Sac singers snag spotlight

Sacramento blues singer almost breaks through on Grammy ballot, and a soul singer competes on national television

Sacramentan Shane Q made it to the top 11 on NBC’s <i>The Voice.</i>

Sacramentan Shane Q made it to the top 11 on NBC’s The Voice.

Photo courtesy of NBC Universal

Contemporary blues artist and SAMMIES award-winner Katie Knipp has made a lot of strides in the last two years, hitting No. 10 on the Blues Albums Billboard Charts last November for her fifth album release, Take it With You, next to blues guitar legends Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Buddy Guy.

She calls these these moments “wonderful nuggets of support.” In late September, Knipp was one of 75 artists up for consideration on the Traditional Blues Album ballot for a Grammy. Knipp did not make the cut as one of the five finalists, but she still plans to attend the 62nd Grammy Awards in January to support her fellow blues artists.

“It was really, really an honor to be on the ballot,” she says. “I’ve never come so close. It was pretty exciting, kind of a whirlwind of emotions. A lot of up and down feelings.”

Knipp is staying busy recording her sixth album in the former studio of Northern California rock band Papa Roach, recently signed with Marin Artists agency and hopes to hit the festival circuit next year. See Knipp live during her first gig of the new year at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley on Jan. 5.

Sacramento soul singer Shane Q is still a contender on NBC’s 17th season of The Voice, making it to the top 11 during the Nov. 19 live show.

The national singing competition kicked off in September, and since then, Q has received enough online votes from viewers to only get good news from show host Carson Daly.

“Standing on stage on Tuesday nights, the result show nights, is very intense. It’s pretty crazy when Carson calls my name. It’s a rush of emotions and excitement,” Q told SN&R. “It’s bittersweet also, because, yes, I made it through, but you build relationships with these contestants and it’s sad to see them go.”

Q says he gigged a lot around Sacramento on the weekends at Shine Cafe and Big Sexy Brewing Co. before taking his chances on The Voice.

The show’s judges—Gwen Stefani, John Legend, Blake Shelton and former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson—each have their own team of singers who perform renditions of hit songs each week.

For his blind audition, where judges sit with their backs toward the singers, Q sang “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton and ended up getting a four-chair turn. He chose Team Kelly, and says Clarkson has helped him choose songs that both challenge him and suit his range.

“I believe I can sing multiple genres really well. But, I think it all comes down to soul and that’s the genre that people categorize me in,” Q says. “I’m soulful. That’s who I am. As long as people love it. I’m with it.”

Q competes on NBC’s The Voice on Monday and Tuesday nights at 8 p.m.