Every season, The Voice has had that loveable personality who walks in and lights up the room. Last season it was Nakia, and in season two, it was undoubtedly Team Adam’s Kim Yarbrough.
Onstage, Kim brought us a truly impressive set of pipes on songs like “Tell Me Something Good” and “Rolling In The Deep.” She was the gospel singer who was considered too old for the American Idol demographic – but their loss was undoubtedly The Voice‘s gain, as she enchanted audiences every time she stepped out.
When the lights weren’t on, though, Kim was also the show’s motherly figure, bringing the benefit of her experience to the younger singers and making everyone feel at home. From the moment I met her, I felt like she was an old friend, and every time we saw each other afterward, she still made me feel that way. She’s a truly classy lady who always treated everyone around her with respect and love, as well as a consistently positive attitude. She’s everything The Voice stands for in terms of what it looks for in contestants, and everything it should be as far as how those contestants conduct themselves.
She enjoyed the experience just as much as we enjoyed having her be a part of it – if not moreso. “It was beyond what I thought it was going to be. I went into it not really knowing what to expect, and just getting way more than what I expected,” she said with a laugh. “I was like Alice in Wonderland and I just fell down the rabbit hole. The whole thing was just a surreal, fantastic, wonderful experience. I grin from ear to ear every time I think about that. How many people would love to have that experience?”
“From the very beginning, they treated us like superstars,” she continued. “Everything was top of the line. They made it a point to say ‘You guys are artists.’ I tell people all the time, if you’re going to choose a singing reality show to audition for, The Voice is the one. I was just more and more floored down the entire process.”
Like many of her colleagues before her, Kim made a point of talking about how much she misses the people involved in the show. “I miss the artists. I miss the staff. I miss Valerie, our manager. I miss the producers. I miss all the guys in the band. You get attached to them,” she explained. In particular, she’s still fond of her fellow members of Team Adam, including Katrina Parker and Nathan Parrett. “When all of us were together, I would make sure that I let them know, ‘You are the greatest team ever. Everybody’s even-tempered, nobody’s crazy in a bad way.’ We had the best team,” she told me (and I certainly agree with her!).
Perhaps the person she misses most is her coach. “I miss Adam Levine terribly. I really do. He’s such a great guy,” she said. “I keep remembering, with Adam, less is more. That’s one thing that he really drilled into my head, and he’s so right. I’m used to performing in musicals [where] you have to be bigger than life when you’re onstage. It’s a little bit of a different technicality [on television]. I have found, even in my live performances since I’ve left the show, that it’s really true. Less is more.”
“I would so love to work with Adam, I can’t even tell you,” she enthused. “I would love to collaborate with Robin Thicke; he was my advisor on the show. I would love to work with Cee Lo [Green]. I hear he does crazy things like pianos in the ceiling. What I’m hoping is [that] somebody’s going to remember the big girl with the big voice.”
Yet Kim has a lot on her plate right now even on her own. “I just finished the second song on my upcoming album to be released in 2013. I started working on it before I even auditioned for The Voice,” she told me. She’s also performing on the main stage at Los Angeles Gay Pride on June 9, and is about to take the stage in a gospel play entitled Let The Church Roll On at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre from June 30-July 1.
“It’s being produced by Don B. Welch Productions. People are calling him ‘the up and coming Tyler Perry’ – he’s a writer, producer, he does it all,” she explained. “I’m just happy to be co-starring with Marla Gibbs and Jackee Harry [both of 227 fame].”
Acting isn’t new for her, either. “I am a television actress. I was doing that before I came to The Voice. I’ve probably been a successful working actor for the last four years.” Indeed, she’s had parts in episodes of Dexter, Bones and The Defenders.
Here’s something else you don’t know about KIm: “I play the violin. They had me carry around my violin during the blind auditions, because they thought at some point that I would be asked to play it. We never got a chance to do that. I would’ve loved to have had an opportunity to play on the show at some point.”
Although she didn’t make it to the end, you can also add Kim to the not-so-short list of people surprised but not necessarily upset by the final results of the season. “I was watching the iTunes numbers. And I thought, overall, that either Tony [Lucca] or Juliet [Simms] was going to come out the winner. They were consistently in the Top 5. I thought, ‘Surely it’s going to be Tony or Juliet.’ I was Team Adam all the way and I wanted Tony to win. I thought he was the contender,” she explained. “I did not see Jermaine [Paul] coming. I’m happy that he won, but I didn’t see that coming.”
As for her, there’s one thing she wants to make clear. “I’m really not the diva that people claim me to be,” she told me with a laugh. “I’m not afraid to let my hair down.” As someone who had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with her, I can vouch for Kim and say that ‘diva’ is the farthest word from my mind when her name comes up.
In fact, more than anything, she expresses a wonderment toward and deep gratitude for the experience that The Voice allowed her to have. She summed it up so perfectly: “I will never forget this experience I had with this show, with this set of people, because it will never happen again.”
To keep up with Kim, you can follow her on Twitter (@kimyarbrough) and visit her official website. For more on The Voice, you can follow my Voice-exclusive Twitter at @bigredchairs.
(Image courtesy of Kim Yarbrough)