The Voice

Stephanie Rice says she’s been ‘showered with love’ since blind audition aired


Stephanie Rice listens to feedback from the judges after performing Kelly Clarkson's "Piece by Piece." (NBC Photo)

Stephanie Rice listens to feedback from the judges after performing Kelly Clarkson’s “Piece by Piece.” (NBC Photo)

No, Stephanie Rice has not heard from her parents since her audition aired on The Voice Monday night.

But the Houston-based singer-songwriter says she’s received so much support from elsewhere that her initial appearance on the show “helped heal a lot of wounds.”

If you missed it, Stephanie shared the story of how she was disowned by her parents eight or nine years ago when she came out as gay.

She’s the daughter of a Baptist pastor, and The Voice touched on only a small part of a story she also shared with Out Smart Magazine last August.

Stephanie told the magazine that, as a teenager, she was forced to attend “straight” counseling.

She was salutatorian of her high school class, but said she wasn’t allowed to give a speech because her father considered her “unfit” to be an example for anyone.

Nor would he allow Stephanie to pursue a basketball scholarship she received, she said in that interview.

When she refused another round of counseling, she said her parents simply dropped her off in the parking lot of the community college she was attending.

Well, Stephanie graduated from college. She did research at the Baylor College of Medicine.

She wound up in Houston, pouring her story of healing into a 2016 album released by her band, Colonial Blue, and appropriately titled “Dear Misery.”

And then she auditioned for The Voice, turning in an emotional rendition of “Piece by Piece” by Kelly Clarkson and landing a spot on Team Gwen Stefani. “Piece by Piece” is a song Kelly wrote, in part about her own estranged relationship with her father.

“I have not heard from my parents,” Stephanie told Voice Views in a conference call with the media Tuesday afternoon. “But I have received a lot of support from aunts and uncles that I hadn’t heard from in a long time.

“And my brother made a Facebook post today that brought me to tears. He was saying for a long time, the family, if they were supportive of me, they were supportive of me quietly. He said by me telling the story publicly it’s causing a lot of my family members to have their own coming out in a sort of way.

“Everyone in my family reveres my dad and what he believes,” she added. “And I think everyone was kind of scared to go against him maybe. I don’t really know the reasons.

“So, no, I haven’t heard from my parents, but I’ve received so much love from my extended family that I kind of feel part of the fold again. It’s been incredible.”

Then there’s the support of her hometown and, remarkably, Kelly Clarkson herself.

After Stephanie’s audition aired, Kelly tweeted: “Can’t. Stop. Crying. Her vulnerability and her story ….just wow. Steph, I hope ur parents open their hearts 2 the beautiful person u r!”

Stephanie said she had to double check the source. At first, she felt sure the tweet came from a fake account.

It didn’t.

During the conference call, Stephanie admitted she was nervous about sharing her story, realizing she was risking rejection again, not only from her parents, but “maybe America at large.”

“I was pretty apprehensive about sharing my story just because I’ve spent so many years building up the strength to be who I was and to be proud of who I was and not be apologetic,” the 27-year-old said.

“And then I got to a place where I felt okay. And I felt led to see if I could help other people. Because there was a time when I didn’t feel I was ever going to be okay.

“I’ve received nothing but love, especially from my hometown,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to be showered with so much love. I’m not used to it, I don’t think.”

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