On NBC’s “The Voice,” Caleb Sasser wowed the judges and audience, but he credits his years of rejection for making him into a success today.
Sasser, a Goldsboro, North Carolina native, began auditioning for talent shows in high school. That’s when the years of rejections began. Although those rejections were painful to deal with, Sasser said it motivated him to keep going. “That’s what’s been keeping me going. Hearing, no, and wanting to prove them wrong. It’s also my dream and my passion, so I can’t stop, and I won’t stop.”
That motivation paid off on NBC’s “The Voice,” when Sasser sang Toni Braxton’s “Another Sad Love Song.” His rendition thrilled the audience, but within a few notes, had already inspired two judges, Niall Horan and Gwen Stefani, to turn their chairs around to face him (on “The Voice,” the four judges always begin with their back to the signer and only turn around if they admire the singer’s voice.) Next, judge Reba McEntire turned around, and eventually John Legend was won over. Sasser had earned a coveted “four-chair turn.”
Sasser is currently in the studio working on his first album, which is due out by March 2024.
The man with the golden vocal cords spoke with Zenger News about his time on “The Voice,” and life after the show.
Zenger: Considering your success achieved on “The Voice,” how is everything going ?
Sasser: Everything is going amazing. I couldn’t wish or plan for better timing for everything. Everybody always asks me; how do I feel about the show. I had a great time on the show, and I feel like I got everything I needed from it. My time was used wisely, so I’m happy.
Zenger: Was it bittersweet to not advance?
Sasser: I would say it was bittersweet in that moment because I definitely wanted to stay. But I feel like from my 3 episodes I got in, I was able to use my voice, touch the world, and inspire some people. The exposure that I have been getting from that has been great.
Zenger: You released a streaming version of your cover of Toni Braxton’s “Another Sad Love Song.” Has any of the response been overwhelming or somewhat expected?
Sasser: They kind of prepared us for this a little bit. To be in the eye of the storm as they would say, I wouldn’t say it’s overwhelming, but sometimes it can be a lot. But I’m learning to balance and handle all of this because it comes with the life.
Zenger: This journey has not been easy for you. You’ve dealt with several rejections during auditions. What kept you pursuing this dream?
Sasser: It did get very discouraging when I was doing those auditions and I kept receiving, no after no. I have been auditioning since I’ve been of age, so my sophomore year in high school. I’ve been hearing, no, so that’s been my drive. That’s what’s been keeping me going. Hearing, no, and wanting to prove them wrong. It’s also my dream and my passion, so I can’t stop, and I won’t stop.
The blind audition [on “The Voice”] itself was probably the least nerve-racking part because their backs were turned towards me. It was really me singing to their backs for a couple of seconds. That was the easiest part for me. I feel like it got harder once they were turned around and actually looking at me, facing me, and judging me.
Zenger: What was it about John Legend that made you select him to become a part of Team Legend?
Sasser: I looked up to him and I am inspired by his artistry throughout the years. I love his songwriting and how he takes it and makes it so vulnerable. That was a no-brainer for me because he is somebody that I have always wanted to sing with and work with.
Zenger: Did you choose “Another Sad Love Song” to cover or did the show?
Sasser: So, I didn’t necessarily get to choose that song out of the blue. They gave me a list of about 400 songs. And I had to choose about 20 of them. About a month before the audition, they told me that this was going to be the song, which I was happy because it was the number one song on my list. I done a cover of “Another Sad Love Song” about a year ago on Instagram. It was just a minute of it. It was kind of similar, but I was able to polish it a little bit more and sing it the way that I wanted to on the show. I feel like I nailed it to the best of my ability at the time. There is always going to be moments where you feel, I could’ve breathed better there or hit that note better. In that moment, I feel like my spirit and my soul touched people, so I think I did a great job for myself. I am usually hard on myself, but I felt good about that.
Zenger: How do you plan on capitalizing on the momentum you built in 2023, this year?
Sasser: I plan on capitalizing by continuing to put out music, to be my authentic self as an artist, and really just drive. Singing in LA and all over America. Now that I’ve been on “The Voice,” I have been getting bookings here and there, so really just getting my name out there and let my voice be heard.
Zenger: How has the southerner adjusted to Los Angeles life?
Sasser: I love LA. I’ve been telling my family since I was a kid that I was going to move out to LA. I’ve been here for about 2 years, and it’s been a dream. Probably one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Zenger: What can we expect when you release some new music?
Sasser: I am working on an EP that is coming out the first quarter of this year. I don’t have a specific date yet, but it’s coming very soon.
Zenger: How would you describe the genre of music you will be releasing?
Sasser: I like to say that my genre is a singer-songwriter-soul. You get to hear a little bit into my life and how I view things, and how I relate that as an artist. As well as hearing how I navigate through different types of melodies, songs, and genres as well. I take pride in my songwriting because it’s connected to me. Whenever I write a song, I feel like it’s my baby and I’m connected to it. I’m giving you vulnerability throughout those songs. I’m really close with my songs. Sometimes I don’t wanna let them out because of how vulnerable it is, but that’s the beauty of songwriting, other people are going to connect to your story, and those are people that are going to follow you for life.
Zenger: Do you keep in touch with other Team Legend members?
Sasser: I definitely made a community with my “Voice” family and Team Legend. We all still stay in contact. We have a group chat. Everybody was really nice, and it created some nice loving relationships that I feel like I will have for life.
Zenger: Do you read comments about your music or stay away from them?
Sasser: I try to stay away from them, but if I’m being honest, I’ve read quite a bit of them (laughing). I take a little bit of joy in reading that some people are upset about certain things. It’s a TV show, and its music, and it still touched you in a certain way, even if somebody didn’t particularly like it the most, they still had a comment about it, so it affected them.