His audition: Preston Pohl, 26, of Hallettsville, Texas, sang “Electric Feel” by MGMT, prompting Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green to turn around in a heartbeat. Adam complimented him on turning “Electric Feel” into a Marvin (Gaye) song and for his conviction to what he was singing.
Background: Preston told The Voice he grew up around music. His mother played the drums in church; his dad sang in church. “Music is just something that’s always been in me.” So when he was 17, he became a guitarist in a Christian rock band that sold close to 300,000 albums. He said his third or fourth year into the band, one of its members and his good friend Ron McClelland died suddenly. “After that, it wasn’t the same. We decided to call it quits.” Preston says he stopped performing for about a year, but then started again, knowing Ron would have wanted it that way. Ron, he said, was always pushing him to write music and sing.
On choosing Adam: “I went with Adam because I relate to him the most. He’s real well-rounded, and I like to think of myself like that. I know that Adam would challenge me with lots of different types of music and help me accomplish anything that I wanted. He’s a great songwriter, too.”
What the show didn’t show: That Christian band Preston belonged to was called StorySide: B, and actually got its start in a televised TBN music competition called “Exalting Him.” The band released two successful albums, “Everything and More” in 2005 and “We Are Not Alone” in 2007. Those albums produced three top five Christian hits, including “Be Still,” which won a BMI Award as one of the five most played songs on Christian radio. Though the band disbanded for a while, Preston and vocalist Lucio Rubino started performing again as StorySide: B in 2011, according to the band’s Facebook page. At the time, they were planning on releasing an acoustic EP, featuring a mix of the band’s previous hits and new music. At the same time, both were also pursuing solo projects. Apparently, the solo projects won out. Prior to The Voice, Preston says he was doing session work in a couple of recording studio and playing about eight gigs a week in area bars. “Electric Feel” is one of the songs he typically performs, which is one reason he choose it for his blind audition song. Another: He said he didn’t want to perform something cliche, like a Stevie Wonder tune.
Quote: “I always seem to lean towards soul (music). Even if I do something rock, I always wind up singing it in a soulful way. Who knows? I might do a country song, reggae, rock, I don’t know. But, definitely, my soul will always shine through.”
On iTunes: Both of the StorySide B albums are still available. So is the studio version of Preston’s audition song.
For profiles of other Season 5 contestants, go here.
Preston Pohl, “Pumped Up Kicks”
Preston Pohl, “Wishing Well”