Blake Shelton convinced the 29-year-old, four-chair turn to pick him over Gwen.
The Live Playoffs continue on season 22 of The Voice as the Top 10 sing fan-selected songs in hopes of making it to the finale. One of the artists in the forefront is 29-year-old Bodie from Ladera Ranch, Calif., a member of Team Blake Shelton, who has a good shot at making it all the way considering his unique combo of singing ability and charisma.
Bodie was a four-chair turn, so he had his choice of all the coaches—Blake, Gwen Stefani, John Legend or Camila Cabello, and even though he is a native California and not a country boy, Bodie made the surprising choice—even to himself—of picking Blake as his coach.
“Going into it, I was sure I was going to pick Gwen or Camila,” Bodie told Parade in this exclusive interview. “I’m very strategic in really everything I’ve been doing on the show including coach choice. And I’m a big fan of Gwen. I knew that she was going to understand my weird, unique style of music, but also how I want to dress, how I want to act, and all this. I just felt like she would get me the most.”
John was never a consideration for Bodie because he was aware that John always lands a lot of powerhouse singers, but he also thought that he might relate to Camila, as a fresh, young, new coach on the scene, but in the end, he went with the tried-and-true cowboy.
“The long and short of why Blake is what he said to me,” Bodie explained. “Some of it aired, some of it was edited out, but I could just tell he had vision for me. I knew that if I chose him and I worked with him and I worked hard, I could just sense that he was going to believe in me and continue to root me on. And I’m glad I picked him because time and time again he’s shown that he’s believed in me and picked me to be the winner.”
One of the ways that Blake has displayed his belief in Bodie is the way he coaches. According to Bodie, Blake doesn’t just say things to get him excited or “gas him up,” and he doesn’t over coach, i.e., just give him notes because he feels like he must. And it is much appreciated.
“He has given me very few notes over the past couple months of working with him and they’ve always been home-run notes,” Bodie said. “Even something as simple as, ‘Hey, I think at this part you should belt it instead of sing it in your head voice.’ And then I’d try it and it would change the whole dynamic of that part of the song and it was a great idea. It wasn’t so much a life-changing thing that he said that changed my artistry forever, but it was more of me appreciating how intentional he is with the notes that he gives. He’s not really trying to prove anything, if he has an idea, awesome. If he doesn’t, you’re doing great, sounds good, keep doing what you’re doing.”
And that is the game plan for the remainder of the competition, to keep doing what he’s doing, which is to make song choices that reflect who he is as an artist, whether or not they are in his lane, but that he can also craft into his own unique style. An example of this was his Knockout Round version of Post Malone’s “Better Now,” which, even though it’s in his wheelhouse, he still flipped it enough, so it had a fresh approach and wasn’t a copy of the Post Malone version.
“For my song choices, I want to make sure I enjoy the song, but outside of that I don’t really get too married to the song itself because I always like to change it up,” the singer/songwriter said. “I like singing opposite gender songs. I like singing female songs but ironically, I’ve only been singing guy songs thus far. But that’s one thing I like to put on my song list and my song choices, is just songs that are different than me so that I can make them even more different.”
During our chat, Bodie also told Parade how he came to be on Season 22 of The Voice, his strategy for the Live Playoffs, his trademark hats, and more.
What led you to your decision to audition for The Voice in the first place? Or was it one of those instances where they found you?
I think it was in 2016, maybe 2017, years before COVID when they still were getting everyone together at the convention center and you’d wait in line for five hours and sing in a group of five people. They'd pick you and then you moved onto the next round, and the next round, and the next round.
So, I did that back then, I went through a couple of rounds, and I almost made it to the Blinds. And after that I was just so sure I was going to be on the show, so when I didn’t get the call to come to L.A. for the Blinds I was really bummed.
And so, I just moved on from that and didn’t really think about ever coming back. But then, yeah, they reached out to me a couple times between 2019 till now. And finally, it was around this time last year, I got an email from someone in casting and they’re like, “It’s all virtual, you don’t have to go anywhere, just send us a video.” And I was like, “You know what? I’m going to do it. I was so sure I was going to be on the show back then, maybe that’s not the end of my story working with NBC and The Voice.”
So, I submitted my video and a year later now we’re getting ready for live shows.
What’s your approach to The Voice?
I would just say I went in confident in my ability but really unaware of how the process was going to be. So, I’m so excited that I’m here. Part of me is surprised, part of me is not, because I know what my strengths are. A little bit of surprise but also some confidence for sure.
Was the three-way Knockout Round harder because by then you were friendly with your teammates, and you had to go up against Kevin Hawkins and The Dryes?
Totally. And I’ll say too, Kevin and The Dryes, I told them probably week one of Blinds, I was like, “It’s us three going to the live shows together,” and we got close. So then to find out that the three of us were paired up to go against each other not only made it hard because we were acquainted, but we were friends that had hoped to go together to the live shows. It was even harder for us and pretty dang emotional for us to go up against each other.
What’s the long-term dream? Whether you win this or not, what are you hoping The Voice does for your music career?
On the show I’ve already grown so much vocally but the plan is utilizing the platform and the exposure to get me out on tour doing what I’ve been doing. Get me out there working with bigger artists, writing songs with bigger artists. I would love to get on a tour with another artist that I look up to and just continue further in this career. The exposure alone has really been such a blessing.
Only one person can win The Voice, so do you think even just making it to the finale is winning?
Heck, yeah. I’m here because I felt like God told me to do this, and I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t feel that way. And so, I’ve been asked this question so many times, “Do you want to win?” “How do you feel?” “Do you think you’re going to win?” And I’m just so fully submitted to God’s plan, so I already won to me.
I know that sounds kind of cliché, but this has just been such a cool experience. If I make it to the finale, awesome. If I win the show, awesome. If I’m out after this next round, it was still such an awesome experience. So yeah, I would say no matter where we are at this point, I’ve been so affirmed by the coaches and by America that I’m just ready to roll.
Speaking of ready to roll, you have previously released music, but do you have a few things that you’re holding back to release for when The Voice is over?
Oh, yeah, I have a lot more stuff that’s going to showcase my vocal ability. I’ve never really shown my vocal ability like I have on the show, so my new stuff is going to show a lot more of what I can do and it’s going to be great.
How much of your own music do you write?
I’d say 85 to 99 percent.
Are you a solo writer?
My wife writes with me a lot, and I work with one other producer sometimes. But it’s a pretty small group.
Before you were on The Voice, were you making a living with music or did you have to have a day job?
Day job. I’m self-employed, but yeah, I’m definitely not just supporting myself off my music. I make videos and photos. My wife and I are photographers, videographers, so we shoot for brands, we do weddings, and corporations is our thing. I also teach at my university that I graduated from.
Vanguard University in Orange County. I teach a songwriting course and, also, they call me a worship coach. I hate that term but I help with one of the music ensembles on campus, it’s a church music group.
Let’s talk about your trademark hats. You talked about how you thought Gwen would understand you because maybe she loves to dress up and her music tastes are very eclectic. But your hats started out of necessity, you have alopecia, but now they seem to be part of your personality. Would you say that’s true?
Oh, heck, yeah. I love the hat and my white hair combo. That’s what I look like now; it’s kind of my thing the hat and the white hair. I would say that the hat is just my look. The beanie, I’m venturing out because I’m super adventurous. I’m starting to wear other types of hats now which is a big deal for me. But I would say that the hat is my staple look. You’ve got to have a hat to accessorize the outfit, so it works well for me.
Has anybody reached out to you since you’ve been on the show? A record producer, another writer, another artist, something that has been special and touched you?
I’ve had some artists reach out to me. I’m hoping for some cool people reaching out, but so far it’s just been a lot of really cool artists, a lot of sweet, creative types that have either said how much I’ve inspired them or they’d love to work with me. But nothing major yet, still waiting.
Well, maybe you’ll sing somebody’s song, that’s usually what happens. You do your own version of it and then they text you.
That would be incredible. Waiting for Post Malone to shoot me a message.
You have three children, what do they think about you being on TV? Do you let them watch?
Yeah, they’re so excited. My eldest is 5 and he was with me on my Blind Audition day and he was just so excited. He wasn’t allowed to tell anyone who I chose and, of course, he was telling everyone in our church. I’m like, “You gotta stop telling everybody.” But he was telling everyone he’s famous now. He just says, “My dad’s famous,” or he says that he’s famous. And then he’s signed a couple autographs, so it’s definitely gone to his head a little bit.
But then the other two, my wife will send me videos of them watching the episode. They love seeing me sing and they love seeing little pictures or videos of B-roll of them on the TV, too. They’re so excited. My youngest is 2 1/2, my eldest is 5, and my other one just turned 4 [in early November], so they’re all very, very excited. It’s been so fun to show them what it looks like to chase the passion and dream.
The Voice airs Monday and Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.