’t. The song that I picked had a lot of history with me. They wanted a little bit more of a current, contemporary, pop song, but I really stuck to my guns even though (NBC) got the final decision. I felt like it brought back Sam Cooke’s name a little bit and it’s a song I’ve been singing since I was really young.

Adam Bernard: You recently dedicated a song to Adam, and the whole experience, titled “Hey Adam Levine.” Tell me about putting that together, and do you know if he’s heard it?
Tim Mahoney: Truthfully, it was kinda (my PR guy) Mike Farley’s initial idea. He said “what if you wrote a song about your experience on The Voice, or with Adam? Something funny, but maybe a catchy pop song, not a ripping thing?” I said that sounds easy enough, I’ll try something. I came up with this chorus and then I just put it up on YouTube and we started to get a lot of buzz from it, so I said let’s record it. My instinct was to record it as more of a pop song. I felt like it was more of a pop market, maybe even more pop than I generally am. I did it with this producer named Kevin Kadish, who helped me out immensely. Adam has heard it and he said I think it’s kinda cool and kinda creepy. {laughs}

Adam Bernard: You were on Adam Levine’s team, the same team as eventual winner Javier Colon. How much of that experience was a competition, and how much of it was a team dynamic?
Tim Mahoney: When you say competition it’s funny because I don’t know if we ever really felt like that. We were all sequestered in this hotel just kind of hanging out with each other. It’s reality TV, so every day no one knew if they were going to be cut, or not. As far as getting to the stage moments, it was whatever the judges thought at that point. We’d find out people got cut and we’d be like “oh my God, how did they get cut, they’re awesome?” Even getting to the battle rounds, when they said I “battled” the girl Casey Weston, we were friends, we didn’t really battle, we just went out and sang our song the best we could and they picked a winner.

Adam Bernard: I remember her. She was attractive.
Tim Mahoney: She was hot. Everybody was like, right when she came out, they were like “OK, there’s no fuckin way Mahoney’s gonna win now.” I know that, and it’s fine. I didn’t really see it that way at the time, but then when I came home and watched the episode I was like aw shit.

Adam Bernard: I read that you’re thinking of auditioning for another show, The X Factor.
Tim Mahoney: I’m normally not this guy that jumps around shows, but I thought, OK, it could probably help me, I’m not totally sure, but being the guy they remember from The Voice, because I'm sure it’ll get brought up again, “you’re the guy that Adam Levine called a chick,” and again ya get some more wheels off of it. The truth is it’s about face-time on TV. It’s about people getting to know your name and then checking it out more, like your sites, and undoubtedly that has happened for me. Has that happened to the level that I want it to? No. That’s why I’m saying let me try another one. It’s something like, why not?

Adam Bernard: What’s tougher, the grind of weekly reality TV, or the grind of constant touring?
Tim Mahoney: Probably the grind of reality TV because the grind is not a grind, the grind is waiting. The grind is, it’s like NFL camp, you start with 100 people that go to LA and every day people are being cut. You don’t know why, or when. Your parents call you and ask “hey, how’s it goin?” “I have no idea, but I’m still here.” Literally, up to the time when I’m filming I’m still kinda like I think I’m in, but I don’t know, who knows what they’re gonna air. Sure enough, I know people that were on the official team, top 32, and their airtime got cut. I was lucky. I had that chick line thing, so I got a lot more airtime.

Adam Bernard: There are going to be people who say hey, wait a minute, this guy had his shot, he was on a show already. How will you respond to that?
Tim Mahoney: The way I’m gonna try to respond to it is strictly by my singing. You can say I had a shot, but I guarantee I’m gonna think more about my song choices, not that I think they were bad, but just to make sure whatever I’m delivering is badass. Besides that, that’s all you can give. You know TV, they’re gonna have to find their own way to present me to America. At least I’m used to that now. People think “I’m really good and they’re gonna put me on as some saint.” Well, that doesn’t sell viewership. They gotta have something from ya.

Adam Bernard: How long does the buzz from being on singing competition show last?
Tim Mahoney: It’s a different kind of buzz. The buzz lasts, but the bottom line is, I think from a business perspective, is about the buzz lasting in a sales perspective, like selling songs, or your shows. Undoubtedly I’m more well known, but the bottom line is making that turn into record sales, or shows. It’s helped, but not enough to where I’d like to see it. That’s why I want to try another one.

Adam Bernard: You’ve been doing this for fifteen years. What moments have stood out to you as being some of your favorites?
Tim Mahoney: It’s all the time. Giving my credit card I’ve had people go “you have the same name as the guy on The Voice.” The other thing that’s funny, I’ll be doing all these regular little shows, could be clubs, bars, and now it’s “As Seen on NBC’s The Voice, Tim Mahoney.” That’s my whole headline. I’m like, I guess that's cool, but that’s such a short period of time of what I have done. I was in Rolling Stone magazine in 2007, but nobody really mentions that.

Adam Bernard: It’s a what have you done for me lately industry.
Tim Mahoney: Completely. That's why I know that will go away, too, so I thought try one last one. I don’t think it’s something where I’m gonna sit here and try reality shows for the next five years, but I thought I’d give one more a try.

Adam Bernard: And not The Real World.
Tim Mahoney: No, definitely not. If you see me on some, what would be a really bad one, Celebrity Rehab, or something... although I woudla had to make it really big to make it on Celebrity Rehab.

Adam Bernard: Let’s stay away from rehab! It’s a new year, and if you believe the Mayans it’s the last year, so close this interview by hitting me with three things you’re really looking forward to in 2012, other than our potential impending doom.
Tim Mahoney: Other than our impending doom? I’m gonna put The X Factor. I think that’s another possibility of a channel that could turn out to be something. I think another full record. It’s been a while since I’ve done a full record of completely new songs and I have an idea of doing a record with just piano, vocal and guitar. That’s really the heart of where I came from. The other thing is, ironically, on the other side of it, sometimes to great make music and make great circumstances you kinda gotta let it go a little bit. Sometimes you hold on to this stuff - “I gotta be more famous,” or “I gotta be so much more” - so just try to let things be, versus always pushing at it. I feel like The Voice was a good example because I didn’t push at it, it just kind of fell into me. I was like I’m not sure about this stuff, but why not, and it ended up doing something.

Related Links

Website: TimMahoney.com
Twitter: @timmahoneymusic
Facebook: facebook.com/timmahoneycmon


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:35 AM  
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