Payge Turner, the Seattle-based singer-songwriter and recent performer on the NBC television show, The Voice, remembers falling in love with music at four-years-old while backstage at her mother’s choir performances. Turner, who grew up in the Caribbean, says music often felt magical, mystical and mysterious. Along with singing and songwriting, Turner has always had a fondness for musicals, which combine both acting and singing. For her, they’re like fairytales. And Turner, thanks to her successful audition on The Voice, is living something of her own fairytale with a new career coach in Gwen Stefani and thousands of new fans ready to watch her evolve and achieve more.
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“Growing up in the Caribbean was obviously fun,” Turner says. “It’s the Caribbean, let’s be real. But it was also challenging.”
Turner says that before she dove into music headfirst, she was an athlete. As a young person, she was on a track and field team, training to be an accomplished runner. At the time, she was fortunate enough to make a prestigious team and was on track (no pun intended) to potentially run in the Olympics years later. But three days after making the squad, Turner, ever the adventurer, broke her leg.
“I’m a risk-taker,” Turner says. “I climb everything. So, I was climbing something and it broke and then my leg broke soon after!”
Growing up, Turner was inspired by a family who loved music. Her grandmother was a classically trained musician and would teach Turner techniques. She also had a cousin and an aunt who were classically trained to go along with her mother in choir. Turner was “engulfed” in music, she says. But, unlike more celebrity-focused cultures, while music was everywhere there was never a laser-focus on it as a career or a mandatory endeavor. Later, Turner moved to the States – specifically, Kansas City, Missouri – and began taking music even more seriously. She began to write songs at 15-years-old, testing them out in front of family and friends. As an adult, she moved to Seattle, where she’s been practicing and playing gigs ever since.
“One of the biggest reasons I moved out here was, obviously, for music,” Turner says. “But I also moved to Seattle for the nature. I need nature in order to function.”
Turner says she was on tour in 2019 when a casting producer for The Voice approached her about trying out for the show. At the time, Turner didn’t have the chance to tryout. But at his encouragement, she decided to act on the opportunity. Turner went through the initial tryout stages and got the chance to sing on The Voice stage on national television the day of the show’s newest season premiere. Instantly, Turner became a fan favorite with her big smile, curly hair and low-register singing voice. The show, which introduced Turner by talking about her upbringing in the Caribbean, showcased her to new and potential fans from all over the world.
“Honestly,” Turner says, “it was really stressful because you never know when it can go badly! There are so many people who want this opportunity and you being chosen to get this opportunity is a completely crazy concept. I was taking a leap of faith. At that point I didn’t know if I was going to make it. Backstage, I was freaking out, telling myself if The Voice doesn’t work out it doesn’t mean I’m not a good singer. It just means something else is planned for me. But I knew I wanted to be on the show. I manifested that I would be on the show and now I’m here.”
Thankfully, for Turner, she got two of the four judges to turn their chairs during her “blind audition.” That meant Turner could take her pick from pop star Stefani or country star Blake Shelton to be her new coach. As fate would have it, Stefani and Shelton are now engaged to be married, making their fight over Turner that much more interesting. But, Turner says, she knew from the start whom she needed.
“I went in there knowing who I wanted as much coach,” she says. “That saved me a lot of heartache. When you’re on stage, you don’t know what you’re going to do because it’s one-hundred-percent a whirlwind or emotions. I contemplated choosing Blake for a second but I knew Gwen would help me with what I needed. She’s a great person, a great brand advisor and, of course, an excellent artist.”
Turner says that ever since her successful audition, she has received nothing but positivity from fans of the show for what she can bring to the proverbial sonic table. And while she doesn’t know exactly when she’ll be on the program for the next round – The Voice is still conducting their “blind auditions” on the show – Turner says she’ll continue to focus on music no matter what happens. After all, it’s music that’s brought her on the precipice of a new life as a performer and musician. Her fairytale continues.
“The biggest thing I love about music is how it can bring every single kind of person together,” Turner says. “It doesn’t matter your religion, faith or color. Must just has a way of unifying humanity and I think that is such a wonderful thing.”