By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Monday, April 18, 2016
I am on vacation April 13-26 but I did my best to keep this blog populated while I was gone, at least a little bit. If you have any news or would like to read other entertainment news, please go to Jennifer Brett (email@example.com) and her AJC Buzz blog and Melissa Ruggieri (firstname.lastname@example.org) at AJC Music Scene.
Jeffery Austin possesses a strong, smooth voice, the type that could certainly win a show like NBC's "The Voice."
Indeed, during season 9 last fall, he made it to the final four but was ultimately overshadowed by even bigger vocal behemoth Jordan Smith, who had the biggest opening week of any "Voice" winner in terms of album sales.
Now you can see Austin in the intimate confines of Decatur's Eddie's Attic, which has welcomed past reality show singers from "American Idol" such as Paul MacDonald, Crystal Bowersox, Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze.
Austin jumped into producing new music soon after the show ended in Los Angeles and is debuting some of those songs for the first time at Eddie's. "It's pop soul," he said, "similar to what I did on the show. I'm really proud of the material I've started to come up with. It's going to be a lot of break-up material. That was a trend on the show. It's now in my own words."
Austin was an underdog season 9 from day one. He only received a single chair turn from Gwen Stefani during the blind auditions. His battle round was "montaged." He made it to the finals via a Twitter save.
He was okay with that, aware that Smith was in position to win practically from day one. "Jordan and me were the two ballad singers of the season. As the front runner, he ran the risk of peaking early. [He still won so that didn't happen.] I was able to grow and take more risks."
Here's a sampling of his work on "The Voice," which showed his serious side with ballads by James Bay, Labrinth and Sugarland.
Austin said after the holidays, he put together his music and business team before hitting the studio. "It's been a whirlwind," he said. "I never stopped traveling. Did a bunch of appearances like the halftime show at a Carolina Panthers game with [Kennesaw resident and fellow season 9 finalist] Zach Seabaugh." (Seabaugh is doing Eddie's Attic himself May 12 at 9:30 p.m.)
He has a booking agent and has lined up a series of public concerts, corporate gigs and charity events. "Right now I am earning a living as a full-time musician," he said proudly.
Austin, before "The Voice," worked as a publicist in New York City on the Unilever Dove account. "It was a fun time, but I decided I'd rather starve and become an artist," he said.
When I asked who he was inspired by, he said he admired how Melanie Martinez of "The Voice" season 3 has leveraged her fame into a career. He also said he didn't want to be directly compared to current pop stars like Sam Smith and carve his own path. A favorite from the past: Lauryn Hill's "Miseducation" album from 1998.
Surprisingly, given how earnest he was on "The Voice," he dabbled in sketch and stand-up comedy in New York City while working as a publicist. "My first real steps into music was 'The Voice,' " he acknowledged.
7 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, 2016
515-B North McDonough St.