Jermaine Paul, of Harriman, who was crowned winner of "The Voice," will be back in his hometown Saturday to celebrate his victory with family and friends.
“To see him succeed in this way is really powerful for us,” his sister, Wendy Paul, told Newsday on Friday.
The Orange County native beat out three contestants in the NBC singing competition Tuesday night to win the grand prize of $100,000 and a recording contract with Universal Republic Records.
Wendy, a pastor at the Harriman United Methodist Church, said she is ecstatic for her brother and was celebrating with “tears of joy” when “The Voice” host Carson Daly announced Paul’s win .
“This was the open door that allowed him to have the platform that he needed," Wendy said. "We’ve listened to him for years, and we were always going, ‘When is the whole world going to hear this?’”
Jermaine Paul continued his ride to stardom after his victory. On Wednesday, he appeared on "The Tonight Show" and told host Jay Leno about his post-win call from Alicia Keys, for whom he was previously a background singer. Then he returned to New York on Thursday before performing the Journey hit “Open Arms” on the “Today” show Friday morning.
Wendy said she was reminded of the moment when she and her siblings were children, performing Michael Jackson songs in front of each other. That’s one of the first times she realized the scope of Jermaine’s talent, when he was only about nine years old.
“We all got dressed up, and we all had our own sets,” Wendy recalled. “He did a set of ‘I Want You Back,’ and it was so awesome. He had my brothers [performing] behind him … We had so much fun, just acting crazy.”
Wendy said this week has been a whirlwind, especially with her family fielding phone calls and messages from the media, but she loves the reason for the excitement. “It’s been totally wonderful, because the recognition for his talent is so awesome,” she said.
Paul’s wife, Melissa, is similarly excited about her husband’s big win, she said on Friday, recalling that many tears were shed when the victory was announced. The couple have endured professional setbacks and frustrations as well as the rigors of a long-distance relationship. But she said it's all been worth the effort, and she's enjoying the time they can spend in New York before he returns to cut tracks in a Los Angeles studio.
Although no plans were finalized as of early Friday afternoon, Wendy said all of her siblings would be meeting up Saturday to figure out a way to celebrate the big victory with the local community.
In downtown Harriman, there were homemade congratulatory signs hanging in the windows of Angelo’s restaurant, Harriman Square Deli and other local businesses. Unfortunately the homecoming will be brief, as Paul has a slew of press opportunities back in New York City over the weekend, his wife said.
"We're just one step closer to achieving our family dream," Melissa said. "I'm just glad America agrees that we're on the right track, and they want to hear more from him. It feels good. I'd been trying to convince him, 'You've never got to give up,' because somebody wants to hear his music. And, it turns out, all of America does."