Sawyer Christopher Fredericks (born March 31, 1999) is an American singer–songwriter best known for winning the eighth season of The Voice in 2015. Choosing Pharrell Williams as his coach, Fredericks set series iTunes sales records and became the youngest winner in series history alongside Danielle Bradbery (both at the age of 16).
Fredericks was born to Kirsten L. and Carl F. Fredericks on March 31, 1999 in Newtown, Connecticut, the youngest of three brothers. At age eight, his family moved to an 88-acre farm near Fultonville, New York. He is home-schooled using the Unschooling method.
At age 11, Fredericks received voice training and began performing regionally at farmers markets, open mics, community events, and folk clubs (such as The Bitter End in New York City). He was a finalist in the Young Artist Talent Search in Pawling, New York in 2012.
In 2012 Fredericks recorded a demo of six original songs, entitled Breaking Ice. On June 4, 2013, he independently released his first studio album, Out My Window, consisting of 15 original tracks.
2015: The Voice and subsequent career
From February to May 2015, Fredericks competed on the eighth season of The Voice. Talent scouts from the show invited him to participate in pre-show auditions after taking notice of YouTube videos of his singing. On his televised blind audition he sang "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow", a traditional folksong he had earlier adapted to perform while busking. Coaches Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Pharrell Williams turned around their chairs within ten seconds, and Blake Shelton joined them 40 seconds later. Fredericks chose Williams as his coach.
In his Battle round, Fredericks teamed up with Noelle Bybee to sing Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" and was chosen by Williams to advance. In his Knockout round, Fredericks sang in a three-way match with Mia Z. and Paul Pfau, after Anthony Riley withdrew from the competition. Fredericks' performance of Howie Day's "Collide" earned him (along with Mia Z.) an advance into the Top 20.
In the Playoff rounds, Fredericks advanced to the Top 12 covering Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble", and to the Top 10 with John Lennon's "Imagine". Falsetto notes in the latter presented a challenge to Fredericks, whose voice was changing. He received the first iTunes Singles Chart top 10 multiplier bonus of the competition with "Imagine", reaching the second position by the close of the voting window. He advanced to the Top Eight with Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" (reaching the fourth position on iTunes, edged out by Koryn Hawthorne at third), and to the Top Six with Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man" (reaching the second position on iTunes).
In the Top Six, Fredericks performed Al Green's "Take Me to the River" (reaching the tenth position on iTunes), featuring an energetic teen dance troupe surrounding the more reserved singer. For his Mother's Day dedication song Fredericks was allowed, in a rare move by The Voice, to choose a song which hadn't been released by a major label, May Erlewine's "Shine On". In a further twist, Erlewine revealed that while giving permission for use of the song, she was nevertheless a strong backer of The Voice competitor Joshua Davis. "Shine On" rose to the third position on iTunes, the highest rated song on The Voice that week. The day after the Top Six results show, he returned to New York for a homecoming visit, participating in a parade and performance of three songs before over 4,000 people at Fonda Speedway (Fultonville, New York), and an evening concert at the Palace Theatre.
In the Top Five, Fredericks' covers of Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years" and Buffalo Springfield's "For What it's Worth" both garnered him the highest ratings of the week, reaching the second and third positions on iTunes, respectively.
For the May 18, 2015 finale show, Fredericks released the single "Please" (an original song written by Ray Lamontagne) and an accompanying music video. For his duet selection, Fredericks and Williams performed the Seals and Crofts tune "Summer Breeze". The show ended with Fredericks' cover of Neil Young's "Old Man". By noon the next day, "Summer Breeze" had reached the nineteenth position on iTunes, "Old Man" the third, and "Please" the second.
On the May 19, 2015 results show, Fredericks shared the stage with John Fogerty in a medley of Creedence Clearwater Revival hits — "Born on the Bayou", "Bad Moon Rising" and "Have You Ever Seen the Rain". Apparent audio problems affected the broadcast. Fredericks was declared the winner at the end of the show, with Meghan Linsey second, Joshua Davis third, and Koryn Hawthorne fourth. Winning contestants receive $100,000 and a recording contract with Republic Records.
According to Republic, Fredericks broke many series sales records for The Voice, with nine singles reaching the iTunes top 10, and 14 singles charting in the Top 200 during the final week. A total of nearly one million digital singles were sold in the course of the show. Throughout the competition Fredericks maintained a strong social media presence, with leading numbers of followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Chart of The Voice performances
Studio version of performance reached the top 10 on iTunes
In May 2015, following his win on The Voice, Fredericks signed a contract with Republic Records. He performed on June 6, 2015 as a headliner at FLY92.3 Summer Jam 2015 in Saratoga Springs, New York.