Philip “Pip” Arnold, former contestant on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2012, will perform a benefit concert at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marietta on Sunday at 6 p.m.
Pip, 21, outsang much of the competition into the quarter-finals of the reality show.
Since Pip entered the hearts and living rooms of many Americans, he has been pursuing his dreams in Los Angeles while writing, recording and making videos for his first, six-song EP album “No Formalities.”
Pip’s mother, Chris, said her son has been away from home since October, which is the longest stretch of separation, including during the filming of “The Voice.” At that time, Pip’s parents were flown by the producers to Los Angeles for four or five trips.
“It is a nice change to come back to a slower pace, not a go-go-go environment,” Pip said about his two-week visit home.
Once known for his bow ties, Pip returned to Marietta wearing a blazer with pushed-up sleeves and brown dress shoes with no socks.
“I have definitely gotten more stylish. I didn’t really care before,” Pip said while sitting in the St. Joseph Catholic Church off Lacy Street.
Jim Arnold said he was torn about having his son pursue a music career in Hollywood.
“You want your child to go to college,” Jim Arnold said. “But on the other hand, he had a dream. It was more than just a dream — it was a passion.”
Chris Arnold said the real clincher for her support came when her son said he prayed about being led to pursue music professionally.
All for charity
St. Joseph is where Pip attended grade school, was an active member of Life Teen, and sang at Mass.
This weekend, he will be backed by a four-piece band whose only practice time with the star was Friday.
The benefit concert on Sunday evening will raise money for the Young Adult Ministry’s Water Project mission trip to Guatemala.
“One of the biggest health problems in the remote areas of Guatemala is related to unsafe drinking water,” Pip said.
The project, “Water with Blessings,” provides water filters, which makes clean water a long-term gift.
St. Joseph funds two mission trips to Guatemala a year to provide medical care, as well as building roofs and flooring for homes.
“We are very fortunate to live where we live,” Pip said. “If we have any sort of fortune, it is our responsibility to help others if we can.”
Pip’s devotion to helping the less fortunate is not a celebrity promotion. He was an Eagle Scout after participating in Boy Scouts from kindergarten through high school.
In high school, Pip attended mission trips throughout the U.S., even helping tornado victims recover from a disaster.
Now, the singer has started his own charity, Youth in Mission, which gives scholarships to youths who wouldn’t otherwise have the money to fulfill their calling to serve.
Building a following
Besides being a model son and Christian philanthropist, Pip has spent most of 2013 focused on himself, due to his hard work co-writing songs, as well as creating albums and videos without the help of a record label.
While being on a label is going out of style, Pip said, it is not common for artists to be independent in pop. Record companies often invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single hit.
He said the “money-making machine” markets to radio stations to play the latest song on the airwaves.
By being in control of his own career, Pip said he has a “vested interest” in his long-term success, and will not be discouraged or jaded by record executives.
“But who knows, I have only been in this business for two years,” Pip joked.
Instead of relying on corporate radio stations, the rising star is using YouTube to get his latest video, “The Hook,” seen by millions.
The video, which Pip said took two months to make, includes a fellow Kennesaw Mountain High School graduate as his love interest.
Sydney Alise has been living on the West Coast pursuing a dance career and recently became an LA Laker girl.
In the video, Pip dons a tuxedo and shows off some dance moves with bright flashing lights.
The background dancers helped boost his confidence, Pip said, since he only took dance class as a young kid.
With a little more grit and sex appeal in his singing voice, Pip said his latest music is “funk-driven,” with modern, contemporary, electronic sounds.
Pip will also perform at the Strand Theatre on Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. as a special guest for “Rockin’ for the Strand VII.” Tickets are $10.