After weeks of tryouts for NBC’s hit music show, The Voice, it all comes down to this: the top 12. After last week’s playoffs, The Voice judges have narrowed down their teams to three singers each and who will win Season 14 of the show is still anyone’s guess. From here on out, another singer will be dropped each week before the best “voice” of the season will be revealed. Starting tonight, The Voice will begin its themed weeks with “Story of the Song” in which “artists will reveal the story of what their song means to them — special memories, significant life moments and covering artists who have inspired them,” according to NBC.
Here are the teams as they stand now and a little information about each of the finalists that you may not know. No doubt, some of these stories will be featured tonight.
Team Alicia Keys
Residing in Boston, Massachusetts, 22-year-old Jackie Foster grew up in a musical family led by a guitar-playing dad. After studying a variety of music styles while attending the Berklee College of Music summer program, she fell in love with rock. She became the lead singer of the alternative rock band, Self Portraits.
Coming from Sanford, North Carolina, The Voice contestant Britton Buchanan, 18, says that he actually preferred picking flowers rather than catching balls in the outfield in his younger years and his interests turned from sport to musical theater. He joined a classic rock band when his was just 13 years old and won a songwriting contest that gave him the opportunity to record with John Davenport.
While singing is definitely a passion for 22-year-old Christina Danielle from Fort Wayne, Indiana, she recently earned a degree in social work and has a desire to spread awareness of mental heath issues. This inspiration was due in part to a strange throat virus that caused her to face emergency surgery with the threat of never being able to sing again.
Team Kelly Clarkson
For Kaleb Lee, music is more than just a hobby. It’s an emotional outlet. His biological father left his home before he could remember. His mother gave him a guitar when he was 8 years old, and he hasn’t put it down since. After a time of leading worship at his home church and pursuing a record deal that went south, he too went south, to Florida, to focus on his family. At the age of 32, the Ormond Beach resident is giving music a second chance.
The youngest contestant this year on The Voice is 14-year-old Brynn Cartelli from Longmeadow, Massachusetts, who says she started singing at the age of four. While busy with school, she still makes time to perform at local coffee shops.
D.R. King says his dad was his first musical influence, having sung with him in church. But after his folks separated, he lost touch with his dad and had to pursue music on his own. As an adult, he began teaching at a few elementary schools. But in 2012, he took the leap to perform for six months at a Motown bar in Nagoya, Japan, of all places. Since then, the 33-year-old has performed in an off-Broadway production of Dreamgirls and performs regularly at Harlem’s Red Rooster.
Team Adam Levine
Rayshun Lamarr has had a life of ups and downs. While studying vocal performance in college, he dropped out when he received a callback to perform in The Lion King on Broadway. However, he did not get the part. Shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with lymphoma and a rare disorder called multicentric Castleman’s disease. This ordeal caused his to lose much of his hearing, vision and voice, but after two years of treatment, he is cancer-free and healthy. Now, the 33-year-old from Fort Washington, Maryland, can perform again.
Jackie Verna from West Chester, Pennsylvania, began her career in music at a relatively late age compared to her competitors. Just six years ago she was involved in a horrible traffic accident that left her dreams of becoming a cheerleader in the dust. While recovering indoors away from people, her aunt gave Verna a keyboard, which became a key to her recovery and her involvement with The Voice.
Sharane Calister also turned to music to help with her past. At the age of 10, Calister was adopted by her older cousin while her twin sister was adopted by an outside family member. The 24-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa, says that she took up the violin as an escape during the difficult times when her adoptive mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she wasn’t in contact with her twin.
Team Blake Shelton
Kyla Jade says that her voice was “born in church” and got her first big break when she joined the Nashville Super Choir on Bobby Jones Gospel, a long-running gospel show on BET. She traveled with the show for nine years before taking time off for her family. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
Spensa Baker is a 25-year-old living in Borene, Texas, who released Interscope Records’ first gospel record at the age of 12! While a fan of country music, she has an interest in growing her music career while also working in real estate.
Despite his simple home life that lacked such things as heat and electricity, Pryor Baird grew up playing the guitar and leading a blues band. He dropped out of college to pursue a career in music. At the age of 35, the Nashville, Tennessee, resident says that paying bills has taken priority over music, but he hopes that The Voice can help as he continues to chase his music dreams.
The Voice, which features judges Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Kelly Clarkson, airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. on NBC.