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LOS ANGELES — Watching Ryan Innes give his soul and Orlando Dixon lend his technical skill to "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" on NBC's "The Voice" is the kind of experience that gives one chills. That moment gave Innes a similar feeling.
"That was a musical moment that I'm gonna remember forever," Innes said. "Having an opportunity to do that on camera has been interesting because a lot of times the cool moments with music happen in rehearsal or happen in the creation process or somewhere behind the scenes. There's no public arena involved. But what happened on the stage that night with Orlando and with that song, was just kind of the pinnacle and peak of the practice and our hard work."
Innes, of Provo, won Monday's round of "The Voice," while Dixon was "stolen" from Team Usher by Adam Levine, keeping him on the show.
But Innes said the powerful moment was a combination of the competitors' hard work, vision, and complementary strengths.
"There was a lot of intention in the beginning," Innes said. "This is what we want to have happen, we don't know how it's going to happen, but it will happen. So when we would rehearse and we would get into the nitty gritty and the details, some decisions had already been made because we knew where we wanted to go and we didn't have to worry about creating something in the moment. Our decisions from the beginning helped guide that."
Usher's match of artists has challenged both artists to imitate their counterpart more, and for Innes, who was kind of in a league of his own in Provo, the experience has improved his technique.
"Orlando and I are pretty different artists," Innes said. "He's very technical, he has a commanding control of his voice, of his instrument. He really has honed that. I am not as technical of a singer, but I am more of a motor, a soul, a connector of more of that gooey stuff. When we came together, it seemed like polar opposites, two sides of the spectrum, and I think it was a brilliant pairing of Usher because he saw the two sides of that and saw what we had to learn working together."
"I've never been challenged like that before by a vocalist, by a singer."
Innes has been in Los Angeles since the end of March for the show. He spends his day rehearsing, recording, in wardrobe, and being mentored by Usher.
"At the beginning I geeked out a little, 'Oh my gosh, this is Usher, oh my gosh,' but quickly I got over that," Innes said. "Because once he started to work with us and talk to us and explain things and open up to us, it felt more like a friend, it felt more like a confidante, it felt more like a peer."
Though the R&B singer and songwriter has been militant about training.
"He really is very passionate about his career and that's how he's treating us," Innes said. "He's really militant. And it all comes from a place of sincerity. It's very human, it's not just business, business, business."
Besides the training and exposure on the show, Innes said he has learned that there is a place in the industry for anyone who is willing to chase their dreams.
"A lot of times in the show we get into this mentality that there's only one winner and one person who's on, so then when you're getting into these top 48 and top 32, all of these people can just sing," Innes said. "They're such good singers and they're such good artists, and they all have a specific purpose. There's room for all of that talent in the industry, there's so many millions of different kinds of people out there."
Innes said that, more than anything, the well-wishes of friends and — though he won't use the word — fans, have meant the most.
"I'm feeling the love and I'm just overwhelmed at times at how nice people are," he said. "It does help me."