After The Voice

Celebrating 20 Seasons of The Voice, Week 7


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.

Ricky Duran, “She Closed Her Eyes”

Released in December, this marked the second post-show release from Ricky, the runner-up on Season 17. It’s a gloriously heartfelt tribute to his mother, Odette, who had passed away after a long battle with cancer two years earlier. “At the time I was trying to stay positive, it’s tough to see any light after being beaten down by a loss like that,” Ricky told Sounds Like Nashville. “The verses to this song came out pretty instantaneously when I sat down to write it. I think they emotionally capture exactly how I was feeling at the time. But I thought it was important to include another emotional aspect besides just a memory and the pain of losing someone. I wanted people to hear this song and connect with it and come out more resilient. There’s something to be said about taking a loss and being able to get back up and continue on your own path.” The matching music video was filmed at his mother’s old house in Massachusetts. Ricky accomplished that, and fans responded by boosting the song to number one on the Apple Music singer-songwriter’s chart at the time of its release.
Ricky’s Instagram. Ricky Duran on Apple Music. Ricky Duran on Spotify.

Luke Wade from The Voice Season 7Luke Wade (LAWS), “Attention”

Luke Wade has released a pair of singer-songwriter albums since finishing Top 8 on Season 7. But he’s also been branching out musically, in part by releasing a four-song EP as LAWS early last year. LAWS stands for Lucas Anthony Wade Songs. But the difference between Luke Wade and LAWS is really the style of music. Luke calls this a “straight-ahead alt-rock” project, and that’s certainly true of this great track, which gets closing honors on the EP. As for why he opted to released it as LAWS rather than Luke Wade: “I think it gets confusing when you deviate from what your fans are accustomed to you sounding like,” he told And, guess what? Luke recently dropped another aka: YoungTones, a retro-pop soul project. Four singles are planned so far, beginning with “The Sun,” which drops April 16.
Luke Wade Instagram. Luke Wade on Apple Music. Luke Wade on Spotify. LAWS on Apple Music. LAWS on Spotify.

Billy Gilman, “Get It Got It Good”

Billy Gilman waited nearly a year after his second-place finish The Voice Season 11 to release his first post-show single. The result was this toe-tapper, which Bily told Voice Views he picked after reviewing more than 100 candidates for a debut single. “I was looking for songs that really show the direction I want to go with my music,” Billy said at the time. “I love that it has a celebration of life feel to it. I think we need some of that these days.” The song was written by Nathan Barlowe, Bryan Shackle and Kris Allen. Yep, that would be the same Kris Allen, who won American Idol Season 8. Billy has released only a couple of singles since. But he’s still making music and has a full-band virtual show set for Friday night in which he promises to play some unreleased originals.
Billy’s Instagram. Billy Gilman on Apple Music. Billy Gilman on Spotify.

Emily Keener from The Voice Season 10Emily Keener, “Waste My Time”

Singer-songwriter Emily Keener had already released two albums when she auditioned for Season 10 of The Voice at age 17 and finished in the Top 12. Album number three, 2016’s “Breakfast,” followed and included this wonderfully whimsical track. “I wrote it because I wanted to write something happy and poppy for once in my life,” Emily said in a Soundcloud interview with producer Noah Heyman. “And I ended up thinking it was pretty cool at first. And then, for a little while there, I hated it because I thought it was stupid. I’m not always right about my songs. And then you decided you wanted to dress it up and make something cool of it, I’m starting to really like it again.” There was a lot to like on that 2016 album. There’s more music to like on Emily’s 2020 follow-up “I Do Not Have to Be Good.” But, for now, this remains my favorite Emily track to date.
Emily Keener Instagram. Emily Keener on Apple Music. Emily Keener on Spotify.

Kylie Rothfield from The Voice Season 10Kylie Rothfield, “Miss Me”

This sassy and soulful single was the first song Kylie released after appearing on The Voice and making it to the Top 20. She wrote it with Eric Zayne at her first songwriting session in L.A. “I had this sort of intense, tumultuous relationship with a guy in Nashville right before I moved (to L.A.) and I wanted to write something that felt empowering,” Kylie told “It’s sort of like what I would’ve said to him if I had the guts. Also this was my first time ever meeting Eric, and he did an incredible job pulling this song out of me. Sonically, it’s the soul-pop anthem I’ve been wanting to write for a really long time.” The song made for a fun music video too. Kylie’s released about a half dozen other songs since and co-wrote “Head Up High,” a Wé McDonald single that also made this list. And, last year, she was back on NBC, impressing on “Songland” with an original called “Ghost.” It’s a song she says she plans to release in 2021, as soon as contractually permitted.
Kyiie’s Instagram. Kylie Rothfield on Apple Music. Kylie Rothfield on Spotify.

Johnny Gates, “Brooklyn Nights

This is one of the first songs Johnny released as a solo artist after a successful appearance on Season 12 of The Voice. But it’s a song he’d been playing with his former band, Runaway Saints, as well. And during live shows, he said it’s one that always seemed to strike a chord with fans. Little wonder. It tugs on the heartstrings and you can hear the ache in Johnny’s voice. “It’s about a girl that I used to go to New York City with when I was younger,” he told Bongmines Entertainment. “We would always stroll around Brooklyn together and dream up stories about our future, about us living together. We pictured it all happening, but it never did. And now, I can’t go back there without thinking about her. So I wrote this song about just that. Connecting a place to a person.” In fact, he wrote the song before a show, after visiting Brooklyn without said girl. Johnny has settled in Nashville now and has released a string of impressive country singles, most recently one called “Reckless.” You can hear country influences here as well.
Johnny’s Instagram. Johnny Gates on Apple Music. Johnny Gates on Spotify.

Amanda Brown from The Voice Season 3Amanda Brown, “Take Your Pill”

Amanda mesmerized us with her cover of “Dream On” on Season 3 of The Voice, then toured as a backup singer with Adele. The result: Five years passed until we got Amanda’s post-show debut album, “Dirty Water.” But it was worth the wait and featured this soulful rocker, written by Amanda during a “dark time” when she was plagued by self-doubt, she admitted to BSidesBadlands. But as great as it is, the song got a thumbs down from Amanda’s grandmother. “She’s super supportive. She listened to the record (‘Dirty Water’). I’m like, ‘Grandma, what did you think of the music?’ She’s like, “It’s so beautiful. But that one song, ‘Take Your Pill.’ I don’t like it so much … It sounds like it’s about drugs.” Amanda said “Take Your Pill” is meant as a metaphor for the peer pressure everyone faces to fit in and the way some people give in to it. But her grandma was unrelenting, so Amanda would sometimes dedicate the song to her when she performed it live.
Amanda’s Instagram. Amanda Brown on Apple Music. Amanda Brown 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 3: Brennley Brown, Craig Wayne Boyd, Adam Wakefield, Kyndal Inskeep, Austin Jenckes, Jared Blake, Cassadee Pope

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 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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