Troy Ramey has learned to keep his eyes open.
“It’s one of those things that if I was playing at Rockwood [Music Hall, on the Lower East Side], I would never think twice about standing there and closing my eyes when I felt a song,” said the Sea Cliff singer-songwriter, who has made the Top 20 of this season of “The Voice.” “You can’t do stuff like that on TV. . . . It’s an interesting challenge.”
And the challenge is only increasing the deeper Ramey gets in the competition. On Monday night, “The Voice” begins the live rounds (8 p.m. on NBC), adding another level of intensity to the experience.
“I thought I was getting used to this pressure, but now this is live TV,” he said. “It’s a whole new level of pressure.”
Ramey isn’t allowed to discuss what he will perform for this round of the singing competition, though he did say that his coach, Gwen Stefani, picked the song for him. “It’s really beautiful,” he says. “And it’s right up my alley.”
Ramey said he did try to put his own spin on the song, as he did with Sia’s “Chandelier” in the show’s Knockout round last week. And as “The Voice” cameras captured last week, there was another slight disagreement between Ramey and his coach about how much he could reinterpret the melody. It’s a balancing act between Ramey expressing his creativity and honoring the original melody, something that is a priority for Stefani. “It’s helpful to have her bring me back to the real world,” he said, adding that Stefani’s biggest advice to him has been, “Just be yourself.”
Ramey says he is able to cope with the show’s pressure better because he is happy where his career stood before the show, picking up plenty of Spotify plays for his independently released songs like “Coward” and “Song Man.”
“It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure,” he said. “But I know this is not the end of the world. It is only the beginning of my career.”