Meet All of The Voice Season 20's Top 40 Contestants

Meet All of The Voice Season 20's Top 40 Contestants

03/29/2021

Aaron Konzelman — Team Blake

Age: 39

Hometown: Waco, Texas

Resident: Waco, Texas

Growing up, Konzelman’s parents ran a Christian music studio, so it was only a matter of time before he started singing himself. He then followed his passion for music to college, where he studied audio engineering and met his wife Amanda. The couple now have two kids and have moved 11 times over the past 17 years, always immersing themselves in the local music scene wherever they go. Due to his nomadic lifestyle, Konzelman has worked various jobs from teaching martial arts to creating essential oils for men’s beards and considers himself a jack-of-all-trades. Konzelman is ready for his next adventure on The Voice and hopes to finally make music his full-time career. 

“I am so honored that Blake turned his chair for me,” Konzelman says. “I deeply respect his songwriting and long history in the music industry. I feel like he gets me and my artistry and is the perfect coach to push me even further toward my dreams!”

1of 40

Ainae — Team Kelly

Age: 21

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Resident: Silver Spring, Maryland

Ainae was born into an Ethiopian-American family that was very musical. Her grandmother ran an admired jazz club, her father was an audio engineer and her mother worked in music marketing. Ainae got involved in her arts community and loved singing, but she only thought of it as a hobby while she focused on competitive swimming. It wasn’t until her senior year of high school that she began to consider music as a potential career and started taking vocal lessons and performing at open mic nights. Ainae is now a senior at Howard University and spends her time live-streaming her original music and curating events that support developing artists.

“I am extremely excited to start this journey with The Voice and to work with Kelly Clarkson,” she says. “This experience has been filled with so much love and I’m honored to have an amazing coach guiding the way.”

2of 40

Andrew Marshall — Team Nick

Age: 21

Hometown: Boxford, Massachusetts

Resident: Boxford, Massachusetts

Marshall was inspired at a young age to get into music after watching theater and seeing his sisters sing in choir. In middle school, he started landing the leads in shows. Later, he learned guitar and began songwriting. One life-changing day in high school, Marshall’s friend noticed his eyes were yellow. His parents rushed him to the doctor, and he was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 16. As he received treatment over the course of the next three years, Make-A-Wish made it possible for him to meet his idol, John Mayer, who gave him the confidence to write about his most difficult experiences, including his cancer diagnosis. Now in remission, Marshall is attending college for music business and does gigs regularly. 

“This opportunity has meant everything, and having Nick Jonas take a chance on me has been incredibly validating,” he says. “I’m so eager to get going and to see how he can help me evolve over the course of this show.”

He adds: “I just want to be a sponge and soak up everything that I can from Nick on how to be a better performer, singer and musician.”

3of 40

Anna Grace — Team Kelly

Age: 20

Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Resident: Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Anna started singing in church at a young age, but she later became self-conscious of her voice and stopped singing in public. When she was 17, Anna’s whole life changed when she was diagnosed with a serious blood infection that kept her in and out of the hospital for eight months. When the infection was at its worst and her doctors didn’t think she would make it through the night, Anna only thought of two things: her family and music. After she recovered, she found the courage to sing again and started songwriting. Anna now leads worship at her church and outside of music, she choreographs and competes in Irish dance. 

“I am extremely excited to work with Kelly Clarkson,” she says. “I always knew that if I ever had the chance to audition and she turned around for me, I would choose her.”

“She is just such a loving, genuine person, and her personality is so infectious,” she continues. “She has coached a lot of young women to become better versions of themselves, and that’s why I love her so much!”

4of 40

Avery Roberson — Team Blake

Age: 20

Hometown: Forest City, North Carolina

Resident: Rutherfordton, North Carolina

Roberson was inspired to pick up a guitar and start singing by his father who played in a country band. He now performs anywhere he can from coffee shops to senior centers. He enjoys playing for the older folks and says that grandmas love him, which has helped him gain confidence with his stage presence. Roberson’s parents have fostered children throughout his whole life, so when he isn’t performing, he enjoys connecting with his foster siblings through music. Roberson comes to The Voice hoping to impress the grandmas out there and inspire his foster siblings to chase their dreams.

“I am super excited to be on Team Blake and to be able to work with him,” he says. “Blake is a country legend, and this has been a dream of mine since I was little!”

5of 40

Awari — Team Nick

Age: 35

Hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Resident: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Awari grew up in Virginia Beach with his mother and older brother while his father was incarcerated. He loved to sing and entertain the neighborhood as a child, so when he later joined the Air Force as a boom operator, he continued to pursue his musical talents. In 2016, Awari was invited to sing the National Anthem at an NFL game in honor of military men and women, and he quickly gained an online following as a singer. He later became a single father and completed his service in the military to focus on his family and music. Knowing the challenges of growing up without a father present, Awari recently started a non-profit that focuses on mentoring youth and adolescence. 

“I’m excited to work with Nick because he has a wealth of knowledge and experience that could provide exponential growth for up-and-coming artists such as myself,” he says. “My experience on the show has been surreal [so far] because I’ve always aspired to be a musician.”

He adds: “The Voice has given me an opportunity to showcase my music on a major platform and find a connection with a larger audience.”

6of 40

Bradley Sinclair — Team Nick

Age: 22

Hometown: Rockford, Michigan

Resident: Nashville, Tennessee

Sinclair first got into music by playing with his brother’s drum set. He later discovered his talent for singing in middle school after joining the choir. He continued with his music throughout school and taught himself to play several instruments, but he eventually took a job at a tech store to make some money. While this self-described tech nerd loves being able to teach people how to use their phones and tablets, he is ready to start taking his lifelong love of music seriously. Sinclair recently quit his job and moved to Nashville in hopes of jumpstarting his music career. 

“My desire as a singer is to always improve and learn, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than getting to work with Nick Jonas,” he says. 

7of 40

Cam Anthony — Team Blake

Age: 19

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Resident: Los Angeles, California

While growing up in North Philadelphia, Anthony turned to music as an escape from the violence and crime he faced in his city. He learned at an early age how to control his voice and honed his skills in the church choir. At 11, Anthony’s life changed forever after a video of him singing a Bruno Mars song went viral. Anthony was later invited to open for Patti LaBelle, sing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and perform at the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll. At 12, Anthony was signed by Dr. Dre, and he spent the rest of his teen years recording and performing. With his contract now up, Anthony is ready to take full control of his artistry and continue making a name for himself on The Voice stage. 

“I’m hella excited to work with Blake,” he says. “It’s gonna be really different for me to work with an artist of his genre, but I think that’s what makes this pairing so DYNAMIC! It’s been a blessing so far, and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead of me!”

8of 40

Carolina Rial — Team Legend

Age: 17

Hometown: Weehawken, New Jersey

Resident: Ridgefield, New Jersey

Rial is a first-generation American with a father from Spain and a mother from Bolivia. After her father passed away when she was 3, her grandmother helped raise her and her siblings. While Rial spent the next 10 years in dance classes, she secretly wanted to sing. She began posting her singing videos online and knew she needed to focus on music after Jennifer Hudson reposted one of her songs. Rial began performing at local events and eventually started taking her talents across the tri-state area. Her grandmother got to see the start of her singing career but passed away two years ago. By chasing her dream on The Voice, Rial hopes to honor her father and grandmother.

“I’ve been watching The Voice for the past 10 years and always looked up to the artists who were once in my shoes,” she says. “It has been the biggest blessing getting to work with John. He is so wise, talented and an overall incredible human being.”

“I’m so grateful to him for believing in my voice from the very start and for trusting in me,” she continues. “I cannot wait for the world to watch my journey!”

9of 40

Christine Cain — Team Legend

Age: 27

Hometown: Pasadena, California

Resident: Pasadena, California

Cain spent much of her childhood in the outdoors, but she equally loved the arts. Dance and cheerleading consumed her life throughout school and although she loved singing, she never felt confident in her ability. After graduating high school, she started experiencing mysterious pain and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Feeling self-conscious about her body and illness, Cain went to college for music business and planned to stay behind-the-scenes. One of her class assignments was to put together a show and after a successful performance, she was inspired to finally pursue singing. Cain is now ready to step out of her own way and into the spotlight on The Voice.

“Working with John as a coach is really a dream come true,” she says. “He’s definitely a heavy hitter in the music industry, especially the R&B world.”

“I was maybe 12 years old when he dropped his album Get Lifted, and my favorite song to bump was ‘Use to Love You,'” she adds. “I’ve been a fan ever since. It’s truly a pleasure to be on his team, and I’m SUPER excited to start this journey on The Voice.”

10of 40

Ciana Pelekai — Team Legend

Age: 20

Hometown: Waianae, Hawaii

Resident: Las Vegas, Nevada

Pelekai was born and raised on the island of Oahu by a musical family. She’s been performing in pageants since she was 4 years old and got her big break at 8 when a video of her singing went viral. Through the years, Pelekai continued performing and building her online following. She now uses her platform to take a stand against bullying. In 2017, she was crowned Miss Hawaii Teen America and made national news after winning Miss Teen America later that year. Pelekai and her family now live in Las Vegas and outside of her music, she enjoys bowling in her family league.   

“Taking this step in my life with my ohana, moving to Las Vegas and now auditioning for The Voice has been the biggest blessing,” she says. “Being able to get mentorship, guidance and advice from celebrity coaches has been the biggest help.”

“As an artist, I would love to improve, and I’ll do whatever it takes to make it in this industry,” she continues. “My goal is to one day be a professional singer and be an inspiration to others through my passion, and I believe this is where it starts!”

11of 40

Connor Christian — Team Blake

Age: 23

Hometown: Gallipolis, Ohio

Resident: Denver, Colorado

Christian grew up in a small town nestled on the Ohio River. As he heard his family sing hymns at church, his passion for music was ignited and inspired him to learn the guitar. Outside of music, Christian also spent much of his time on the tennis court. After leading his high school team to three undefeated seasons, he earned back-to-back recognition as player of the year. Christian now lives with his wife Grace in Colorado, where he works as a full-time tennis coach and plays in his church band.  

“Working with Blake Shelton is an eye-opening experience,” he says. “I am blessed to have such an opportunity and have grown musically from it.”

He adds: “Everyone I have crossed paths with during this experience has impacted me for the better.”

12of 40

Corey Ward — Team Kelly

Age: 34

Hometown: Hartsville, South Carolina

Resident: McDonough, Georgia

Ward was inspired to pursue music by his father, who was a drummer. He began playing drums as a child, and he later learned to sing and play the guitar. Chasing his passion for music, Ward brought his talents to The Voice last season, though he didn’t get a chair turn during his blind audition. Even worse, his mother was rushed to the hospital that same day due to complications from her cancer. With his mother continuing to receive treatment and his father currently recovering from a triple heart attack, Ward has learned not to take second chances for granted. He returns to The Voice this season hoping to make his parents proud. 

“I’m extremely excited and blessed to work with Kelly Clarkson,” he says. “It’s been amazing working with Kelly so far because I feel she truly understands who I am as a person and artist.”

“She believes in my story and my heart,” he continues. “Honestly, I don’t think you can ask for anything better than that. She’s the perfect coach for me!”

13of 40

Dana Monique — Team Nick

Age: 41

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Resident: Houston, Texas

Dana was born into a musically gifted family and grew up singing in church. Her mother ran the ministry of music, and her father performed in a jazz band. Dana had her first church solo at 12 years old, and by 15 she was touring as a background singer. She continued to work as a background singer for most of her career while she raised her children, but she always knew she was destined for more. She later took a job as a headliner on a cruise ship where she got a taste of stardom. Dana has worked hard to get to where she is and is ready to finally step into the spotlight on television’s biggest stage. 

“MY EXCITEMENT: Yesss!!!! Let’s do it SWEET SUGA!!!!” she says. 

14of 40

Deion Warren — Team Legend

Age: 28

Hometown: Conway, North Carolina

Resident: Conway, North Carolina

Warren grew up in North Carolina in an area surrounded by gangs and violence. From a young age, he knew he needed to stay on the right path and chose to spend his time in church and the gospel choir. Warren continued singing throughout school while focusing on his studies and eventually earned a scholarship to college. He received his degree in criminal justice and now works as a parole officer, but he still makes time for music as the lead singer in his band. For the past five years, Warren has been a role model to his parolees and hopes to continue to inspire them through music on The Voice.

“My experience on The Voice has been life changing, as it has allowed me to be an inspiration to those who simply have a passion for music,” he says. “Being afforded the opportunity to work with John Legend is ‘legendary’ in itself.”

“The knowledge and adoration that he has for his craft is refreshing,” he continues. “I am grateful, and for that, I hope to one day earn my spot among the greatest artists in music.”

15of 40

Denisha Dalton — Team Legend

Age: 22

Hometown: Warwick, New York

Resident: McKinney, Texas

Dalton grew up in a large family with eight siblings and has always loved both music and basketball. Nearly her entire family plays basketball, but Dalton was inspired to get into music by her musically-gifted mother. Though Dalton excelled at both basketball and music when she was young, she decided to focus solely on her music in high school as a way to express herself. She went on to attend Belmont University, where she majored in music business and developed her artistry by finding her own voice and style. Dalton is ready to be heard on The Voice stage and hopes to use her music to encourage others to be their true selves.

“Working with John Legend has been nothing short of life changing,” she says. “We all know this man is good at what he does, but he is even better at helping others get to that point by sharing his expertise and little tidbits that he’s learned throughout his own experience.”

16of 40

Devan Blake Jones — Team Nick

Age: 35

Hometown: Aurora, Colorado

Resident: Denver, Colorado

Jones has always loved singing, and he committed himself to pursuing music after graduating high school. He got hired to sing in an Afrobeat band and took on the task of teaching himself to sing in Swahili. For 17 years, Jones performed in a wedding band and at various community events while also working his way up in office jobs to pay the bills. He is now a client relations manager at a tech firm, but he still dreams of being a professional singer. Jones is ready to make his dream a reality on The Voice.

“This experience has been a dream come true and has been overwhelmingly exciting and humbling,” he says. “I’ve been a huge fan of Nick Jonas for so long.”

He adds: “I’m very excited to get to work with him on The Voice Season 20, and I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity!”

17of 40

Durell Anthony — Team Legend

Age: 34

Hometown: McKinney, Texas

Resident: Woodlands, Texas

Hailing from a family of musicians, Anthony started singing in church at a young age. He wasn’t able to keep up with sports due to his weight, so music became his focus throughout school. Anthony went to college on a vocal scholarship weighing nearly 300 pounds and decided to get serious about his health and his artistry. Fitness became a passion for him, and after graduating, he became a counselor at a weight-loss summer camp where he met his wife. When that summer ended, Anthony started gigging at weddings and eventually turned music into a full-time career. Anthony and his wife now have two young children. 

“It’s truly been a dream come true working with John Legend so far,” he says. “I went from losing all my gigs and shows due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to participating in Season 20 of The Voice! I never saw this coming, but I am so grateful to be a part of this.”

18of 40

Emma Caroline — Team Blake

Age: 25

Hometown: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Resident: Nashville, Tennessee

Emma didn’t have a typical childhood. Her father was often deployed as a military helicopter pilot and her parents eventually divorced, but she found comfort in music and used it as a way to express herself. After being bullied in high school, she had to change schools. The move pushed her to join the chapel band and become a worship leader. Along the way, Emma knew music would be her saving grace and kept up with it throughout college. She wants to inspire others to persevere by using her music as a message of hope. Emma currently lives in Nashville where she works as a personal assistant.

“I’m honored to be on Team Blake,” she says. “I’m so excited to work with and learn from Blake because he is so knowledgeable about country music, and I believe he really gets me.”

She adds: “I plan to soak up everything he teaches me, and I can’t wait to see how working with him transforms me as an artist.”

19of 40

Ethan Lively — Team Blake

Age: 17

Hometown: Coalfield, Tennessee

Resident: Oliver Springs, Tennessee

Lively grew up in a small town in Tennessee and started singing in church. He learned to play the guitar when he was 13, and he now performs at local fairs and festivals. Outside of music, Lively stays busy with school and works two jobs as a farmer and as a dog groomer. He also makes time for his best friend Humphry, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. When Humphry lost his hair during chemotherapy, Lively shaved his own head in support of him and enjoys playing music to cheer him up. With Humphry’s encouragement, Lively comes to The Voice to chase his music dreams beyond his small town. 

“I am so excited to be part of Team Blake this season,” he says. “I’m looking forward to learning from Blake, as well as my teammates. This entire experience has been a blessing, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!”

20of 40

Gean Garcia — Team Kelly

Age: 19

Hometown: New York, New York

Resident: McAllen, Texas

Garcia was born with music in his blood. His father is a Spanish musician and inspired him to learn the guitar at 6 years old. After he started singing to accompany his guitar playing, Garcia decided to showcase his skills for the first time at his seventh grade talent show. With some encouragement from his friends, Garcia knew he had to pursue his love for music and began songwriting. Three years ago, he got the chance to tour with his dad around the U.S., Colombia and Mexico, which only reinforced his love for performing. Garcia comes to The Voice to prove he is ready for the spotlight. 

“I’m super excited to have the chance to work with the coaches,” he says. “The experience of having chairs turned for me was like no other because it helped me prove to myself that I have what it takes to make it big.”

21of 40

Gihanna Zoë — Team Kelly

Age: 17

Hometown: Riverside, California

Resident: Redlands, California

Gihanna grew up surrounded by music. She started singing in church when she was 5 years old and was later inspired to learn piano. She went on to attend a performing arts school, got involved in theater and found a love for storytelling after winning a statewide writing competition. To date, she has written two movies, 12 short films and four plays all while working on her songwriting. Gihanna is currently enrolled in online schooling, which allows her to focus on her music and storytelling. 

“I am SO excited to be able to work with Kelly and receive all the guidance I can from her experience as not only a coach and a vocalist, but one who has gone through the process of a show as well,” she says. 

22of 40

Halley Greg — Team Kelly

Age: 29

Hometown: Kennewick, Washington

Resident: Seattle, Washington

Greg was often bullied throughout school because of her devotion to her academics, but she found a home and friends in musical theater. As she earned a double degree in biology and psychology in college, she also began songwriting. She eventually became a science teacher, and whenever possible, she found a way to use music to help kids learn. Greg’s priority in life was teaching until two years ago, when she got involved in the Seattle music scene. She started singing backup for another artist and began performing original music but found it difficult to balance teaching by day and singing by night. Greg recently quit teaching and decided to take the leap to focus solely on her music.

“Being on Team Kelly is a dream,” she says. “Kelly Clarkson is such a powerhouse vocalist and she has the most wonderful, bright, positive energy. I’m so honored to work with her!”

She adds: “I’ve really challenged myself while on the show, trying to make sure that every moment I have on stage is intentional and impactful.”

23of 40

JD Casper — Team Kelly

Age: 28

Hometown: Bradford, Pennsylvania

Resident: Austin, Texas

Casper has been singing since he was 6 years old and began taking guitar and vocal lessons at 14. Once he graduated from high school, Casper followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Navy. He worked in Primary Flight Control aboard an aircraft carrier and continued to sing and play guitar for his shipmates, but he eventually left the service to pursue a career in music. Casper now lives in Texas with his life partner and their two children, and he performs as a one-man-band. 

“I’m really excited to work with Kelly!” he says. “I’ve been a fan of hers since she first came into the spotlight when I was like 9 years old.”

“It’s a dream come true,” he continues. “She is seriously one of the most genuine and kind people I have had the pleasure to work with.”

24of 40

Jordan Matthew Young — Team Blake

Age: 34

Hometown: Roosevelt, Utah

Resident: Austin, Texas

Young fell in love with music at a young age and taught himself to play guitar and piano. He played with one of the best high school marching bands in the state, yet he had to change schools when he moved to live with his dad. Coming from a blue-collar family, Young knew the value of hard work and rebuilt the band program at his new school. Once he graduated, Young was hired to run the program, but he eventually left to pursue his own music. Young has been touring and playing blues music for the last decade but has since stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, he has been making a living by fixing guitars and building houses with his dad. 

“I am thrilled to be working with Blake Shelton,” he says. “I know we can make some exciting things happen in the country/rock/blues world.”

He adds: “I feel so grateful to have been given this opportunity to show the world what I’ve been working at my entire life, singing and playing music with passion.”

25of 40

Jose Figueroa — Team Nick

Age: 34

Hometown: New York, New York

Resident: Kissimmee, Florida

Figueroa’s love of singing was solidified after his first performance in church at 6 years old. He continued singing in church over the years and as his love of music grew, his talent was quickly noticed. Professional gigs started rolling in, and Figueroa soon found himself performing on stages all over the world. With a desire to share his experiences and help others nurture their relationship with music, he began offering vocal and dance lessons. Figueroa now lives in Florida and is a respected performer and Zumba instructor. Outside of music and teaching, he can be found spending time with the other loves of his life: family and ministry. 

“This whole experience has truly been more than I could have ever imagined it to be,” he says. “And if what has taken place thus far is any indication of what’s to come, then I’m positive that working with my coach is going to be awesome!”

26of 40

Keegan Ferrell — Team Blake

Age: 21

Hometown: Fort Wayne, Indiana

Resident: Nashville, Tennessee

Ferrell was abandoned in China as a newborn and adopted at 6 months old. He grew up in Indiana and spent most of his time outdoors, but he also liked to sing. Though Ferrell was shy and would only sing in private, his mother noticed his talent. She enrolled him in piano lessons at 7, and by 16 he was teaching lessons of his own. He formed a band and started singing publicly at local festivals and church events. Ferrell is currently a junior at Belmont University studying music business and production. 

“To work with any of the coaches is a dream come true, but to work with the KING of The Voice, Blake Shelton? Now that’s what I’m talking about,” he says. “I guess that makes me a prince!”

27of 40

Kenzie Wheeler — Team Kelly

Age: 22

Hometown: Dover, Florida

Resident: Dover, Florida

Wheeler has been singing since he was young, but he didn’t take it seriously until high school when he performed karaoke at a local restaurant. His family and friends were impressed and encouraging, so he started going every Friday and eventually won a few local contests. Wheeler moved up to playing gigs around town and even got to open for Charlie Daniels and Craig Campbell. Wheeler’s dad encouraged him to grow a mullet, which has been a huge hit with his fans and is now his trademark. Outside of maintaining his mullet and music, Wheeler also works at a grocery store warehouse.

“I was thrilled when Kelly turned her chair for me at the beginning of my blind audition,” he says. “I’m so excited to work with Kelly. She is so sweet and enthusiastic — and amazing at what she does. That has made my experience with her so far awesome!”

28of 40

Lindsay Joan — Team Nick

Age: 22

Hometown: San Diego, California

Resident: New York, New York

Joan fell in love with singing and songwriting when she was 5 years old. She grew up performing in local theater productions and occasionally singing in her brother’s band. She and her brother would also write and produce original music, which allowed them to separate themselves from their difficult home life and turn their struggles into art. At 19, Joan impulsively booked a week-long trip to New York and never left. She landed a part in the production of Kinky Boots and spent 10 months traveling the country on a Broadway national tour. Joan used her time on the road to learn and grow as a performer and is ready to bring her talents to The Voice.

“I am so excited to be joining Team Nick on The Voice!” she says. “This has been such a dream come true, and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to sing for these incredible coaches and everyone watching at home.”

29of 40

Pete Mroz — Team Blake

Age: 45

Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee

Resident: Phoenix, Arizona

Mroz grew up with a single dad and got his start singing in the school choir. His dad signed him up for karaoke one night, and after performing, Mroz knew he was going to be a singer. When he was 19, he moved to Nashville and met another young aspiring musician, Blake Shelton. Shelton and Mroz performed together as part of a songwriters group, but Mroz eventually took a break from music to find a stable job. After losing his father to a sudden heart attack, Mroz realized life was too short not to chase his dream. He now plays 75 shows a year, works as a traveling sales manager and lives with his wife and two sons. Mroz comes to The Voice to prove to his sons you’re never too old to follow your dream.

“It has been beyond my wildest dreams to work with Blake 25 years later!” he says. “He has been super helpful in working with me on song selection, delivery and stage presence. It truly is an honor to be back with Blake.”

30of 40

Pia Renee — Team Legend

Age: 37 

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Resident: Villa Park, Illinois

Pia grew up as the oldest of eight siblings and was primarily raised by her grandmother, who passed down her love for music and inspired her to start singing. But when Pia became pregnant at 15, music was the last thing on her mind. After having a second child at 18, music remained on the back-burner for Pia while she worked to make ends meet for her family. Pia has since gotten back into singing and was asked to audition for a commercial while performing at a corporate event last year. She got the job and now works as a commercial voiceover actor. Although Pia enjoys her work in the studio, she’s ready to step into the spotlight where her true artistry can be seen and heard. 

“I’d say working with the coaches, John specifically, has been transformative,” she says. “John is a great example of grace and authenticity.”

“Taking part in this competition has made me sharper and more in tune with my creative abilities,” she says. “How I prepare my voice, my hair, what I wear, how I interact with the people around me and even how I approach the stage is calculated.”

31of 40

Rachel Mac — Team Nick

Age: 15

Hometown: Romeo, Michigan

Resident: Romeo, Michigan

Mac grew up with a single dad who inspired her love of older music and two older sisters who gave her the confidence to start singing and performing in talent shows. She began to use music as a way to express herself and is a self-described hippie at heart. Mac has dreamed of being on The Voice since she was young, and she once gave a school presentation on how much she likes Blake Shelton. Mac is currently a sophomore in high school and participates in theater, marching band and choir, and she also finds the time to lead youth worship at her church. 

“I feel so honored for Nick to hear something in me, and if that’s all I get out of this experience, I would be so grateful!” she says. “But luckily, I get hands on time with Nick as a coach, and let me tell you, he is an amazing one … I can’t wait for everyone to witness it.” 

32of 40

Raine Stern — Team Nick

Age: 22

Hometown: New Glarus, Wisconsin

Resident: Madison, Wisconsin

From a very young age, Stern had a sense of awareness that beckoned her to inspire change. As a child, she would recite detailed speeches to her family on issues that were important to her. She soon realized the powerful response that music can evoke and picked up the electric guitar, beginning her lifelong journey with songwriting. After moving to Madison from her small hometown, she was quickly picked up as a lead guitarist and singer for several local bands. Through music, she also met her girlfriend, with whom she writes and produces songs. Music has acted as a glue in Stern’s life, bringing her closer to her loved ones, helping her understand her traumas and allowing her activism to reach the ears of many.

“I’m excited to see where the overlap is with Nick and I, as people who’ve been writing songs since we were pre-teens,” she says. “Nick has really found his own way of approaching singing, and that’s a great fit for someone like me who’s musically self-taught.”

33of 40

Rio Doyle — Team Legend

Age: 16

Hometown: Adrian, Michigan

Resident: Adrian, Michigan

Doyle was born with music in her blood and grew up watching her mother perform in a band. When Doyle was in the seventh grade, doctors discovered her mother had a brain tumor they were unable to remove completely. Her mother remains at risk of seizures, but she still performs with her band and often invites Doyle on stage to join them. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Doyle formed a band with people from church and started playing local gigs in high school. She is now focused on her solo music and songwriting, and she stays busy with her worship team and musical theater. Inspired by her mother’s strength and perseverance, Doyle comes to The Voice hoping to make her family proud.

“This whole experience has felt so unreal, but at the same time, it’s felt like home … like I’m meant to be here,” she says. “Working with John Legend is indescribable. He has instilled so much confidence in me just by seeing who I truly am as an artist.”

“It’s mind-blowing to think about the time and wisdom he chooses to share with ME, because he sees something worthy in me,” she continues. “John really makes you feel special and inspires you to embrace who you are.”

34of 40

Ryleigh Modig — Team Kelly

Age: 18

Hometown: Spencer, Massachusetts 

Resident: Spencer, Massachusetts

Modig was inspired to get into music by her father who plays in a band. Growing up with a quirky sense of style, she was relentlessly bullied throughout school. After switching to homeschooling her junior year of high school, she felt free to focus on her music and finally be herself. Shortly after leaving school, Modig came out as a lesbian and received full support from her family and friends. She is currently learning the piano and ukulele and enjoys tarot card reading. She hopes to use her music to encourage others to embrace their individuality. 

“I am so blessed and excited about my experience so far on The Voice,” she says. “Working with Kelly has been a dream come true!”

35of 40

Savanna Chestnut — Team Blake

Age: 25

Hometown: Americus, Kansas

Resident: Emporia, Kansas

Chestnut grew up in a small town and was raised by a single mother. Her grandparents owned the local bar where her mother worked so she spent much of her childhood there. On karaoke night, Chestnut would perform for the regulars and always knew she would go on to be a singer. She started to pursue music seriously after high school and began gigging. Chestnut makes a living as a full-time musician yet comes to The Voice ready to expand her career beyond the Midwest. 

“Being picked to be on Blake Shelton’s team is so crazy and exciting!” she says. “I never thought I would end up on a huge TV show like The Voice, so I’m extremely flattered to have made it this far.”

She adds: “I’m grateful to have this opportunity to sing for the coaches and The Voice fans!”

36of 40

Savanna Woods — Team Kelly

Age: 26

Hometown: Stanwood, Washington

Resident: Stanwood, Washington

Woods grew up in a musical family and has been singing since she could talk. She began songwriting at a young age and went on to sing in church as a soloist. At 19, she formed a band and learned that she enjoyed all aspects of music, from performing to producing. She realized she could make music a career and recently decided to branch out as a solo artist. Woods currently lives in a tiny home on her parents’ property and livestreams her original music to build her online following. Outside of music, she is an avid backpacker and enjoys traveling around the world.  

“I am beyond excited to be working with Kelly,” she says. “This has all been such a surreal experience so far, and I feel so grateful for the opportunity. I can’t wait to see how much more I grow!”

37of 40

Victor Solomon — Team Legend

Age: 22

Hometown: Peoria, Illinois

Resident: Greensboro, North Carolina

Solomon and his three siblings were raised by a single mom. He remembers times when they went without electricity and water, but they were a tight-knit family and always got through the difficult times together. Solomon started singing in church at 6 years old and won his eighth grade talent show by singing John Legend’s “Ordinary People.” He continued singing in school and attended North Carolina A&T State University, the country’s largest historically Black university. Solomon is now a senior and was voted Mister of his university. He serves on the Student Government Association executive board and stays busy with his Mister duties as he continues to sing at church and in the school’s gospel choir. 

“Working with my coach and the rest of the coaches has been an incredible experience,” he says. “I am so grateful to be in a position to take advice from such incredible artists!”

“Life is so good right now, and God is still blessing me,” he adds. “I’m just super excited to be here and am definitely living in the moment.”

38of 40

Zae Romeo — Team Nick

Age: 21

Hometown: McKinney, Texas

Resident: Woodlands, Texas

Romeo had a rocky start to life, but he always found comfort in music. At 3 years old, Romeo and his siblings were placed into foster care, but they were eventually all adopted into one family. He started singing and as he got older, he began performing around town at local coffee shops. At 16, Romeo got in trouble with his school and was afraid of disappointing his parents so he ran away and tried to make it on his own by busking on the streets. He finally understood unconditional love when he came across his face on a missing person poster and decided to return home to his family. Romeo now teaches music and art to kids, leads worship at his church and is working on building a relationship with his birth mother. 

“I am STOKED to work with Nick,” he says. “We are very similar vocally and in our artistry. I know I can go far with him.”

“Working with Nick has been a dream come true,” he continues. “He has taught me so much, and I’ve been able to use what he’s taught me to better myself as an artist and as a singer.”

39of 40

Zania Alaké — Team Legend

Age: 34

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan

Resident: Detroit, Michigan

Born and raised in Detroit, Alaké grew up around stage productions and music. Her mother would have her and her sister put on “kitchen concerts,” where they would sing in the kitchen of their home. It was then that young Alaké knew she wanted to be a singer. Her parents enrolled her in a performing arts high school, and she continued her artistic education through college. Her talent led her to perform with various known artists, and she co-produced and starred in an Anita Baker tribute show. More recently, the mother of two has been working as a full-time banker, yet she is still dedicated to her music and songwriting. Alaké comes to The Voice to see if she has what it takes to make music her full-time career. 

“What a dream this is,” she says. “John Legend has taught me and is still teaching me the importance of telling a story. When I present my voice — my gift to the world — I want to touch souls, heal, awaken and empower.”

40of 40

Source: Read Full Article