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First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Nate Morton ’94: A Week in the Life on The Voice

Drummer Nate Morton ’94 has been performing and touring with The Voice since its inception in April 2011. Morton also performs with Cher, and in the house band for the NBA talk show The Bonnie Hunt Show.  He’s performed with such artists as Gavin DeGraw, Carrie Underwood, Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, Mandy Moore, Michael Bolton, and Richard Marx. He is currently a Pearl-, Remo-, and Zildjian-sponsored drum clinician and holds many awards in the field of drumming. Morton penned this post about his weekly schedule for The Voice.

Nate Morton '94, center, with a group of aspiring Berklee students, who were invited to go backstage on The Voice

Hi friends. Thank you to everyone who drops me a line from time to time and says hello, or comments on The Voice. Occasionally someone asks, “So, besides The Voice, what else are you up to?” That’s when it dawns on me that the show is on TV two nights each week, but not everyone knows what happens each week to bring those shows to air. I thought I’d share a little “behind the scenes” insight.

This is a typical work week on the show:

Wednesday– The band comes in and spends a couple of hours learning the songs for the next show. That’s followed by a full day of shooting reality/rehearsals of those songs with the coaches and contestants. This is usually a 10-12 hour day.

Thursday – The band and contestants have their second rehearsal of their song for that week. . . this is also a day when the band might need to learn additional songs such as coach songs, or group numbers. Sometimes a contestant will change [his/her] song… in which case we have additional music to learn and have to reshoot rehearsal with [his/her] coach. This day should be short, but always manages to stretch into a 10-hour day.

Friday – Band goes to Ocean Studios and arranges and records full length versions of all that week’s songs for release on iTunes. This week, that meant 12 songs, complete with all instrumental overdubs and background vocals. This is almost always at least a 10-hour day… and longer for guys who have to do overdubs.

Saturday – On stage at Universal Studios sound stage, we rehearse all the songs for Monday’s show with the contestants for camera blocking and lighting. This is usually a 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. day.

Sunday – On stage at Universal Studios sound stage, we rehearsal all the songs for Tuesday’s show. That’s usually group numbers, or a coach’s song(s). This is usually a reasonable day… sometimes only eight hours

Monday – Full “performance show” dress rehearsal… then load the audience and go live at 5:00 p.m. … show taping ends at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday – Full “results show” dress rehearsal… then load the audience and go live at 5:00 p.m…. show taping ends at 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday – Start the entire cycle all over again. . . This is our weekly schedule if everything goes absolutely perfectly, and we all know how often that happens. Inevitably, songs change, coaches have other time commitments that have to be worked around… and when that happens, everything can go upside down… It’s not uncommon that we might have a full show day on Monday, then after the show, learn and camera block two new songs. We’ve even had days where we’ve had a full show day, then had to go into the studio that night to record three songs. . . The band includes: musical director Paul Mirkovich, Sasha Krivtsov on bass, Eric Daniels on keys, Dave Barry on guitar, Rafael Moriera on guitar and BGVs, Kara Britz, Stevie Mackey, and Denise Janae (Berklee alumna).

The gig is a bit of a whirlwind leaving just enough time to sleep & eat. Having said that, I am so stoked to be busy and fortunate to have the opportunity.

Check out how Nate Morton gave back to the Berklee community.


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1 Comment

  1. Lenny De Piano

    Nate .. Without a DOUBT you and are the drive and force I see and hear every Monday and Tuesday night .. I’m a keyboard player and I love Paul’s work but man … you drive the bus. This week I heard Shakira tell a contestant “You had me playing air drums” .. YOU had her playing air drums .. lol.

    I love the show and the band is so incredibly tight..After reading your weekly schedule I can why. You guys practically live together but Amen to having the opportunity to do what you do. Honestly Nate… If not for you guys I would not be as interested .. My wife loves the show and got me into it several seasons back (She’s a country fan) .. I was reluctant when I first sat with her to watch The Voice… She was an American Idol fan till the Voice came along (Thank God) .. I watched one season of AI and I was done with reality talent shows… Then I heard you guys.. I’m a big fan of the rhythm section. Like any foundation it’s crucial to the structure.

    Keep pounding them tubs Nate and I’ll keep listening…. Great job.


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