It was the right song at the right time.
Since leaving the band Driveblind, singer Terry McDermott says he looks for any opportunity to make music, and often writes just for the sake of the craft. But when the opportunity came to collaborate with friend Todd Burman on a few songs, there was only one thing that could stand in the way.
McDermott first met Burman when Driveblind was on tour with Burman’s band Juke Cartel, and the two struck up an immediate friendship. But as people in touring bands often do, the pair eventually went their own separate ways. It was a mutual friend who would later reconnect them, but the reunion would be short lived as McDermott was already gearing up to compete on NBC’s ‘The Voice”.
After finishing second on the show to Cassadee Pope, McDermott once again reached out to Burman to complete the hook-laden single, “Pictures”; a song well worth the wait and one which immediately rose to #1 on the iTunes Rock Singles chart less than a week after it was written, recorded and mastered. With a second single already waiting in the wings to coincide with an EP and European tour, McDermott shows no sign of slowing down.
I spoke with McDermott to get the inside scoop on “Pictures” as well as his time on The Voice and what the future holds.
How did the song “Pictures” come together?
Todd had sent me a few pieces of music to introduce me to his style of writing [he was already aware of mine from my bands Driveblind and Lotus Crush]. On one of the pieces he sent, I heard something that really pricked my ears. But by that point, I was already committed to going on “The Voice”, so I told him we’d need to back track for a little bit and then meet up after it was over.
He was a big supporter while I was on the show, and the first thing I did when it was over was call him, and we picked up right where we left off. We went to his house in Hollywood and sat there with a guitar and solidified everything really quickly. I remember we both had a similar vision of what we wanted the song to be about, but from different angles. I was looking at it more from the point of a lost love or girlfriend, and Todd was looking at it as more of a family member.
How did you get on The Voice?
I was looking forward to doing a summer tour with Lotus Crush, but found out that Candlebox also had planned a summer tour that year. [Members of Lotus Crush included some who were also involved in Candlebox]. So I was looking at a seven-month gap where touring wouldn’t be possible. Around that same time, I got a phone call saying that my name had come up with a producer asking if I’d be interested in being on the show.
What was the process and blind audition like for you?
There were a lot of layers of performing to go through before you actually get to the blind audition round, but one of things I remember most about the live round was that no one turned around until the very last second [laughs]. I was actually looking into the air holding a note and the last thing I saw was that none of the chairs had turned. There were only a few seconds to process it, but by that point I remember being resigned to the fact that I was going home. But then I looked down and there were three people facing me [Adam Levine, CeeLo Green and Blake Shelton].
There’s something special about the whole process of the show. It’s a serious business and can build careers, but there’s also an element of fun about it. It was exciting. For me, regardless of what happened I knew there was a set amount of time before the roller coaster ride eventually came to an end. So I was determined to enjoy every step of it. From the moment the chairs turned onward.
Was there a reason why many of the songs you performed on the show were classic rock?
That style of music is what inspired me growing up and made it very easy for me to enjoy my time on the show. Many people were also excited to hear that kind of music so it was great to go out and perform songs that I love so dearly.
Cassadee Pope went on to win the competition. What was your relationship like with her?
Cassadee and I became fast friends very early on. Our musical backgrounds are pretty similar, so we had a lot in common. She came from a signed rock band that had toured extensively, and once I heard her sing, she instantly had my respect. She has a great work ethic and the right attitude to succeed.
Was singing something you always wanted to do?
When I was young I really wanted to be an astronaut. I always was (and still am) passionate about space. My father and mother were both in the Royal Air Force and I used to think about how someone from the British Royal Air Force could wind up in space.
But then I heard The Beatles’ Sgt Peppers album for the first time and began having “terrestrial” dreams as opposed to “extraterrestrial” ones [laughs]. Once I started thinking about music and it got under my skin, there was no turning back.
What’s next for you?
I’m heading off to do a European tour next month and will be releasing an EP. We also have another track that’s been completed and we’re going to tie the release of the single with the launch of the tour. My new band has David Rosser (Afghan Whigs) on guitar; Eric Bolivar on drums and British bass player Alex Smith (World Leader Pretend). It’s a killer four piece. My goal is to take the band and go out and impress people, and much like ‘The Voice’, the only way to do that is to get in front of them and perform.