Singer with regional ties talks about time on 'The Voice'

Josh Halverson's up-and-down ride on "The Voice" officially came to an end Monday, when he was eliminated from the NBC reality singing contest during the show's first ever real-time voting.

Willmar native Josh Halverson, right, is pictured with host Carson Daly in the Knockout Rounds of "The Voice" on NBC.Tyler Golden / NBC
Willmar native Josh Halverson, right, is pictured with host Carson Daly in the Knockout Rounds of "The Voice" on NBC. Tyler Golden / NBC

Josh Halverson's up-and-down ride on "The Voice" officially came to an end Monday, when he was eliminated from the NBC reality singing contest during the show's first ever real-time voting.

Halverson had sparked some interest locally, when two weeks ago the West Central Tribune learned he was a Willmar native.

Halverson charmed judges Alicia Keys, Miley Cyrus, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine in the blind audition with his urbane rendering of Bob Dylan's "Forever Young," and he elected to be a member of Team Alicia.

When he failed to make it through the battle round, he was stolen by Team Miley. Team Alicia then stole Halverson back following the knockout rounds. (For more on "The Voice" see opposite/below/inset)

The Tribune spoke to Halverson via phone last week in the build-up to Monday's real-time votes. We wanted to get his perspective on his experience on the show and what the future holds for him musically.


Here's what he had to say.

Q: Hi, Josh. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. So you're still hanging in there?

A: Ah, man. It's been an amazing roller-coaster ride, for sure. It has been wild (laughs).

Q: So first things first, tell me a little about your life. We saw on your NBC bio that you list Willmar as your hometown. What are your family roots here?

A: Well my mom and dad lived on the reservation in the Lower Sioux Community near Morton for a while. Back then, the closest hospital was in Willmar. So that's where I was born. I lived on the reservation with them for just under a year. Then we moved to Texas, where my dad managed a ranch.

Q: So how does life on a ranch breed a love of music?

A: My parents influenced me a lot. My mother is Dakota and my dad is a rancher, so I grew up in this cowboy and indian household (laughs). My dad listened to the folk music of the '60s and '70s ... you know, like James Taylor, Jackson Browne, but also traditional country music like Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings. And my mom listened to traditional native music and motown. So that's why my sound is like country soul. But also the folk story telling as well.

Q: So when you're on stage and you're staring out at an audience, what do you feel? What goes through your mind?


A: When I first got attracted to performing, I was at an Al Green concert and I noticed really quickly that he put his whole heart and soul into that performance. At that moment, I kind of had an epiphany that there's this release in music. That's what he was gaining from it and that's what I was feeling listening to him. And so I started this venture because of that night. I started writing songs as soon as I got home. And within a year, I had recorded my first record. So, yeah, it's that release. You have all this turbulence from life and getting away from that through singing is just a really cool thing.

Q: So let's talk about the show. What has your experience on "The Voice" taught you about the industry as well as performing?

A: Actually, it's really connected me with my family. I didn't know that bond could get stronger. But I've realized how important love is and how important it is for me to keep my love bank full. And when you're with people on the show, you become like family, too, because you're united in that same goal of shedding a little light and love on the world through music. So it's had a strong effect on me in that regard.

Q: So what are your goals musically as you move forward?

A: I really just try to live in the moment. I take advantage of every moment. I mean this is happening so fast and it's just getting faster. I'm just trying to give my all to this so at the end of the day I'm hopefully in a position to support my loved ones through doing something I love to do, which is playing music and writing music.

Q: Do you get nervous up there on the national stage?

A: Aw, man ... in the beginning it was like blackout nervous (laughs). It's so much adrenaline. I've played music live for 11 years now, but that "Voice" stage is like wow. But as I've moved on, I've been able to control it. Now I feel more comfortable in front of the camera.

Q: It's probably fair to say you have a unique and distinct look. Has the exposure on the show changed your public life. Do you get recognized?


A: (laughs) Yeah, I can't go to dinner or lunch anymore without someone taking a picture. It's the best thing ever because I'm meeting all these people I wouldn't meet in my life. And it's a lot of love, too. They tell me how my music has impacted them. And that's what it's all about. Finding that connection for just a moment.

Q: So in a dream scenario, if you could record a song with any musical artist, who would it be?

A: Oh, gosh, man ... Alicia Keys. I'd love to record with her. I just feel such a connection and she's an incredible artist.

Q: So what song would you record?

A: It would have to be one of mine for sure. (laughs) But it would be so cool to collaborate with her.

Q: What advice would you have for anyone who wants to pursue a career in music?

A: Perseverance, man. Follow your heart. Just make up your mind and do it. Don't ever feel like you can't do what you love.


About the 'Voice'

"The Voice," now in its 11th season, is a reality television singing competition broadcast by NBC.

The show is modeled on "The Voice of Holland," and looks to find new singing talent (solo or duets), drawn from public auditions. The series employs a panel of four coaches who critique the artists' performances and guide their teams of selected artists through the remainder of the season.

The current coaching panel consists of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, country star Blake Shelton, R&B singer Alicia Keys and pop sensation Miley Cyrus.

Participants then go through a series of elimination rounds and can remain on the show post-elimination if another coach "steals" them. The winner of the show is ultimately determined by television viewers, who vote by phone, SMS text message online. iTunes Store purchases of the audio-recorded artists' vocal performances are also tallied.

The winner receives $100,000 and a record deal with Universal Music Group.

- Online sources

Related Topics: MUSIC
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