Morgan Wallen’s career is on fire right now.
The 26-year-old has scored back-to-back No. 1 singles on the Billboard Country Airplay chart with “Up Down” (June 2018) and “Whiskey Glasses” (June 2019). His current single, “Chasin’ You,” is No. 14 on the chart after 32 weeks.
But it wasn’t that long ago that the Sneedville, Tenn., native was a relative unknown. As a 20-year-old, he competed on Season 6 of The Voice in 2014, where he joined Team Usher and Team Adam Levine, before being eliminated in the playoff rounds.
“The Voice was a blessing for sure,” said Morgan to Nash Country Daily in 2017. “I really had no idea what to expect, going into it. None at all. And I didn’t know who I was as an artist and I really didn’t know who I was as a person at that time. I was 20 years old and my whole world had just changed. I went on there and I didn’t have my voice figured out either. I was forcing things that didn’t need to be forced and probably doing damage to my voice at the time. So I sounded more like a pop singer when I first went to try out for the show. So they wanted me to sing pop, which I understand, but I’m like ‘No, I want to sing country’ and there was a vocal coach behind the scenes and she really helped me figuring out my sound, like, ‘you don’t have to do this with your voice, just let it be natural, do what feels okay.’ And she really helped me to get my normal voice that ended up being the one I have now. You know, I’ve got rid of all the growl and all that stuff that I was doing and ended up being way more of a country voice than I really thought that I had. And I definitely think that’s my favorite thing that happened throughout the show.”
When longtime The Voice coach Blake Shelton was recently asked about a former contestant who slipped though the cracks, he referenced Morgan’s journey.
“Everybody has their own different kind of journey and things,” said Blake. “I think the one that I look back on now and go, ‘What the hell,’ is Morgan Wallen, you know? [laughing] He was on the show. He wasn’t even on my team. He was on Adam’s team—the whole thing just seemed screwed up, you know? It’s like he was on the show and he didn’t even get through the Battle [rounds] and now here he is having these gigantic, huge number one hits, and I can’t take any of the credit. It’s like, ‘I had him right there and he got away.’”
Season 18 of The Voice is currently airing on Monday and Tuesday nights on NBC.
photo by Tammie Arroyo, AFF-USA.com