Chalk up number one. During Tuesday’s episode, she landed 21-year-old Ashland Craft after the young lady from Piedmont, S.C., delivered a soulful rendition of “You Are My Sunshine.”
On Facebook, Ashland describes herself as a 5-foot-2 fireball of a country / southern rock performer who’s been singing as long as she can remember.
She taught herself to play guitar about seven years ago and has been playing piano even longer.
And she’s also got a regular gig back home, performing at Wendell’s Dippin Branch, a honky tonk, for the past two years.
“I’m definitely thankful for it,” she told The Voice, referring to that job, “but it just makes you want more.”
Which led her to The Voice, a show she said she’s watched since Season 1.
“I’ve always loved the show,” Ashland said during a Wednesday conference call with the media, “but I never felt that I was exactly ready. Now that I’m 21 and trying to figure out my career path, I felt like it was time to take a leap of faith and try out.”
It worked, and then some. Three coaches — Blake, Miley and Adam Levine — turned for her performance. And her cover of “You Are My Sunshine” turned out to be the week’s biggest hit from The Voice on iTunes.
Ashland said she selected the song because she considers herself a soulful country artist with rock influences and “I felt like this was the perfect song to show every aspect of my voice.”
As for picking Miley as her coach — well, that was a bit of a surprise. Ashland said she entered the blind audition dead set on selecting Blake if the opportunity presented itself.
But then she realized that Miley, 24, and her are about the same age. And Ashland said some of the comments Miley made that we didn’t see on TV made her more confident about her ability to weave her way through the competition.
“Coming into this I was extremely nervous,” Ashland admitted. “I’ve only ever sung in bars and restaurants and stuff, so this was something huge for me.
“For her to tell me I would get through this with ease having her as a coach made me feel a whole lot better. When your gut tells you something, you should go with it, and that’s exactly what I did.”
If you want to hear more from Ashland, head to her YouTube channel, which is loaded with covers. What you won’t find are originals.
But don’t worry, they are coming. Ashland says she hopes to release an EP sometime soon.
She describes her original music as a mix of old and new — “feel good music that everybody can relate to” — lyrically driven songs that might remind you of the country music of the 1990s, but with a more modern sound.
Oh, and Ashland’s playing her first full band show — she’s calling it the Ashland Craft Kickoff Party — Friday night in Greenville, S.C. You can learn more about that on her Facebook page.
Here are Ashland’s social media links, followed by a couple of more samples of her music.