Terp Hits All the Right Notes on “The Voice”
Alum’s Audition Secures Spot on Team Adam in New Season
A Terp’s performance turned heads—and chairs—to close out Tuesday night’s episode of NBC’s “The Voice.”
Funsho Adenugba ’12 sang a soaring rendition of “Finesse” by Bruno Mars during his blind audition, prompting coaches Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson to slam the button to turn their chairs and show they wanted him to join their teams. Adenugba, who professionally goes by his first name, ultimately picked Team Adam.
“This performance is very, very meaningful. This could change my life,” Funsho said in an interview from Los Angeles yesterday. “But then I get on stage, and there’s this big crowd—it just feels like another performance. The fact that Adam turned around so early, that also made the rest of the performance much easier.”
Funsho, 29, was born in Lagos, Nigeria, where he lived until his family moved to Maryland when he was 7. Music played a role in his life from an early age, with his father listening to everything from country to R&B, his sisters singing in church and his mother sharing stories of her own youthful musical aspirations.
The Lanham, Md., resident became serious about performing while attending UMD as a psychology major. He took the stage at campus events, including Juke Joint, an open mic night at the Nyumburu Cultural Center, and at Art Attack, where he opened for Nelly. Self-taught on guitar, he released his debut album, “Love Acoustically,” in 2011, followed by “S.H.E. (Sounds Have Emotions)” in 2015.
He auditioned for “American Idol” and “The Voice” amid years of working to break through.
“Bruno is impossible. He’s one of the greatest singers,” Levine told Funsho on the show. “And that higher part of your voice shows me that you literally have it all. And it’s amazing to hear a vocalist that is so complete.”
Funsho went into this week’s audition hoping to land Levine as his coach, but the decision was a tough one, “especially with that cool jacket Kelly was showing me,” he said, referring to the shiny red Team Kelly attire Clarkson offered.
The blind auditions conclude on Monday, followed by the battle rounds, when two team members sing the same song together and their coach selects one to advance. The losing singer is available for another coach to steal.