This is Gwen Stefani’s fifth season as a coach on The Voice and, up until now, she hasn’t had a winner, but this could be her lucky year as her final contestant, 15-year-old Carter Rubin from Shoreham, New York, who was inspired to sing by his grandfather, a member of the ‘60s band Jay and the Americans, famous for such hits as This Magic Moment, Cara Mia, and Come a Little Bit Closer, is the frontrunner in the polls.
Carter began his journey on The Voice auditioning with Before You Go by Lewis Capaldi and getting both Gwen and John Legend to turn their chairs. Carter opted for Gwen as his coach so she could be like a second mom to him and help him pick age-appropriate songs for him to sing, which she has done.
Carter continued his successful run on the singing competition with Like I’m Gonna Lose You in the Battle Rounds, You Say in the Knockout Rounds, Hero in the Live Playoffs, and Rainbow Connection, which Gwen selected for him for the semifinals and which helped him land his spot in the finale.
“It was a really meaningful song to me because Gwen is the one who picked it out for me along with the music department,” Rubin said in a Zoom interview. “I think it really worked well. She said that she wanted me to take this classic and make it my own and that is what I tried my best to do. I put a modern twist on it and I think it paid off.”
Carter dedicated the song to his brother Jack, who is four years his senior, and was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2.
“I dedicated the song to my brother, because it reminds me of innocence and believing and that is the way he lives,” said Carter, who previously told viewers the two have “the closest sibling relationship you can ever imagine.”
The youngest remaining competitor in the competition on season 19 of The Voice also talks about having the time of his life, working under COVID protocols, celebrating his 15th birthday, what he wants his album to sound like, and more.
Monsters & Critics: What has this experience been like for you?
Carter Rubin: This experience has been the time of my life. I have made so many new friends and I have a lot of role models that I can look up to. I made a partnership with Gwen. She is an incredible coach and an incredible mentor.
She gives the most amazing advice and if I can take anything out of this experience, it would be her advice. I will take it to heart and use it wherever I go and whatever I do. She has been really amazing and this whole experience has taught me so much. I went in with an open mind and wanted to soak up anything I could and it has been incredible.
M&C: What have rehearsals been like with all the COVID measures? Has it been extra difficult for you with all the time constraints?
Carter Rubin: We were on a time limit because there were only a few days we could rehearse, so we definitely made the most of the time we had. We rehearsed any time we could together. To make sure we got everything right, I rehearsed on my own a lot when I wasn’t in a rehearsal with other people. If I wasn’t with the band or Gwen, I was rehearsing the song a lot in my room.
M&C: What does it feel like getting to the finale?
Carter Rubin: I completely feel like a winner already just by still being here. To be part of the Top 9 of The Voice, I remember the entire audition process. I went in with very low expectations and just to be here, I feel like a winner with all the knowledge I have gained with Gwen. She has been incredible, as I have said before. I am just really blessed and lucky and happy to be here. And my family and friends are cheering me from back home. It makes me really happy!
M&C: Coming out of the show when life gets back to normal, what are you looking forward to doing first?
Carter Rubin: I definitely want to play shows and put on concerts for people. I miss the thrill of performing in front of a live audience and, also, I want to get in the studio and record songs, just continue this music career I have, because it has been pretty amazing so far. So, when the world is back to normal, I definitely want to keep it up.
M&C: What would you like your album to sound like?
Carter Rubin: You know all these popular male singers that are singing contemporary pop music today like Lewis Capaldi, Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran, and Shawn Mendes, I want my album to sound like that. They are really big influences for me and the music they put out there, they have definitely inspired some of my songwriting.
I want to get in the studio and record and put it in front of people to hear because I take music very, very seriously. Those famous people have inspired me to find my own genre and style of music, so that is what I want my album to sound like.
M&C: You celebrated your 15th birthday during this. What did you do?
Carter Rubin: It was difficult in a COVID world. So, I stayed with my family. We stayed home and watched movies and ate ice cream. I love ice cream more than cake. It was just a nice day in.
M&C: Why is The Voice the show you chose to audition for over American Idol?
Carter Rubin: I’ve been watching The Voice for many years and, if I am going to be honest, with all the singing shows out there, The Voice is the one that showcases the true raw talent. There is no gimmick at all; it is just these inspiring artists pursuing what they want to do in life, which is singing and music, and to entertain.
That is what drew me into auditioning for this show. What you see is what you get and everyone is so genuine and so real. It has been the best experience. I have been really happy and happy that I am on this show and not another.
The Voice airs Monday and Tuesday nights at 8/7 c on NBC.