We didn't really get to know Chris Cauley during his brief time on The Voice
, which is a shame. The Georgia native who delivered a unique arrangement of Bruno Mars' "Grenade" is incredibly personable, charming and has his own story to tell. We caught up recently to talk about his career past and present, his much-talked-about battle round, and the unique reason why he joined Team Adam.
Although his tenure on the show was not that long, this was far from his first rodeo. Explained Chris, "I've been a professional musician for like nine, ten years now. I've been touring colleges, I did a Tyler Perry play, a lot of stuff, really. I'm also a writer and guitar player." We could even have seen him on the show last season: "Apparently they tried to get me last year but I was overseas. I never even heard they were trying to get me," he said with a laugh.
He does have a connection to season one: another member of Team Adam, season one champion Javier Colon
. "I had known of Javier for years and we have a mutual best friend," he told me. "As soon as I saw Javier [on the show], I was all, 'If he's doing it, there must be some credibility.'"
So Chris decided to take the plunge in season two, and went into his blind audition with his future coach Adam Levine in mind, for a variety of reasons. "I definitely wanted Adam because I'd heard good things through Javier," he said, adding that "I actually had a dream a few days before auditions that Adam and I were hanging out at the pool at his house. I don't even know if he has a pool," he added with a chuckle. Factually correct or not, he took the dream as a sign.
"However," he continued, "I was struggling on my audition day. I wasn't feeling well at all. My voice was gone. You can hear a big difference between the battle and my blind [audition]...but now it's on YouTube for life!"
Even though he was under the weather, his arrangement of "Grenade" still got the front man of Maroon 5 to push his button. "That was amazing," Chris told me, with nothing but praise for his coach. "He was just so cool. Obviously, I don't have near the experience of the others - I think [my] total time spent with him was maybe two hours - [but] he was so chill, he was so funny.
"He genuinely respects us as artists," he elaborated. "We're not contestants to him; he realizes that a lot of us are no joke. The respect thing goes a long way with me. [And] I loved him being so humble. I was a huge fan, and he knew it, of his music, and now I'm a fan of him as a dude."
Chris's battle round, in which he and eventual finalist Tony Lucca
sang U2's "Beautiful Day," was a conversation piece itself. The video of said battle ended up being removed from NBC's official The Voice
YouTube account and has yet to be reposted. (But you can see a fan-uploaded version here
It might have something to do with the fan fervor over the results. "I remember the night I actually heard from somebody from the show, and they were like 'Have you seen these comments?' I'd say 98 percent of them were angry," Chris told me. "I actually had a buddy run into Tony in Austin at South by Southwest; apparently [Tony] even told him that he'd been getting some pretty nasty things."
Yet while Chris appreciates that the audience loved what he did in the battle round, he stressed that supporting him shouldn't come at Tony's expense. "I thought I did well, and I'm proud of that," he explained. "But at the same time, Tony's so great and I love what he does. He's a friend of mine; I respect him so much."
And knowing that he lost to his team's finalist, a man that several people - including Javier and Tony Vincent
- have said they expected to win the entire competition, "That makes it a lot easier and I couldn't be more proud of him."
Chris also shed a light on one of the fans' most frequently asked questions during season two: why we were not able to download the actual battle round duets on iTunes. "I think it was an awkward vibe last year in the studio. It's a pretty stiff competition, and whoever lost the battle, now they've got to go sing it in the studio with the winner," he said, "and they were saying that the general public wouldn't want to hear the loser. That was their kind of justification."
Many fans expressed that they saw the recording change as a slight to the losing artist, and Chris admitted that "it kind of feels like that, to be honest." Perhaps with that in mind, as well as the feedback from the fans, NBC will reconsider that decision for season three.
But don't worry about him. He wants you to know that regardless of the length of his time in the competition, "I really did have an absolute blast," coming away with friendships and fond memories. If you enjoyed Mathai's version of "Ordinary People," you might be interested to know that Chris had a part to play in that choice. "That was my idea a long time ago," he told me, saying that he suggested the song to her and then "she literally pulled the lyrics up on her phone, and I started playing my guitar, and she just murdered. I said, 'You really need to do that for a live show. You need to tell Adam.' Adam loved our video of it
In addition to his close friendship with Mathai, Chris said, "I'm the biggest James Massone fan in the world, and Jamar [Rogers]...I just miss them all."
That's the kind of guy Chris Cauley is. He could be bitter about his early exit, or get caught up in the buzz around it, but he would rather talk about how much he enjoyed his time spent with his coach and colleagues, and what he's looking forward to now that he's had that experience.
"I'm really excited about my management," he told me. "I signed with Red Light Management
which is very, very big. When I started playing guitar, I was a massive Dave Matthews fan and started learning his songs, and I'm with the same management now." (Trivia tidbit: Red Light also works with Alicia Keys, whom season two winner Jermaine Paul used to sing backup for.)
As far as specific next steps, Chris says that he's not ruling any opportunity out. "We're just kind of going the organic route. I'm recording an EP this summer, and there's some theater talk on Broadway, even."
Adam's influence is also part of Chris's future plans. Describing his new sound, "I'm working on a new project that's somewhat Maroon 5 meets Michael Jackson; not as rock-driven, a little more funk-driven," he said, adding of the Grammy-winning band, "I think they're getting better and better now."
He's a consistently positive person, no matter what. There's only one thing he's a little hard on and it's himself. "I just can't listen to myself, period," he admitted with another laugh. But he's got plenty of us who want to listen to him - not just as an artist, but as an individual.To keep up with Chris, be sure to follow him on Twitter (@chriscauley) and visit his official Facebook page. For more on The Voice, you can follow my Voice-exclusive Twitter at @bigredchairs.Image courtesy of NBC