*As Jermaine Paul broke down and hugged family and friends after winning “The Voice,” the 33-year-old got a congratulatory phone call from one other important person in the evolution of his career: Alicia Keys.
According to the New York Daily News, Paul was still standing on the NBC stage Tuesday night, confetti falling around him, when his friend passed him his cellphone.
“She was screaming with excitement,” recounted Paul, who lives in Harriman, New York and was a longtime back-up singer for Keys. “She told me she’s been watching me and supporting me the whole time. She was saying how proud of me she was.”
Paul was awarded the singing competition show’s top prize of $100,000 and a record deal with Universal after singing R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” for his final solo performance Monday.
The next 24 hours were a whirlwind of red carpets, TV interviews and talk show appearances with the likes of Ellen Degeneres and Jay Leno.
“I’m going on maybe an hour of sleep,” Paul, 33, a married father of four, said Wednesday night.
“It’s been a non-stop situation, but I’m loving every bit of it. I’m in no way complaining.”
“This is a dream come true,” Paul added. “I’ve been dreaming about a moment like this my whole life.”
The former basketball star at Monroe-Woodbury High School, Paul was a serving as a choir director and youth pastor before embarking on a singing career. Over the past decade, he’s struggled to break from the background into the spotlight.
But late Wednesday night, Paul was awaiting a flight back to New York and pondering a future suddenly bursting with opportunities.
“I’m so excited about the future and getting in the studio and creating this album,” Paul said.