"Voice" winner Jermaine Paul electrified the crowd at the MLB Fan Cave in New York City on Thursday, concluding his East Coast press tour with a live performance for fans. He headed back to Los Angeles Thursday night to hit the studio and start recording new music.
"Their support is the leading reason why I'm here," he said at the event. "Harriman is God's country."
His brief homecoming allowed the rising star a chance to relax. Paul, a father of four, said that the first thing he did was "just sit on my couch for a second. After I sat on my couch I thought, 'wow we need a bigger house,'" he said. He also made time to visit his favorite local sushi spot, Haru, a place where his wife Melissa once worked.
Paul thanked local businesses, including The Captain's Table, Angelo's restaurant and Harriman Square Deli, for following his progress on "The Voice" and posting congratulatory signs after his win.
"It feels nice. People went out of their way to help support and rally that vote. And I'm just happy to represent New York," he said.
Born in Nyack and raised in Spring Valley and Harriman, Paul started receiving support for his vocal talents at a young age. Mrs. Brown, a music teacher from Hillcrest Elementary School in Spring Valley, was one of his earliest cheerleaders, he said.
"She was the one that told me that Michael Jackson had nothing on me," he said. "She told me when I was 10 years old that I could do this."
Paul had similar words of encouragement for his fans, who were treated to lively renditions of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" and Journey's "Open Arms," plus two of his original songs, the funky, hard-rocking "Cold Heart" and "Forgiveness," a more traditional ballad.
"If you've ever had a dream you wanted your whole life, don't ever give up," an emotional Paul said. "The minute you stop is the minute you're done."