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Second Provo artist joins Team Usher on 'The Voice'

Published: Sunday, Aug. 2 2015 6:44 a.m. MDT

Tanner James, 19, of Provo, performs during his blind audition on NBC's Tanner James, 19, of Provo, performs during his blind audition on NBC's "The Voice," which aired Monday night. (Tyler Golden, NBC)

R&B superstar Usher added another Utah County musician to his team on an episode of "The Voice," which aired Monday night on NBC. Tanner James, 19, of Provo, will be joining Team Usher for the sixth season of the popular TV singing competition.

Though James was not featured prominently in the episode, his blind audition was shown briefly. He sang "Heaven" by Bryan Adams and was selected by Usher, who called him a diamond in the rough.

"I think that they had to listen to a lot of people in the blind auditions and Usher was pretty selective about who he turns around for, so the fact that he chose me to be one of his ‘diamonds in the rough’ was like, ‘Wow. What a huge compliment,'" James said in a conference call Tuesday.

Usher is one of four coaches on "The Voice," joining Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Shakira. This is just Usher's second season on the show. He joined the show with Shakira in spring of 2013, but the two took a season off before rejoining the coaching crew in 2014.

Usher turned his chair around for Provo's Tanner James on NBC's Usher turned his chair around for Provo's Tanner James on NBC's "The Voice" Monday night. (Tyler Golden, NBC)

As soon as NBC announced that Usher and Shakira would continue as coaches for season 6, James knew he wanted to work with Usher.

"I feel like he really knows his stuff," James said. "He knows the business and he wants it. I know he wants to win."

James also said that he appreciates Usher's long-term style of coaching. "I think Usher is different from the other coaches. He’s not really focused on what the next song is going to be on the show. He has kind of communicated that he cares more about my career in (its) entirety."

James graduated from Timpview High School in 2012 and attended Snow College before returning home to focus on his music career. Part of that decision was based on a change in culture that James has noticed in Provo.

Tanner James, 19, of Provo, in a publicity image for NBC's Tanner James, 19, of Provo, in a publicity image for NBC's "The Voice." (Paul Drinkwater, NBC)

"It's starting to change into kind of like a little music town," James said. "It’s getting a reputation for promoting artists." Popular acts that have recently come from Utah County include Neon Trees, The Used, Imagine Dragons, and "The Voice" alumni Ryan Innes and Amy Whitcomb.

James is excited to work alongside fellow Provo resident Madilyn Paige, who chose to join Team Usher in an episode that aired last week. "It’s awesome," James said. "I’m not feeling competitive towards her at all. I’m just so happy that we can, both of us, represent Provo. No matter how it turns out, Provo wins."

Season 6 of “The Voice” airs Monday nights on NBC from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. and Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. (MST).

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