voice

[photo by Trae Patton/NBC]

After the events of last week in Paris, the latest in a seemingly unending string of senseless acts of violence, we are all looking for some joy, some kindness — a glimmer of hope. On Monday night’s episode of The Voice, Jordan Smith was that hope. His touching rendition of “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” brought a small ray of light into a world that currently feels filled with darkness. He brought the judges to their feet and left them all speechless.

The moving performance was proof that Jordan sings from his soul. Despite recitals with a choir at the Vatican and at a Presidential Inauguration, the singer has always struggled with self-esteem issues. In a recent interview with Pop Culture Passionistas, he said his biggest challenge is “just bringing who I am and putting every bit of who I am into my music. And not being afraid to let myself show, let my heart show, in my songs, in my performances and even in my interviews and everything that I do. Just wholly putting myself into my art.”

Jordan is the epitome of what The Voice is all about — judging someone on their singing ability alone, not on appearance or presentation. “Going into this, I knew that people weren’t exactly going to expect my voice.” He stated, “I knew they weren’t going to expect what I am. I knew they would expect me to be different.”

Jordan was selected as a mystery singer in the Blind Auditions round. So, not only did the judges not see him until they turned their chairs, the viewers did not get a glimpse of the singer either. That posed some extra pressure and a different kind of challenge for Jordan. “Once I found out that I was the mystery blind… I knew that all of America was going to have an opinion about my voice.”

But all of America’s opinion has been predominantly positive, motivating Jordan to embrace the journey and be proud of who he is. “I’m really grateful to be in a place where being different and being yourself is not only encouraged but it’s celebrated.” He continued, “So the biggest thing for me is to try to push myself to join in on that celebration. To highlight the parts of myself that do make me special, that do make me different.”

And while this experience began as a dream to win a music competition, it has become so much more for the singer. He said he has learned to “make artistic choices that represented who I was instead artistic choices that would maybe push me further in the competition or make me a stronger contender for the title. It’s slowly not becoming about that anymore.”

While Jordan has very strong chances of taking home the title, he has already won. And he admitted, “At this point any one of the people in the top 12 deserve to win. And it’s very true. Everyone’s incredible. And I would be happy to share this experience with anybody that wins.”

To see if Jordan goes all the way, watch The Voice on Mondays and Tuesday nights at 8 P.M. EST/PST on NBC.

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