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'The Voice' contestant Terisa Griffin making artist friends

By Adam Lukach, @lucheezy

RedEye

1:27 PM CDT, October 10, 2012

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Terisa Griffin had piled up years of music experiences before auditioning for NBC's "The Voice." The 42-year-old moved to Chicago's South Side from Louisiana 19 years ago to pursue music. Her pedigree includes being mentored by Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Jerry Butler and performing for Oprah Winfrey. Griffin, who nows lives in Forest Park, runs a non-profit that assists students transitioning from home to college. RedEye talked to the Team Blake [Shelton] member about her audition process, her experience on "The Voice" and her favorite Chicago hangouts.

"The Voice" battle rounds have begun; tune in at 7 p.m. Mondays on NBC.

Talk about why you chose to sing Adele's "Someone Like You" for the blind audition.
When I first-first auditioned for the callbacks, they liked the way I sang that song. One of the rules is you sing something that's been recorded in the last two to four years. I needed something that wasn't too busy and allowed me to showcase my vocals. One of my friends told me a little background about Adele, because I don't listen to radio that much. I liked the fact that it was a piano song, which is a lot like the stuff I have on my own project. So that's one of the reasons I chose that song. They liked it, too, and got it cleared for me to sing it. You wanna do the one that they liked, you know?

What was the audition like?
I don't think there's ever been a time that I've gone on stage and haven't been nervous. It was more weird, trying to get someone to fall in love with your voice. While the audience may fall in love with you, you're not just trying to get the audience. You're trying to get these four other artists to turn around and have an ear for you.

What has been your favorite or most unexpected pleasure of being on the show?
Well, my favorite part or the coolest part has been meeting all the other artists. It's rare as an artist that you get to fall in love with other artists and get to know them as people, know their personalities and kind of fall in love with each other, which makes it harder to battle. Normally as artists we're so weird in so many different ways, so going to do something like this forces you to be around each other. You're sequestered in place that you can't tell people where you are. So you either make friends or you keep to yourself and become a recluse. It's a different vibe to sit around with other people who are so amazingly talented, and then you have to compete against them. It's extremely emotional, a whole other dynamic. But it's part of life. It's like if you're trying to get a Grammy or trying to get album together. You just wanna win, but you don't wanna hut anyone else.

Do you have any places that you like to hang out in the city?
I do. I used to perform at Green Dolphin [Street] years ago, now I actually can say there's some really cool spots. I do like the Aquarium. I'm pretty partial to that. I like hanging out at a club on the west side of town, Touch of the Past. It's just like a joint. It will have blues one night, Jamaican music another night. It's just a joint. If I'm downtown, I'm more partial to hang out at some of the drag queen clubs. They're hilarious. Actually I did that last night. There's not a lot of clubs, sadly, for performers. That's one of my biggest regrets.

What about favorite restaurants?
My favorite restaurant, if I have one, is Aria at the Fairmont [Hotel]. I just like the vibe. But as far as when I like to get down, Rosebuds on Taylor Street is my favorite. It has the most amazing Italian food.

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