Timing is everything in the music business. That’s a lesson Holly Tucker learned when she got rejected during an open-call audition for The Voice back in Season 1. “They said I had a lot of potential, but they wanted to see me grow a little bit more,” recalls Tucker.
Undeterred, the Waco, TX native tried out for The X Factor, American Idol and even America’s Got Talent, coming close in several instances but with the same “no cigar” outcome.
“Finally, I came back to The Voice for Season 4, and they actually remembered me from three seasons ago. It’s really cool how it all worked out,” Tucker notes.
TVLine caught up with the eventual sixth-place finisher to discuss her most memorable performances and her post-Voice plans.
TVLINE | Early in the season, you talked about being plagued by confidence issues, but the first week of voting — the Live Playoffs — America put you through based on your performance of “How Do I Live.” Did that help to wash away any insecurities you might’ve had?
It was really cool. I mean, going into this, I never really knew how far I was going to make it. The fact that America related to me and kept sending me through to the next round, it made me feel really humbled and grateful.
TVLINE | Are those confidence issues a thing of the past?
Yeah, for sure. Being on this platform, it’s given me everything that I need to go forward. The biggest thing I needed was confidence, and I know that now I have Blake Shelton behind me and I have my fans behind me. Hopefully, country music will accept me into their world because I love it. It’s my passion and my dream.
TVLINE | From the Live Playoffs all the way through to Top 6 week, you had to perform first or second. Every single time. I always feel going early puts a contestant at a disadvantage, because by the time people are ready to vote, you’re the furthest away in their memories, or if they tuned in a little late, they might have missed your performance altogether. Did that bother you? Were you ever like, “Hey! What’s going on here?”
I am a very thoughtful, occasionally worrisome person, so yeah, that was definitely in my head. I don’t know why they chose to put me in the beginning of the show every time. I don’t know why they never let me end it. But, you know, you just have to do the best you can with what you’re given.
TVLINE | You covered some of the biggest, rangiest country songs during your run on the show — “How Do I Live,” “Blown Away,” “Live Like You Were Dying,” “A Broken Wing.” Did you ever get intimidated?
Well, a lot of the song choice was a collaboration with Blake, and producers’ suggestions as well, and I guess they thought that I should really show everything I can do with each performance. Because literally, it’s a case of “sing and survive,” “sing and survive,” “sing and survive,” or else go home. That’s why I took on a lot of the bigger songs. My strength is my range, and you’ve really got to play up your strengths in a competition like this.
TVLINE | I thought your riskiest song choice was definitely “How Great Thou Art.” We’ve never seen anyone do a traditional hymn on one of these shows, and with iTunes sales being a major factor in the voting results, you had to wonder: “Are people going to buy this?” When you got up Tuesday morning and saw that the song had charted pretty high, what did you think?
My mind was blown. I actually was afraid of doing that song because I thought it was going to have the opposite response. I worried people were going to condemn me for it, but then I thought, “If I’m going to be honest with America about who I am, then I’ve got to show every single part of me — and my faith is a huge part of my life.” When Blake brought me this song — he is the one who suggested it — I jumped on it. I was like, “This is meant to happen. I feel led to do this song.” So, I left the all the risk behind me and I didn’t think about it. My feeling was, “If I’m going to go home, this is a good song to do it with,” because it explains every bit of who I am.
TVLINE | The following week, you went in almost the opposite direction and showed off this completely sassy side with “Done.” Was that a strategic decision with you and Blake?
Before that, people had really only seen the serious, almost angry and darker side of me, emotionally speaking. They needed to see me have a little bit of fun, you know? I’m 20 years old, and doing those big songs is great, but it can age you. I wanted to prove that I can be current and that I’m marketable with my age group. I immediately thought, “Okay, what’s a really hot song on the radio right now?” and I thought of “Done.” It was great for my range, so I suggested it, and it happened to work out for me.
TVLINE | Were you aware that “Done” had been performed on American Idol the week prior, during the Season 12 finale, by The Band Perry along with fifth-place finisher Janelle Arthur?
It was a worry for me, and I even asked Blake what he thought about it and I asked the producers what they thought about it, too. They said it wouldn’t really matter because we’re a completely different show, and I was doing it in a completely different style. I think on Idol, they did it with a lot of stage theatrics. It was a cool thing, but I really wanted to make mine a little bit more about the vocals and just being myself.
TVLINE | After your elimination on Top 6 results night, you said that you were a human waterfall. How hard was it to go home just two weeks before the finale?
The hardest part was knowing that my teammates were still there and I was finally having to leave them. We’ve been pretty much living together in the same space for the past two months now, so we’ve gotten really close. But while this journey with is ending, really you have to look at the positive and the silver lining. This whole Voice show is just meant to be a platform for us to jump-start our careers. It’s not meant to be our entire life. You know? It’s supposed to help us out for the future.
It’s really important to get some new music out there, so I’m going to be looking forward to recording some of that and getting that on iTunes and hopefully on radio. This summer I’ve already got some trips to Nashville booked because I’ve got some record labels interested in me. We’re going to see what happens but I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God is going to take care of me no matter what.
Were you a Holly fan during Season 4? Looking forward to her post-Voice career? Sound off in the comments!