When Sarah Golden stepped onto The Voice‘s stage, the audience was in the dark along with the judges. Her silhouette couldn’t fool us, though, and soon as she began singing a folked-up version of Lady Gaga‘s “You and I,” it was evident that not only was she a woman who has been judged by tine industry for her not-so-feminine looks, but she is the kind of talent that drives this competition.
The self-professed “out and proud” 27-year-old singer from Houston, Texas has been performing since she graduated high school and says she has a sizable lesbian following, which is only going to grow as the season continues. Sarah was scooped up by judge Cee Lo Green, whose finalist last year was out singer Vicci Martinez. Sarah Golden talked with us about her experiences in the music business, rooming with her team’s other lesbian and why she refuses to change for anyone.
AfterEllen.com: I’m assuming that today has been kind of crazy for you, after seeing the actual episode air?
SG: It has been pretty crazy. My phone has not stopped blowing up, which is awesome, but I also get work emails on my phone, so then I have to sift through hundreds of other notices. Otherwise, I mean, I’m sure there are worse problems to have. But yeah. It’s been very crazy, but awesome.
AE: I was wondering how you picked the Lady Gaga song to perform. Do you have a list of songs you’re allowed to choose from or have you sung the song before?
SG: There [is] a list of songs that you get to choose from. It’s a very comprehensive list. It’s not a list of six songs and it’s like, “Good luck, guys.” It’s hundreds of songs and you have to put them in order, which is very time-taking, to put a hundred songs in order, in terms of which one I would want to do the most, all the way down to which one I would want to do the least.
The things I have to say I love about this show are … this is not the kind of thing where they say, “OK, here’s what you’re doing. And whether you like it or not, that’s what you’re doing.” They very much are open to your opinion and what you want to do and making you as comfortable as possible. And it’s been kind of the resounding note throughout this whole thing, which has just been outstanding. But to answer your question, they do give you a list, and you pick from that list.
Now, I did not regularly sing “You and I.” I regularly sing “Poker Face,” but I sing it in kind of a folky way. And that’s what I actually auditioned with. I auditioned with “Poker Face” and then a very folky song by Gillian Welch, which they had never heard of, which was not a surprise. So, yes. My “Poker Face” was really my song that was something they would know, that they would be able to see where I was coming from. But in the end, I would have to say, throughout the duration, I realized how lucky I was.
A lot of people, I came to realize, really wanted “You and I.” They really wanted Lady Gaga and that was my first choice on the list of songs. And I was always allowed to do it. I was definitely thankful for that.
AE: Did you watch the first season?
SG: I did. … I was totally just attracted to the whole concept of the show. I swear it wasn’t for – this is going to sound stupid – but not for entertainment value. Like, not because I wanted to see if someone got turned around or not. But really, because it really went along with kind of my story and my life. And it was just something that, I swear, I had no intention and no idea of participating in this season, so it was really just one of those inspirational things. There was like, “Oh my God! We’re making strides.” Not to mention, like, half of the finalists last year were gay. Like gay gay. Not like, “You look gay.” I mean, they were gay.
SG: And the talked about it. And I was totally in love with it. Even after watching the whole season – again, I still never had the intention of trying out myself – it was just something that we would goof around with during commercial breaks, and we would sing along. And then “Oh, commercial’s over, come over!” and we would jump back on the couch. And that was it. So, yeah. The whole thing was crazy.