Speed Read: Josh Kaufman, Pitch Man
1. As a father of three, Josh Kaufman has spent plenty of time in the barns at the Indiana State Fair. “We usually go a couple times a year. They love to see the animals and feed the goats. That’s a staple for us,” he says. The family will have a new reason to attend when Kaufman headlines the Free Stage on August 7.
2. You might have seen Kaufman play the Fair already: Two summers ago, he jammed on a side stage with local musician Jenna Epkey.
3. What makes the 38-year-old’s win on The Voice so impressive is that he beat out two contestants half his age in the final round—including Internet star Christina Grimmie, who had more than 2 million Facebook fans to Kaufman’s double digits at the start of the show. The “Soul Man” (as NBC show-runners dubbed him) won over America with his blues-rock vibe and the help of Usher, his coach.
4. One perk of winning The Voice is receiving a recording contract with Republic Records (Drake, Florence + The Machine, and now John Mellencamp for life)—an overnight success after more than a decade playing Indy’s club circuit, including The Chatterbox, Radio Radio, and Birdy’s gigs.
» MORE: All our Kaufman coverage to date
5. The Florida native moved to Indiana to attend Anderson University. He finished his degree at IUPUI and spent some time courtside during this year’s Pacers–Heat playoff series, making him a fully credentialed Hoosier.
6. Speaking of moving, he’ll use his $100,000 prize money to relocate from Fountain Square to a house in Carmel. Kaufman decided to rock the suburbs when he easily could have headed for the Hollywood hills. That’s a wise decision from a philosophy major whose humble demeanor and family values might have withered under the constant spotlight of stardom.
7. Three of Kaufman’s cover songs from The Voice hit the Top 5 on the iTunes Top 200 chart, including a rival rendition of John Legend’s No. 1 ballad, “All of Me.” The State Fair audience can expect to hear a couple of these charted songs, as well as some originals—from his solo work or the Indy band he formed in 2010, The New Etiquette.
8. No word if he’ll wear his classy, slim-fit white suit from the Voice finale, which NBC let him keep, along with much of his wardrobe. But one thing’s for sure: Fairgoers will see fedoras galore. Team Josh unites under his trademark accessory.
9. After headlining the 31-date Voice tour that wraps August 2, Kaufman will start recording his major-label debut album. Not bad for a guy who was performing solo at Potbelly on Monument Circle earlier this year.
Photo by Rob LaTour/REX
This article appeared in the August 2014 issue.