Eric Who, like many people from Orangeburg, grew up singing in church. He’s now taken those singing talents onto the national stage.

Who won a spot on NBC’s show “The Voice.” He made it as a member of pop star Camila Cabello’s team with his rendition of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy.”

“What’s crazy is Camila turned around so early in the song, it made the rest of the performance easier for me. It took a lot of the nerves away, because I’m like, ‘OK, my number one choice Camila has turned around in the first opening line of the song so, I’m good, I’m on the show,” Who said.

“I think the timing of it all made it so much easier. It made me feel, like, just 10 times amazing,” Who said.

Who’s life in singing began in the church where his stepfather is a pastor.

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A lot of what he knows about singing he attributes to his days singing in front of church goers.

“I learned a lot of things, some people call it riffs and runs, in the church, different types of things as well, so that helped me find my voice,” Who said.

“I would say a good amount of training with little techniques I can do for when I’m nervous or feeling anxious, I can do certain things to take away the pressure,” Who said.

He took that experience and turned it into performing for his high school talent shows and on the school choir.

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He then transitioned his singing skills to social media platforms.

Who now has almost 21,000 followers on Instagram. He has amassed close to 3 million followers and 56.3 million likes on TikTok.

“I used to make fun of it (TikTok). I never thought that I’d have a place on the app and never understood the app. Then I started posting singing content and comedy food reviews, drink reviews, and within the span of two years, we were able to grow an audience,” Who said.

He describes having that many followers on social media as amazing.

“The actual feeling of knowing that many people know you that you might not know, it feels like it is something that I cannot explain. It’s a good feeling, overall it’s amazing. It’s just the ultimate support to me,” Who said.

Who tried out once before for “The Voice,” but didn’t succeed on the first try. Once the opportunity came around again, he gave it another shot and made his way onto the show.

“I was just focusing on my like social media content. I was making a lot of singing videos and auditioned for ‘The Voice’ season 21 and didn’t make it and that was OK,” Who said.

“I focused my mind on the comedy side of myself and then they had an audition again for season 22. I gave it a go and as you can see, it worked,” Who said.

Who says TikTok has helped him prepare for live performances.

“I would always go live on TikTok to sing and show my personality. It helped because I’ve experienced people hearing me sing live,” Who said.

“Being on ‘The Voice,’ you’re subject to hateful comments or people not really caring for your performance, but with me being on social media and having the following that I have, I’ve already been exposed to that. So I’ve already learned how to deal with that and pay it no mind,” Who said.

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His experience on “The Voice” has been positive. He says the feedback he has been getting is great from both the people on the show and back home.

“I’ve been enjoying the response so far,” Who said.

“Just today, I went to the Church’s chicken over there by the Prince of Orange Mall. The girl was like, ‘Oh my God, You did amazing on “The Voice,”’” Who said.

“I see people on social media and friends and family who say ‘I’m going to watch, I’m going to support you,’” Who said.

“It’s such a surreal feeling. Just little things like that happen from time to time. So it’s an adjustment, but it’s all good so far,” Who said.

Who was raised in Orangeburg and says it’s important to be from a place like the Garden City.

“I feel like when it comes to personality, no other contestant shares my humor or my personality. With that alone, I hope it takes me a long way,” Who said.

He’s taken that personality to the big stage on Camila Cabello’s team.

“What can I say about Miss ‘Havana ooh na-na?’ She’s like a ball of energy, she’s just as hype as I am and she’s so sweet. It’s really fun. She’s like a breath of fresh air,” Who said

His best advice to up-and-coming singers is to dabble in any genre that you can. You learn more about yourself as a singer and become multifaceted, according to Who.

“Don’t be afraid. Don’t think that your sound has to be one thing,” Who said.

“I say stick your foot in all of those different little puddles of water and go for it. That’s how you find yourself,” Who said.

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In terms of the show, Who is just trying to take his time there step by step and not look too far ahead.

“Right now I’m just preparing my mind for the battle round,” Who said.

“I’m just really focusing on the show and staying on as long as I can,” Who said.

Who is a 2018 graduate of Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School.

Terry Benjamin II, a Claflin University mass communications senior, is reporting for The Times and Democrat as a Lee Enterprises-sponsored news-sports intern.

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