After working the stage and her vocal range with Aretha Franklin's "Baby I Love You," New Orleans singer Casmè became the newest member of Team Legend on "The Voice" Monday night.

"What a beautiful rendition of that song," judge/coach John Legend told the singer after her blind audition. "It's soulful, full of energy and spunk. … I love your energy, I love the way you perform, I love your vibe."

Legend, the only one of the four coaches to turn his chair around (signaling his interest in securing the singer for his team), said he was looking forward to working with her this season on the NBC reality competition series.

After saying she enjoys dabbling in different musical genres, Casmè asked her new coach, "Can we mix it all up, John? Can we mix it up like the gumbo in New Orleans, baby?"

"Let's mix it up!" Legend yelled.

The oldest of eight children, 39-year-old Casmè was born next door to the St. Thomas public housing development in the Crescent City.

"There was a lot of laughter, a lot of singing," she said on the show. "I was taught early on to go after my dreams and also to help people along the way."

Prior to her audition's airing, Casmè took time for a few quick questions:

Were you born and raised in New Orleans? Do you live there now?

Yes, I was born and raised in the 10th Ward, then Algiers. I graduated from Edna Karr Magnet High School in 1998. I attended Dillard University, then moved to Nashville (for 10 years) to attend Tennessee State University. Then, I moved to Atlanta for 5½ years and back to NOLA because I missed my family and my city! I’m here now!

When did you start singing? Do you have any formal training?

I started singing when I was 2, my mom says. No formal training officially, but as a background singer for B.o.B. (Bobby Ray Simmons Jr.) we had an amazing vocal coach helping us to execute our breathing and song delivery. She was awesome.

You seem to have a multi-faceted career. What do you consider your day job?

Management — I’m presently managing my music career, three new businesses and a mentoring program/girls club.

What does a typical day for you look like?

I pretty much do whatever I want every day. I grew up with two entrepreneur parents. I pray, meditate, read my daily devotional, jog the levee, play basketball or do yoga (new to my regimen) then breakfast, write out a to-do list, then attack it full force.

And some fun facts here: I have seven siblings so I try to communicate with them all daily, and mom and dad. Also, I try to cook dinner for my hubby and me early because I start to get sleepy when it gets dark outside.

Were you a fan of "The Voice" before this, and why this show over any others?

Yes, I was. They seemed genuinely interested in the voice, the vocalists. It’s so cool to not get judged by your skin color, weight or fashion image. It’s just about one’s voice. I think it’s pretty authentic and genius. I’ve seen singers ridiculed or made fun of on other talent competitions. Seems anything for likes and views. I don’t like that.

What’s your musical style and who are your influences?

I’m a gumbo artist — a mix of pop, funk, jazz, blues, rock and a lot of soul. My roux is love! I am always singing about love. Self-love, God’s love, love in relationships and love for life. Influences are Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, John Legend, Sade, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Lauren Hill, Beyoncé, India Arie, Monica, Brandy and Eryka Badu.

When did you audition for the show, before or during the pandemic? If during, how did it affect the process?

I auditioned in Nashville originally. My callback was in California, which was during the pandemic. We had to have Zoom meetings, test for COVID regularly and self-isolate/quarantine to keep everyone safe. I enjoyed the quiet/"me time," but did miss my family and human interaction.

Do you have any prior TV experiences?

I have been on quite a lot of TV shows/movies/commercials as an extra and/or background singer or backing dancer, not as a feature. So this is pretty exciting. A dream come true!

What will be your strategy going forward in the competition?

To be my authentic, humble, loving, caring, hardworking and mushy self (I cry really easily) and to also show versatility. I really don’t like talent competition shows though, if I can be honest, because I feel God gave us all something amazing and special. Who can honestly say this one is better than that one? I am on the show to simply share my gifts, my spirt, my energy and voice with the world. Not so much to battle or knock anyone out of the show.

Is anyone else in your family musically inclined?

Both parents sing pretty well. Mom grew up singing and did a few pageants in her high school days. She and Dad sang mostly around our house and at church.

You mentioned that you're a newlywed. Would you share a little about your husband?

Gary Carter Sr., my heart. We met when I was volunteering to feed the homeless and community at Sen. Troy Carter’s (Gary’s brother) annual Thanksgiving dinner at Behrman Gym in 2016. We married in Destin, Florida. The wedding went viral because I had 34 bridesmaids, lol!


'The Voice'

7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday

NBC: For cable viewers, that's WVLA, Channel 33 (cable Channel 3 in Baton Rouge), KLAF, Channel 15 (cable Channel 3 in Lafayette) and WDSU, Channel 6 (cable Channel 7 in New Orleans).

https://www.nbc.com/the-voice


Email Judy Bergeron at jbergeron@theadvocate.com.