5: Music has always been in Austin's plans, but that wasn't the only thing. "In high school I was in music, business and athletics. My knees went out on me so I was left with business and music. I decided to combine the two and go to Nashville and go to college." The Maryland native studied music business and song writing. "I really felt the need to be prepared to do it on my own, so that's why I wanted to get the business background." Smart.
4: Austin has meshed all his influences into one. "R Kelly, Michael Jackson, real R&B pop hits," the 26-year-old told us. "Once I started playing guitar that's when John Mayer, Dave Matthews and Ben Harper were really big. My sound developed into a sort of mix between those two things, R&B and hip-hop formed acoustic sound. It works and gives me a lot of freedom to play around."
3: He's not a big fan of competition shows like American Idol and X Factor, but "When I heard the premise of The Voice, I definitely warmed up to the idea. But I just graduated and I was starting my business. Eventually once things stabilized, I thought, 'What's the worst that could happen?'" He auditioned with "Drift Away" by Dobie Gray. "It wasn't my number one, but it's a classic and soulful song."
2: Before his blind audition, he wasn't clear on who he'd choose as a mentor. "I didn't really see a downside across the board. I went to school in Nashville, so that would have made sense if Blake had chosen me. I grew up on R&B and hip-hop, so Usher was a no-brainer. Shakira, I'm Latin American and she's a singer-songwriter with a more unique style, so that made sense for me. Adam--we have the most in common musically. In hindsight, that's probably the best choice, but I didn't know going into it."
1: Austin's biggest takeaway from the Maroon 5 lead singer? "Work ethic is real important to me. Him reiterating that and applying it towards music, which is sometimes hard to do because you think music is such a creative thing. But to be able to look at it like a profession, something you work hard at consistently--that stuck to me." But above all else, "it was his demeanor that really stuck with me. How he handles himself was an example for me to model myself after."
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