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He's got the voice

'Typical working-man musician' Justin Hopkins to appear on NBC's 'The Voice'
by: Submitted photo Justin Hopkins, 31, attended Fowler Middle School and Westside Christian High School before moving to LA to pursue a career in music.

His fans have known for years that Justin Hopkins has the voice of a superstar.

But next week he will have to prove it to America.

Hopkins, a Tigard-native turned-LA singer/songwriter, is one of dozens of performers who will appear on the NBC singing competition 'The Voice' in its second season.

Premiering Sunday after the Super Bowl, 'The Voice' follows performers from across the country as they compete for a $100,000 recording contract.

Hopkins can't say much about his experience on the show - he's bound to secrecy by NBC - and wouldn't say whether he was picked for the next round, but did confirm that he will appear on the show and audition in front of musical judges Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera.

'In the business we call those 'spoilers,'' Hopkins said laughing.

The series has the performers compete in 'blind auditions,' for the judges, who choose singers to compete on the series.

Hopkins, 31, splits his time between Portland and California, and has released two albums. He calls himself 'a typical working-man musician,' but has gained a following in both cities for his distinctive style.

'I've called my sound 'barefoot soul,'' Hopkins said from his home in Hermosa Beach. 'I essentially draw from a lot of influences like Bob Dylan or John Mayer, or Citizen Cope. I think of it as a bit more soulful version of today's rock and roll.'

Hopkins graduated from Westside Christian High School and attended the University of Oregon, and said that music was always his passion.

'I was drawn to music very early on,' he said. 'I was 5 or 6 doing school music stuff, but I didn't give much thought to it as a career until later on. I just liked singing.'

In high school, Hopkins taught himself guitar after he was banned from playing the piano.

'(My parents) had taken away my keys because my grades were plummeting the more I got into music,' he said. 'By the time I reached high school, I think they realized it was a little bit hopeless. They said, 'If we take (his keyboard) away he'll have to study.''

Instead, Hopkins found his father's old guitar in the attic and taught himself to play.

'Three months later I brought home my report card with the exact same performance on it,' Hopkins said. 'But I could play all these songs on guitar.'

Voice airs Sunday and Monday on NBC

Hopkins moved to LA from Tigard when he was 23, playing in clubs to pay the bills until he eventually landed a steady gig as the guitar player for the late night talk show, 'Last Call with Carson Daly.'

Hopkins has toured extensively in Europe, and has collaborated with artists including Johnny Lang, Sara Bareilles, Mat Kearney and R and B artist and producer Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, who he worked with as a writer for a few months.

'It was after (meeting Babyface), that I really became professional about all of it,' he said.

Hopkins said he was drawn to audition for 'The Voice' by the outstanding quality of the contestants in its first year.

'I started watching and I was really drawn to the fact that a lot of these performers are really gifted artists who have been doing things for a long time,' he said. 'I thought why the heck not? Let's give it a shot.'

'The Voice' begins its second season on NBC on Sunday at 10 p.m.



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