Niceville native Jared Herzog performed in a sing-off against Will Breman to Shawn Mendes’ song “Treat You Better” for the Battle Rounds on NBC’s “The Voice,” which aired Oct. 21.
NICEVILLE — Niceville native Jared Herzog had two choices after he lost in the Battle Rounds of NBC’s of “The Voice,” sorrow or joy.
He chose joy.
“If I look at this opportunity as anything but a privilege, I would be completely in the wrong,” Herzog said. “I didn’t think I would make it past the very first cattle call audition, the callback, executives. There I was standing and performing for some of the most incredible and inspiring artists and contestants in the world.”
Herzog sang Dan + Shay’s “Speechless” in the blind auditions for season 17, which aired Oct. 7, to advance to the Battle Rounds. He performed Shawn Mendes’ “Treat You Better” in a sing-off against Will Breman, which aired Oct. 21. Breman was chosen as the battle winner by coach John Legend.
Herzog, a Lee University student athlete, continues to lead worship music and hopes to work with producers in L.A. and Nashville. He also might throw together a gig band in Northwest Florida this summer.
Herzog spoke about his experience to Niceville High School’s leadership classes this past weekend. He also stopped by to see the Opus One chorus group.
“I got to speak a little to them and sing with them, which was really cool,” Herzog said. “I miss my Opus days.”
On ’The Voice’
Herzog bonded with Breman during their weeks spent rehearsing. The two still Facetime and text.
“I was honored to share the stage with him because he is an incredible musician, singer-songwriter and person overall,” Herzog said. “I had a lot of moments where I did not have the confidence going into the battle that I could win. He spoke a lot of life into me about how gifted I truly was and how he was just as intimidated by my voice as I was by his.”
Coaches Gwen Stefani and Kelly Clarkson raved about Breman’s stage presence, but also complimented Herzog’s technique.
“Your opening verse was so pretty,” Stefani said. “You’re way down there and you’re still in control of it.”
“Jared, she’s right,” Clarkson said. “You have this range — pretty amazing. The thing you have on Will is anytime you hit a big note, it’s projected to Mars.”
Herzog and Breman were both rooting for each other. Legend said both vocalists “stepped up,” but chose Breman as the winner.
“The first thing (Breman) did was he turned to me and apologized,” Herzog said. “He said, ‘I’m so sorry,’ I said, ‘Will, this is your moment, dude. Don’t worry about it.’”
Judges noted how well they performed together. Herzog thinks their paths might cross again.
“At the end of the day, he’s like a brother to me. He’s one of my best friends,” Herzog said. “If I see Will Breman again, people can expect that we’re gonna make some music together, because I think we have something very special … I’ve been encouraging everybody to cheer him on. If he could’ve had it his way — both of us — the goal was to make each other sound so good that both of us got through.”
Some social media commentators wondered why the coaches didn’t use a save to keep Herzog in the competition. Because his battle was on Day 2 of the Battle Rounds, the coaches had no steals or saves left to use.
Herzog learned a lot from his coach. Legend is a down to earth guy, he said.
“He hugs like I was his dang brother,” Herzog said. “That meant the world to me. He was very warm and sincere. He thinks a lot about what he’s going to say, and he thinks a lot before he acts. That’s kind of who John Legend is. It was an honor to learn and gain some wisdom in how graceful he is.”
Legend and Usher, who was a guest coach, emphasized singing with emotion.
“The purpose of creating music is to make people feel what you’re putting across,” Herzog said. “Their big focus was we need to sing this in a way that we mean it, as if we wrote the song, as if it was our life story.”
After losing, Herzog kept a smile on his face. His feelings hit him on the quiet flight home — nothing a phone call to his mother, Suzanne Herzog, couldn’t fix. His family and girlfriend, Cree Kilpatrick, are his biggest supporters.
“It always helps to talk to your mama after a tough time,” Herzog said. “I’m a realist in a sense, but I also feel like it’s the saddest thing in the world when people have a dream or a promise over their lives and they don’t do everything in their power to work toward it. I’m going to do what I can to work toward it.”