After The Voice

Celebrating 20 Seasons of The Voice, Week 3


The Voice is celebrating its 20th season this spring.

And I’ve decided to celebrate too, by shining a spotlight on my all-time favorite post-Voice music.

Please note that I’m not labeling these songs as “the best” post-Voice music. That’s simply too dependent on musical tastes.

These are my favorites, songs that make me smile or move me every time I listen.

I hope you’ll celebrate these artists with me. After all, they’re the ones who have made The Voice worth watching since the show premiered April 26, 2011.

Editor’s Note: There’s also a Spotify playlist I’ll be updating weekly. Just search for Celebrating 20 Seasons of The Voice.

Brennley Brown from The Voice Season 12Brennley Brown, “Keep Coming Back”

Brennley was just 14 when she auditioned for The Voice, made the Top 6 in the spring of 2017, then waited two and a half years to release music. The wait was worth it. This song, with that devine chorus, marked her debut single. Oh, and Brennley told Billboard that it wasn’t a guy she was writing about; it was her musical journey. “For me, pursuing a career as an artist has been a heartbreaking love story. Music is all I have ever known. It has a pull on my life like nothing else. It’s been a safe place, a happy place and sometimes even a sad place, but it always heals me. This song really is my love letter to music…no matter what, I keep coming back.” Brennley, now 19, recently performed her first shows in Nashville since the pandemic began and is teasing new music in 2021. She even posted a snippet of a tribute song to her late grandfather, a Vietnam veteran, that she hopes to release on Memorial Day.
Brennley on Instagram. Brennley on Apple Music. Brennley on Spotify.

Craig Wayne Boyd from The Voice Season 7Craig Wayne Boyd, “We Sweat”

This soulful, swampy, sing-along jam was one of the highlights on Craig’s post-Voice album “Top Shelf,” which landed in 2017. Craig said The Voice experience taught him he could sing more than outlaw country. And he told The Boot that this song, co-written with Josh Helms, Matt Willis and Walker Hayes, was the result of an in-studio jam session. Heck, some of Bob Marley’s Wailers even showed up in the studio, “at like 2 in the morning … It was amazing how the song came together, and it was kind of a spur-of-the-moment, inspirational process.” The Season 7 champ and wife Taylor are expecting their fourth child together in May. And Craig has joined forces with Adam Wakefield from The Voice Season 10 and Casey James from American Idol Season 9 to form Texas Hill. Which has a full slate of March gigs planned, to Craig’s delight. “I can’t wait to feel like a professional musician and entertainer again,” he writes on Instagram.
Craig on Instagram. Craig on Apple Music. Craig on Spotify. Texas Hill on Apple Music. Texas Hill on Spotify.

Adam Wakefield, “Shoot Me Where I Stand”

Why not follow up CWB’s “We Sweat” with my favorite post-show song from his Texas Hill colleague, who finished runner-up on Season 10? This track appeared on Adam’s 2018 “Gods and Ghosts” album and the focus is a gal who’s done him so wrong repeatedly that he swears he’s never going back. I guess she must be one of the ghosts. Says Adam about the song’s inspiration: “Every guy at some point tell his buddy, ‘If I ever get back together with her, slap me.’ And then, when they do, and you call them on it, they get all pissed off. Never console your friend after he breaks up with his girlfriend by telling him how much she sucks. ‘Cause then, sure as s–t, they’ll get back together. I’ve learned that the hard way.” Adam’s since gotten engaged to longtime musical collaborator Jenny Leigh. And in addition to the Texas Hill project, he appears on her latest single (“Where the Real Love Starts”) and they teamed up for a virtual holiday show to help musicians affected by COVID.
Adam’s Instagram. Adam on Apple Music. Adam on Spotify. Texas Hill on Apple Music. Texas Hill on Spotify.

Kyndal Inskeep from The Voice Season 17Kyndal Inskeep, “Letter”

Just a month after Season 17 ended, Kyndal released this Voice-inspired song — based on a journal entry to herself. It was written between rounds of the show, after she let the excitement of the fresh start The Voice offered turn into anxiety, drama and self-doubt. “’Letter’ is about coming to terms with who you may have been before. Accepting your wrongs and moving on into being the person you are supposed to be!” she said. “It reminds me to be gentle with myself because I have learned, I have lost and I have conquered. You and I are more than enough. No matter how tough the time or sad the story, the only one stopping us from moving forward is ourselves! Remember you are a bad ass and a conqueror. You got this!!” Kyndal, 22 when she auditioned, made it to the Top 20 on the show.
Kyndal on Instagram. Kyndal on Apple Music. Kyndal on Spotify.

Austin Jenckes from The Voice Season 5Austin Jenckes, “Same Beer Different Day”

About the only thing more cliché in country music than a small-town song is a drinking song. Combine the two into one song and turn it into something so catchy I’ll listen to it again and again … well, you’ve accomplished something. That’s just what Austin Jenckes (Season 5) did on the 2017 single “Same Beer Different Day.” Austin confessed to Taste of Country that the song was originally “Same S–t Different Day.” Realizing that title might limit the song’s commercial appeal, he and co-writers JP Williams and Josh London tweaked it a bit. Since The Voice, Austin’s also released a fine 2019 album and, during quarantine, launched a Same Beer, Different Sunday video series. And in January, he posted a selfie to Instagram with his first gold record for song writing.
Austin on Instagram. Austin on Apple Music. Austin on Spotify.

Jared Blake, “Don’t Let Her Be Gone”

Jared had gone three years between singles when he released this song in late 2017. It was written by Ray Stephenson, but Jared said he related to it and decided to record it because of a bad motorcycle accident he’d been in and everything his relationship had gone through during his recovery. Then a second accident made it even more real. “Right after I was ready to lay down the vocals, my wife and I were in a head-on collision and the moment I thought I lost her, this song became my life, more real than ever,” he told Voice Views. That might explain the audible ache in his voice. Both recovered. In fact, they starred together in the music video. It warns of the danger of drinking and driving and includes a number to call for help with addiction, something Jared has said he struggled with early in his career. Oh, and there’s been no more three-year interruptions in his flow of music. In fact, he’s followed up with a string of impressive singles, most recently in conjunction with The Nashville Cartel. “Ain’t No Grave,” his latest, landed in late January.
Jared’s Instagram. Jared on Apple Music. Jared on Spotify. Nashville Cartel on Apple Music. Nashville Cartel on Spotify.

Cassadee Pope from The Voice Season 3Cassadee Pope, “If My Heart Had a Heart”

One of the most successful artists post-Voice, the Season 3 champ saw her post-show debut album (2013’s “Frame by Frame”) land at number one on the country albums chart and in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200. She was also nominated for a 2017 Grammy for her “Think of You” duet with Chris Young. “If My Heart Had a Heart” — penned by Hannah Ellis, Josh Kerr and Matt McGinn — appeared on her 2019 “Stages” album and has more than 6 million streams on Spotify. Cassadee said the song “just hit me in the chest” the first time she heard it. “Because there were so many times when I wished I could tell my heart to feel something different. … All we all want to do when we’re feeling sad is flip a switch on our heart and be okay, but we can’t do that, and that’s really frustrating. That’s why that song really resonated with me.” That’s Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay providing harmonies. Cassadee released her third post-Voice album, “Rise and Shine,” in August.
Cassadee’s Instagram. Cassadee on Apple Music. Cassadee on Spotify.

See also …
Week 1: Christina Grimmie, Sawyer Fredericks, Mia Z, Kensington Moore, Taylor John Williams, Koryn Hawthorne, Zaxai, Brynn Cartelli

Week 2: Kat Robichaud, Chevonne and The Fuzz, Melanie Martinez, Archis (Dia Frampton), Rebecca Loebe, Jamar Rogers, Brian Nhira

Week 4: Secret Someones (Leila Broussard), D.R. King and Jackie Foster, Wolfchild (Gabriel Wolfchild), Ricky Manning, Moses Stone, Wé McDonald

Week 5: Tony Lucca, Juliet Simms, Chris Mann, Duncan Kamakana, Jordy Searcy, Adanna Duru, Stephen Marcellus

Week 6: Chloe Kohanski, Meghan Linsey, Christiana Danielle, Charlotte Sometimes (now LACES), Chance Pena, Matt McAndrew, Angie K (Angie Keilhauer)

Week 7: Ricky Duran, Luke Wade (as LAWS), Billy Gilman, Emily Keener, Kylie Rothfield, Johnny Gates, Amanda Brown

Week 8: Dustin Christensen, Jonny Gray, Kat Robichaud, Dia Frampton, Lelia Broussard

Week 9: RaeLynn, Natalie Stovall, Gracee Shriver, The Swon Brothers, Ashland Craft, Kristi Hoopes, Texas Hill (Adam Wakefield and Craig Wayne Boyd)

Week 10: Angela Wolff, Brooke Stephenson, Fousheé, Paxton Ingram, Ashley DuBose, Javier Colon, Gigi Rich

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