Total knockout

Reality-TV free: The NBC singing competition The Voice is approximately halfway through its seemingly endless—really, how many “battle rounds” and “knockout rounds” does one show need?—third season. This time out, I’m only watching halfheartedly for the Cee Lo Green/Blake Shelton/Christina Aguilera/Adam Levine jabs, because few of the current contestants seem to actually possess a distinct personality or singing style. Oh, Lindsey Pavao, how you are missed.

Pavao, of course, is the Sacramento singer-songwriter who competed on the hit show’s second season—under the tutelage of Aguilera’s fascinators and cleavage—and, based on the strength of her smoky voice and quirky style, came thisclose to making the competition’s final-four matchup. Pavao’s stint on the show ended in April, and although Pavao’s yet to snag a record deal, she says that even away from all those cameras, stylists and screaming studio-audience members, she feels like she walked away with a prize in hand.

“It’s been a crazy year. I feel like I’ve had to learn how to walk again in this new life,” Pavao told SN&R. “The Voice gave me ownership of my life. Before the show, I was told what I should and shouldn’t do with my life. What was possible and what was wise to do.

“Now, I am allowed to make those decisions, and I feel much more validated and supported in those decisions.”

Of course, this growing-up of sorts comes with a price.

“I’ve found freedom to be daunting as well,” she said. “I manage myself, do my own [public relations] and website work, I book all my own gigs, along with writing and recording.”

Pavao credits her friends, family, fans and, especially, her peers for getting her through.

“I’ve been trying my hand at writing with local artists, which I have never done. It’s a great process and teaches me more about writing and creating and not letting myself get in the way,” she said.

Look for a new single—the working title is “Jade”—in January. Pavao describes the track as a fusion of her two biggest influences: grunge and electronic music. Think Björk, Robyn and Aphex Twin, she said. (And also, we’d assume, probably Nirvana, considering she covered the band’s “Heart-Shaped Box” for the NBC cameras. Some of The Voice tracks, by the way, are available for download on iTunes.)

January is also when Pavao plans to hit the studio in earnest to record a full-length disc. Funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign (goal: $25,000; actual monies pledged, $28,039—not too shabby), Pavao said she’s currently recording demos in various friends’ home studios and is still shopping around for a local studio in which to record the album properly.

“I want to make sure when I go into the studio, I have all of the [demos finished], so I have an easy time in [there],” she said. “I’m a bit nervous because this is my first musical project that I’ve been leading the way, producing and orchestrating. I’ve given myself time and space to really get a grip on what I’m trying to say and the sound I am cultivating.”

And if that cultivation gets a little messy along the way, Pavao adds, so be it.

“I’m not going to let my perfectionism get in the way of trying something out.”

Sea of Grandaddy: Kind of super excited about this one. Grandaddy singer-songwriter Jason Lytle (formerly of Modesto, now hunkered down in Montana) recently teamed up with Sea of Bees (a.k.a. Julie Ann Bee) for a one-off 7-inch single. Here, Lytle takes one side, covering “Won’t Be Long” from Sea of Bee’s 2010 album, Songs for the Ravens. In a similar fashion, Sea of Bees’ recorded the B-side with a cover of “Get Up and Go” from Lytle’s just-released disc Dept. Of Disappearance. The single isn’t available until Black Friday—November 23, to be exact. But you can check it out for free now via NPR’s All Songs Considered blog. Sweet.