Look Back at What Blake Shelton Had to Say About The Voice 10 Years Ago Compared to Today
Blake Shelton is putting his own spin on the viral "how it started ... how it's going" meme of 2020.
A new Voice promo shared exclusively with PEOPLE compares what the country star, 44, said in 2011 about being a coach on the NBC singing competition series to what he thinks of the role now, a decade later.
In the clip from 10 years ago, filmed ahead of the show's inaugural season, Shelton said, "I wish I could sit here and tell you I know exactly what The Voice, the television show, is going to be about."
"I know we're going to be sitting in these big chairs and our back is going to be turned to the performer and we all have to decide based solely on this voice if we think this person can be a star," he continued. "I love that about this show because it has to start with a great voice."
Though Shelton admitted at the time that he's "never really done anything like this before," he did say that he knows a thing or two about mentorship.
"All I can really do is think back to people that were mentors of mine along the way and the things that they did to help me not become the artist that they wanted me to be, but become the best that I can be," he said. "Whatever that might be is different for everybody."
"I hope that I can find out with each individual artist that I'm working with what that one thing is that's special about them that we can bring out more and focus on and make these people not just singers, but unique artists," he added.
Throughout his own career, Shelton said he's gotten both great and not so great advice.
"I've had people along the way who have done great things for me, and I've had people suggest things to me that really screwed me up along the way too," he said. "I had a record producer one time suggest to me that I should start drinking more whiskey and smoking cigarettes because it would help develop the bottom end for my vocals. I tried that for a while and woke up feeling like crap and was coughing all the time and realized that was a waste of six months of my life."
Along the way, Shelton said "the hardest thing" was figuring out who he wanted to be as an artist and recalled asking himself: "What do I want to say?"
"For me, I didn't start figuring that out until maybe five or six years ago, well into my career," he said. "When you're in your mid-20s, you still don't know who you are as a person, much less an artist. But I think you need to have some sort of indication of that."
"I think this is going to be loads of fun because there's no drama," he said. "This is going to be a fun show that's about finding out who is the best vocalist in this group of people."
"When it comes to me, the other coaches should watch their backs because listen, I'm the guy that came here to win: not for publicity, not for money," he said. "I came here to win. If there's a situation — and I'm sure there will be — where we all pick the same contestant for our team, my angle in order to get that person to chose me as their coach is to lie. I mean, this is the entertainment industry! It's slimy."
On a more serious note, Shelton (who ended up losing to Levine, 41, that season) said that he loved the concept of the show because "you don't have to worry about what somebody looks like or the way they dress or whatever might be holding them back."
"If they're a great singer first, they're going to make it onto this show," he said. "Then we can take the steps after that."
"The Voice gets back to what's important about music," he continued. "It gets down to a great singer ... It's nice to know what we're going to be doing here is finding somebody with bare bones talent. They were born a great singer, and they deserve to be recognized for that."
A decade later, Shelton still feels the same way about The Voice.
"People just never get tired of this show," he says in the present-day clip. "They love the idea, they love the fact that we're all about talent here and not any of the other bull crap that comes along with the music industry."
"This show has a lot of integrity, and we really do work hard at trying to find the best singer we can find and then try to help them as much as we can," he adds. "This is a show that there will never be another one like it. This opportunity is never going to come again."
Shelton says the experience has been personally "satisfying" because he's gotten to pass on the lessons he's learned throughout his now 20-year career.
"You learn a lot when you're in the music industry as long as I've been in the music industry," he says. "Most of that stuff you would end up just taking to the grave with you because there's not a lot of people out there that can use the information that you've gathered over the years. But the fact that we're working with artists and we're actually coaching them and trying to help them not make the same mistakes that we did along the way, it's cool to have that outlet."
Throughout the past decade, Shelton and host Carson Daly have remained constants on the show as A-list stars have rotated in and out of the coaches' chairs.
"Carson and I are the last two standing around here as far as who you see on this side of the camera," Shelton says. "But there's been a lot of rule changes. We try to keep it interesting as much as we can without losing the integrity of the show."
Another constant of the show has been the healthy competition — and Shelton is coming for his fellow coach Nick Jonas this season.
"There's a long history of coaches who join The Voice, and they win the first season they join the voice," Shelton says. "I mean, Kelly [Clarkson] did, John [Legend] did … the list goes on and on. Then Nick Jonas comes along [in 2020] and completely fumbles on the play. He got beat! He got beat by me, but he still got beat. I guess when you say it that way, who would have expected him to beat me?"
Jokes aside, Shelton ends the clip by saying it's "really cool" that The Voice "still is what it started out to be, which is a show that is about talent first."
In last week's issue of PEOPLE, Shelton opened up about how joining The Voice changed his life 10 years ago.
"When I started the show, I had been making records for 10 years with some success and some pitfalls," he said. "There were times where it was like, 'Man, is my label gonna drop me?' Then we'd have another okay hit on country radio. I was just hanging in there. The one thing I think attracted the producers to me was the fact that people knew me as a smart-ass, but in a fun way."
Shelton initially thought though that the show would be a flop.
"To be honest, I didn't think the show was gonna last," he said. "In fact one of the first conversations I ever had with Adam was, 'Man, how stupid is this?'"
To Shelton's surprise, The Voice was a smash hit from the start, drawing 14.4 million viewers in its first season. Now 10 years later, the show has welcomed 14 A-list coaches, crowned 19 winners and, with 110 million viewers across all platforms a year, become the most-watched TV show of the past decade.
In the current season 20, airing Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC, Shelton and Daly, 47, are back once again, as are Jonas, 28, Clarkson, 38, and Legend, 42.
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