Paxton Ingram Is Keeping Things ‘D.I.R.T.Y’ After Stint on ‘The Voice’
Paxton Ingram may not have been the winner of The Voice Season 10, but as we've seen with past contestants on various singing competitions, you don't necessarily need to be the champion in order to forge a successful career in music.
Simply being a part of Blake Shelton's team and reaching the Top 8, Ingram's unique sound reached millions of music lovers, who learned more about his talents thanks to the NBC show.
"I created a new bond and experience and new mystery and new fans, who probably wouldn’t have been my fans or listen to me if I wasn’t on Team Blake," the pop-R&B singer shares. "If I went with the typical hip-hop guy, you know, it would have been, ‘Alright, I get it.’ But in trusting my gut, it led to new opportunities.”
Since being on The Voice, the 22-year-old Miami native hasn't slowed down his hustle: He released the critically acclaimed "Bad Luck" earlier this year and, more recently, "D.I.R.T.Y"
We had the chance to catch up with Ingram while he was in New York City for a performance at Pianos in the Lower East Side, where he opened up about life after the show, the new single, "D.I.R.T.Y," and why he'll always call Miami home.
“Yes, I am crazy, and being crazy led me to become a finalist. I think [The Voice] was just trusting my instincts, trusting my gut, going into the unknown and having faith in this blind path with Blake Shelton. I didn’t even know who he was before I came to the show. I was there for Pharrell. I really wanted Pharrell, but then there were things that didn’t add up. There was a reason I couldn’t say yes to Pharrell. That was so hard and trippy of a concept. I couldn’t believe [at the time time] that I was going to tell him, ‘No.'"
“Before I got on the show, they weren’t producing any talent post-The Voice. When you’re on the show, it’s hot and everyone’s talking about you. But once it’s done, even the winner doesn’t have the chance to become a household name like American Idol did and other reality shows. So I guess [on] our season, since it’s the tenth season, we were all like, ‘Something’s not right here.’ We were all songwriters. We were all in each other’s rooms and writing songs. We did whatever we could do.
I wrote a song that’s still being shopped around to other artists. I wrote that in the hotel with another friend of mine [from the show]. Being on the show and continuing the write, I was like, ‘I have to keep this up.’ I did it before I got on the show, but now I have to go full-force. I wanted to release a single right after the show. Even when I was still on The Voice, I was already writing and figuring it out and trying to be heard. I definitely flexed that muscle during the show, writing with the other contestants.”
“When I get a song, I usually hear the track first or we make up a cool little melody with the track. But I heard the track first with this one, and automatically it sounded so explosive and grimey. I thought, ‘This sounds dirty.’
So it’s a play on this idea of ‘dirty.’ And you know, when you think 'dirty,' it kind of turns into… well, that’s self-explanatory. It turns into things that are more mature. [Laughs] I wanted to explore a more mature context and sound as an artist, since being on The Voice is very family [oriented]. I’m in the process of becoming the artist and no longer the TV kid. I needed some mature context and break free.”
“When it comes to creating, I used to be very one-sided. I wanted to be the only one writing my songs. I didn’t want other writers. I didn’t want delivered songs. But now, I’m a more mature artist. And when it comes to creating, it’s very much the bigger picture.
It’s really not about the artist. Once you release it, it’s no longer yours, it belongs to the world and the fans. So who am I to say this is not what the world deserves?...I can’t have that ego trip. The biggest songs are sometimes the ones the artists had nothing to do with. It’s about being a mix of both: knowing what it takes to craft a song and what that looks like and how to do it. It’s also about listening to other songwriters. Don’t afraid of it.”
“We’re living in an age where the artist needs to be their own one-man team. We’ve got to be self-composed. The manager, the label, the PR, we have it because we have social media. So you can do it. Don’t just sit around and wait to find someone who can help you. No! You can literally do it yourself.”
“Ben is my music director and part of my band. I have a band back home. I’ve known him for years. We met at church. I was singing at church as a little kid, and I saw him grow up. He was talented and a cool dude, so when it came time to put my band together, I knew I had to have him. He’s so cool and young and talented and happy and funny. He’s dope to work with. He’s fire.”
“I credit [staying grounded] to my friends, my family, my spirituality. I try to stay as connected as possible and stay connected to a steady foundation. It’s so easy to becoming egotistical and to have this entitlement to you. But no one wants to work with that. I know when I witness it too much, I’m like, ‘Yikes!’
I’m a huge believer in people just loving people. It comes down to people just working with people. If I’m a cool dude, he'll want to work with me. But if I come in with some ego trip, then he’d be like, ‘Nah, chill. He could be great, but I don’t want to be around that.' So I try to be humble, be a people person and charm people. It’s free to be a nice person. It’s so much work to be an awful person.”
“There’s something about when I go there, it feels like home. I know everyone. I can go anywhere. I can move around. It’s home, and it’s electric. And it’s not your everyday city. It’s Miami.
It’s so culturally diverse. It’s a place where people go to vacation. So you get than energy. It’s chill, but we’re here to party and have fun. That’s my personality. And being around my friends, I don’t worry like I do in Los Angeles. In L.A., you’re always have to be on. And when I’m home, I’m just with my friends, and they still treat me like s---. And I like that. I think making Miami home kept me sane."
“I’m a huge believer in not letting the audience and the crowd dictate how I’m going to feel. I think it’s completely the opposite. I think what makes a star is when Michael Jackson got onstage and changed the room. The energy just shifts and changes because he demands that attention. So I’m just a big believer of that atmosphere. Whether it’s 10 people or a thousand people, prove that it’s showtime. It doesn’t matter who’s watching. It’s a show, and it has to mean something to somebody.”
“It was the biggest struggle. But now Miami is in this new season or new age where art is in the front now. Not all the way in the front, but it’s getting there. There’s more focus on the arts and music. We’re getting more sounds and festivals that cater to ears and listeners. But it’s still not where it needs to be, like New York or Los Angeles.
Bbefore I was on the show, there was nowhere like that. There was nowhere to be heard unless I was rapping or singing Spanish-language songs. I felt very restricted, so I would sing at church because it was the only place I could be heard and not compromise myself.”
“My advice would be: trust the process. Not only trust it, but you should enjoy it. Live it because we all want to get to the finish line. No one wants to go through A, B, C, D, but go straight to Z. It’s all about the finish line for the people. And I’m a victim of that, too. But the beauty is in the waiting. The magic happens in the waiting. Your story is told in the process, in the journey to get there. It sucks. It’s annoying. It’s stupid. But you’ve got to go through it because, without it, you won’t have anything to say.”
“The visual for ‘D.I.R.T.Y’ just came out. It’s my first visual. I’ve never done a visual before. It’s sick.
This year is going to be more music and more content. I want to travel more. I want to get to those places where my fans are. That’s the most difficult thing to do after the show is getting [touring] right so I can get to where they are. It takes much more muscle than the average person things."