The Voice winner almost quit

The Voice winner almost quit
American country singer Craig Wayne Boyd could not make ends meet.

Might The Voice finally have produced the breakout star it so clearly lacks?

The singing contest on American TV has been rating well, but without any of its alumni so far going on to bigger things, like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have done for American Idol.

Enter American country singer Craig Wayne Boyd, winner of the seventh season of The Voice, whose debut single My Baby's Got A Smile On Her Face made it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in December.

This puts the 34-year-old singer in the same league as some of the biggest country artists. His Grammy-winning fellow country singer Garth Brooks is the only other act to pull off that feat, having hit the No. 1 spot in 2007 with More Than A Memory.

Speaking in a group media telephone interview while on tour in the United States, Boyd says his latest single was actually a track that his Voice mentor, country singer Blake Shelton, was going to record for himself, but "graciously let me record it" instead.

The Texan native says of the upbeat country rock tune: "I'm glad he did it because it's really taken off. I'm very honoured and grateful that people went out to purchase the song. I didn't ever expect it to happen.

"The song shows the fun side of me. I showed different sides on the show and this song shows the fun-loving side."

He was fielding interviews to promote The Voice Season 8, which is airing in Singapore on AXN (StarHub TV Channel 511).

Before taking part in The Voice, Boyd, who spent over a decade in Nashville, Tennessee, trying to make his mark in the music world, says he was on the brink of calling it quits.

"Right before I got the call about auditioning, I was at that place. I played a show in Nashville and I was sitting in the car with my drummer after the show, and I was telling him, 'I don't think I can continue.'

"Ends were not meeting and I was going to lose my house and car. He convinced me not to quit," he recalls.

During the show's blind audition rounds - in which the judges have to select singers based on their vocals alone - Boyd impressed Shelton and Pharrell Williams to pick him for their teams after performing the song The Whiskey Ain't Workin' by country artist Travis Tritt, whom Boyd considers an influence in his music.

In the works for Boyd is a new album, which comprises a mix of Southern country and rock, as well as a new song called I'm Still Here, which was inspired by his time on the show.

"It stemmed from walking onto set and running into folks going, 'Hey, that's Craig Wayne Boyd.' I'd like, 'Yup, I'm still here.' It's kind of my way of saying: 'I'm still here, I'm not going away.'"

He further cites Brooks as a country artist whose graciousness and career he hopes to emulate.

Recalling a time when he attended a party to celebrate one of Brooks' hit songs, he says: "When I walked through the door, he asked for my name, he was asking for everyone's name.

Before we left, he went back to the front door and recited everyone's name as we walked out. That will stick with me forever, like that's the sort of artist I should emulate."

The Voice Season 8 is currently airing on AXN (StarHub TV Channel 511) on Tuesday and Wednesday at 7.55pm, within 12 hours of the United States telecast.

melk@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Mar 14, 2015.
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