2018 in Review: Top Songs

Wé McDonald: “Head Up High”


We McDonald of The Voice Season 11 released her debut single and a children's book in 2018

Wé McDonald of The Voice Season 11 released her debut single and a children’s book in 2018.

Wé McDonald, the third-place finisher on Season 11 of The Voice, released her debut single in May.

It’s an anthem of self-acceptance and perseverance called “Head Up High.”

And it’s a song Wé wrote with fellow contestant Kylie Rothfield during their time on the show.

“We were fed up with all these expectations and societal standards,” including perceptions about how females should look like Barbie dolls, Wé told a crowd at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan before performing the song live for the first time.

The song also pairs nicely with the anti-bullying message Wé has embraced. In fact, the lyrics grace the back cover of a children’s book she wrote called “The Little Girl with a Big Voice,”

It’s basically the story of Wé, a young girl who is bullied in school but who winds up performing on stage in front of a crowd that has come to accept her.

“When kids read it, I want them to take away that confidence is beautiful in people no matter what they look like,” Wé, 17 when she auditioned for The Voice, told storymonsters.com. “You can have a small beginning, but if you work hard, you can end up on top. You have the right to fight for that.”

Here’s “Head Up High.”

Editor’s Note: By my count, former contestants from The Voice released more than 70 albums or EPs, more than 90 music videos and more than 800 original songs in 2018.

This week, I’m featuring my favorites, spotlighting what I’m calling the Top 5 music videos, Top 20 songs and Top 5 albums/EPs.

I hesitate to call them the best because that’s very subjective. Besides, I easily could have made each of these lists five times as long and still omitted lots and lots of great music.

That’s why I grit my teeth when Marshmellow or Ann-Marie or even a coach or advisor winds up with a guest performance spot on The Voice. I’ll never understand why the show doesn’t do more to promote its alumni.

Ah, but this isn’t a time for griping. It’s time to celebrate the accomplishments of talented artists.

I’ve also posted a complete list of post-Voice singles, albums and EPs, with links for your listening pleasure. And a blog with all 90-plus music videos. Please, check them out. Find your own favorites.

And if I’ve missed anyone, let me know. Stage names change. Side projects are created. Tracking the output of 600 post-Voice artists … well, I’ll be shocked if I didn’t miss someone. Just let me know by commenting below or emailing [email protected]. In terms of singles, my goal is to list any where the former contestant is the primary vocalist.

Coming tomorrow: The Top 5 post-Voice albums of 2018.

Happy listening.

Top songs (not ranked)

Adanna Duru, “Doll”
Amanda Brown, “Take a Pill”
Amy Vachal, “Wait”
Austin Jenckes, “In My Head”
Brian Nhira, “‘Til Death Do Us Part”

Cartelli, “Last Night’s Mascara”
Chloe Kohanski, “Come This Far”
Christiana Danielle, “Resignation”
Darby, “Save a Thought for Me”
Domo, “Currency”

D.R. King & Jackie Foster, “Love is a Drug”
Jamie Lono, “New Orleans”
Johnny Gates, “Brooklyn Nights”
Koryn Hawthorne, “Down Goes Rome”
Loren Allred, “Never Enough”

Matt McAndrew, “Game Over”
Natalie Stovall, “Making Out in Cars”
RaeLynn, “Queens Don’t”
Riley Biederer, “Heartbreak Back”
We McDonald, “Head Up High”

Top Videos

1. Faultlines (Ashley Morgan), “Rain”
2. Sawyer Fredericks, “Hide Your Ghost”
3. Darby, “Play Pretend”
4. Brian Nhira, “Is This Love?”
5. Dawson Coyle, “Saturn”

All 2018 music videos
All 2018 albums and EPs
All 2018 singles

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