Danielle Bradbery is the 18-year-old winner of “The Voice,” and she’s calling me on tour from where?
“I’m in Indianapolis, sitting in a college, eating Chick-fil-A,” she says.
We make small talk, but then I ask if (like other stars) she’s had to say “no” and “stop” to friends asking her for free money from her celebrity bank account.
“I’ve had a lot of experience like that,” Bradbery says without spilling details. “It’s never good to have all that negative energy around you. I definitely saw differences in people. It was tough at first. I try to ignore it.”
But there is an upside: “At least I know who my true friends are. I try to think of it as a good thing. I do see the true ones. They stuck around.”
Speaking of free, you can see the happy country singer perform a no-cover show Thursday at Santa Fe Station.
How does “The Voice” winner deal with the pressure of national fame at a young age?
“There is a lot of pressure everywhere with things I have to do. I just try to find my happy place and have the most fun I can.”
She tells me she looks up to Carrie Underwood and other singers “in that group of girls.” But “I’m not going to try to be somebody else.”
Does she have any anti-role models? You know, fallen stars she doesn’t want to emulate?
“I’m not going to name-drop, but there are other artists who have made mistakes, and other people learn from them,” she says. “Of course, I don’t want to make any mistakes myself. But just in general, I wouldn’t want to go down a path of, like, anything wrong.”
I say, “When I was 18, I was looking forward to being 21. Do you like being 18?”
“I love being 18, but it is a very awkward age to be right now. I feel like that’s true with everybody. I’ve had people tell me that same thing. It’s the age of finding yourself, and especially being in this music industry, I’m having to do that a lot more.”
This is when I realize she sounds more mature than I was at her age, so I tell her that, and she thanks me, and I (an adult man trying not to patronize her) think but don’t say, “What a nice girl.”
CAN WE TALK?
I was on vacation when Joan Rivers died or else I would have written a long goodbye to her.
I loved her so.
When I was a kid, I saw her joking on TV, “If Gloria Vanderbilt has one more face-lift, she’s going to have a goatee.”
She made me laugh when she was on TV and on stage at The Venetian. She was the funniest tweeter.
She was brilliant in interviews with me. She was a stone-cold genius. Just beyond.
Rivers’ death seemed doubly sad coming on the heels of Robin Williams’ death.
Then, I woke Monday to the news that former Stephens Press publisher Carolyn Uber, the nicest woman, fell to cancer over the weekend.
I am sick of death. Over it.
I spent half my staycation playing the new “Destiny” shooter online. I tried playing the OK, offline story mode, but I have no idea what the plot or dialogue are about.
The online multiplayer is good enough to nurse me through our desert autumn.
What’s fun: battle maps (but too few of them); double jumps; mutual knock-out blows; and the stabby-stab-stab knife in Hunter mode.
I should enjoy “Destiny” less, probably, but I’ve been gaming low-fi mobile games all year, so anything on PS4 seems wilder — although I played through the Android version of “Max Payne,” and that was rad.
Hopefully, someday, game companies will hire great professional writers to helm plots, storylines, character development and dialogue.
But I’m not holding my breath.
For now, for me, PS4 games will continue to be about killing fake people while processing the deaths of real people.
And so, I give “Destiny” four out of five Dead Fake People.
Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Email him at email@example.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.