It’s been three days since Jordan Smith was named the winner of NBC’s The Voice, and he still hasn’t processed it yet. “It’s slow in the beginning to sink in,” he told The Voice Examiner when we spoke to him Friday. “Honestly, I haven’t had much of a chance to do anything but talk and get a little bit of sleep. It’s slowly starting to settle in just how big and real all this is.”
From the blind auditions, the young pop singer from Kentucky was the favorite to take season nine of the singing competition, turning four chairs and then taking the iTunes Singles Chart by storm. He made history during the live playoffs by being the first Voice artist to have a top ten hit in all six weeks. But Jordan never let the buzz go to his head; when he finally did win on Tuesday, he went to speak with fellow finalists Emily Ann Roberts, Barrett Baber and Jeffery Austin.
“I just told them how proud I was of them,” he said. “That last week was so crazy; we each had six performances altogether that week and it was just such an intense week of rehearsals and preparation and recording, and so we really had to lean on each other. We became support for each other and helped each other get through those last couple of days, so I was very proud of them and I wouldn’t have wanted to stand by any other three people than those three at the end.
“I’m so proud of their hard work. I’ve seen firsthand how hard they work and how dedicated they are to their craft and how much they love to sing and how determined they are to make this happen for themselves,” Jordan continued. “So I just took a minute to come and tell them how proud I am of them and how happy I am that we were connected and I was able to get to know them. I’m looking forward to the future for them. I know they’re going to do some pretty amazing things.”
For his part, he didn’t even get to react much to the results before host Carson Daly was handing him a microphone for the traditional victory performance. Is it hard to sing when you’re still in shock? “Yes, it is,” he laughed. “We had a little running joke backstage, just because so many people before have been so overwhelmed in that moment, that it’s not even really possible for them to sing. So we had a little bet on how it would go if each one of us was a winner and I just knew they were going to be backstage laughing at me if I didn’t take that microphone and try to do my best singing.
“That’s one of the times you feel like singing,” he added. “When I’m most happy or most sad, singing is the thing I do, so in that moment I couldn’t think of something more appropriate than to actually sing.”
What happens next will be the hard part. Guaranteed a contract with Republic Records, Jordan discussed what he’s expecting as he makes that all-important transition from reality TV winner to professional recording artist. “I’m actually really excited about moving forward,” he confided. “I feel good about the label, I feel good about the future and I’m excited to get started on some new music.
“I’m looking to work with people who are just as interested in music as I am and people that are creative and open to ideas, but people that are dedicated and ready to work hard to make this happen,” he continued. “I want to work with people that are excited and so far that’s been my experience and I’m very happy to be here. I think we’re going to be working on something really special.”
Would he say that the covers he performed on The Voice are a fair representation of what that post-show album will sound like?
“I think it’s somewhat close to what I’m looking for,” he said. “I think I just want to make music from my heart and music that inspires people, and I was kind of able to adapt that on the show. I was able to take some of the songs I was given and really find a meaning in those for myself and sing those from a place of understanding and a place deep in my heart and my spirit. So I want to create music like that.
“What I’m doing in the future is going to be an extension of what people have already seen. As far as my own sound, I’m ready to define that moving forward and I think that it might surprise a few people.”
While winning the show is meaningful for Jordan, it’s not the only memorable experience he walks away from The Voice with. “I think there are other things that really rival that as they were my favorite parts of this season,” he reflected. “Getting to meet Dolly Parton was a huge highlight for me and I keep telling everyone about it because that was just such a special moment. I’ve always loved her music and her movies and I’ve been such a fan.
“She took the time to encourage us and pour out her wisdom to us and tell us about her story and how she got to where she is and give us not advice as she likes to say, but information and suggestions on what we can do to be successful and to be happy,” he continued. “I really appreciated that she took that time to do that. She’s so kind and sweet but she’s also so intelligent and wise, and it was a very informative and very special time for me when we got to sit down and have a talk with her.”
Perhaps that will be the key to Jordan’s success as a Voice champion. None of the nine winners have had an ego, but even amongst that company he is beyond humble and with his heart in the right place. When asked if there’s anything else he wants to discuss, even then he wants to talk not about himself and his future, but the people who helped him get here.
“I had such an incredible experience with [the show],” he said. “Throughout my entire experience, I had people there along the way, not only other contestants but the production staff and the contestant department and just everyone that makes this show happen. They were working so hard to make sure that we were comfortable and that we had our best foot forward. They’re all about making us look as good as possible and they spared no expense in making sure we had everything that we need and that we are well represented.
“I just appreciate that about the show. I think they do everything they can to prepare us as artists; it’s almost like a boot camp that prepares us for what’s afterwards. I feel I’m leaving the show very prepared and very happy with what I’ve grown and learned about myself as an artist. It’s an incredible platform and I can’t say enough how proud I am to have been on the show.
“It was a very positive experience for me. Everyone was so supportive and so encouraging. Not only did they accept us as who we were but they celebrated us and our differences and we as contestants, they celebrated who we are,” Jordan reflected. “I’m thankful I’ve had this entire experience. It’s been wonderful and it’s been a wonderful launching pad for the future and I’m very excited about that future.”
Fans can now follow Jordan on Twitter (@JordanSmithLive) and relive his journey by using the suggested links at the bottom of this article. The Voice returns to NBC in February.