Whatever Happened To These Winners Of The Voice

Between the judges' rivalries to Blake Shelton's antics to the show's impactful focus on the power of a single voice, NBC has certainly had a hit on its hands with its reality singing competition, The Voice. In March 2020, Variety reported that the show crushed its competitor — the genre pioneer American Idol — in ratings, and its Season 19 finale scored 7.1 million viewers that December, according to TVLine.

While everyone remembers Shelton's adorable romance with Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson's excited outbursts, and Adam Levine's funniest quips, the show's winners unfortunately aren't quite as memorable. Although they score "$100,000 and a record deal with a Universal label" (via Heavy), more often than not, "many of the contestants don't find widespread success." Still, The Voice's executive producers tell HuffPost that the show "is more of a boot camp than a superstar generator," and after a winner is crowned, their success is in the hands of the industry.

Even though every champion doesn't hit it big, they still have earned a spot in America's hearts. From the show's first season to its more recent champions, this is what's happened to some of The Voice's most memorable winners.

First winner Javier Colon still loves the art of performance

The very first musician to win The Voice was Javier Colon from longtime coach Adam Levine's team in 2011. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Colon had released two albums through Capitol Records back in the early 2000s, but was ultimately dropped by the label — although he said he's "not one to hold grudges." Though his soulful voice — and powerful original track, "Stitch By Stitch" — won over America, Colon's success on the show sadly didn't quite transfer to the charts.

His debut album after competing on The VoiceCome Through for You, featured an all-star collaboration with Levine, but it didn't perform as expected, and Colon "ended his agreement" with Universal Republic following its release, per Entertainment Weekly. In 2016, he released another record, Gravity, through Concord Records, and has since spent his time performing for audiences across the world. 

"I try to stay connected to the community," Colon, who hails from Connecticut, told the Hartford Courant in 2020. "I'm part of this community." After the coronavirus pandemic shut down his plans for touring that year, he began performing weekly quarantine concerts online via Facebook. As of this writing, Colon has plans to begin "teaching master classes" and continue performing virtually.

The Voice's Jermaine Paul is building his own empire

Jermaine Paul was completely taken aback by his win on the second season of The Voice. "I was going through a whole emotional, mental shock, and I even physically thought my legs weren't under me," he told MTV News in 2012. Before his stint on the show, Paul used to work as a background singer for Alicia Keys, even scoring a Grammy nod for their 2005 duet, "If This World Were Mine." 

After his time on The Voice, Paul returned to the reality competition to perform his debut single, "I Believe in this Life." While his stunning performance of "I Believe I Can Fly" cracked the Billboard Hot 100 back in 2012, his new solo effort and planned album unfortunately failed to take off. However, Paul seems to have taken his career into his own hands since then, creating his own entertainment company, JP Entertainment Group, which "provid[es] elite live music for clients ... all over the world," per his Instagram. Meanwhile, 2020 saw the release of Paul's own double album, For the Record.

The Voice winner Cassadee Pope is forging her own path

During Season 3, Cassadee Pope — a member of Team Blake — became the first country singer and woman to win The Voice, according to Newsweek. The former Hey Monday rock singer hit the ground running after her time on the show in 2012, scoring a handful of country hits, including "Over You," "Wasting All These Tears," and "Think of You" with Chris Young, a duet that scored her a Grammy Award nomination in 2016.

Although Pope's debut album landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart in 2013, her relationship with Big Machine Label Group was unfortunately not meant to be. According to Music Row, she split with the record label and has since been releasing music on her own independent label, Awake Music. In 2020, Pose dropped an acoustic EP called Rise and Shine, but this country songbird has her heart set on reuniting with her alternative roots. As of this writing, Pope told the outlet that her next plan is to release another "pop rock leaning" full-length record.

Tessanne Chin has toured with legends since winning The Voice

No one will soon forget Team Adam's Tessanne Chin, who took home the crown in Season 5 of The Voice after her show-stopping performance of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing." In 2014, the Jamaican singer released her debut album, Count on My Love, through Universal Republic, though the record unfortunately failed to take off due to lack of promotion, per Yahoo! Entertainment. After peaking at No. 41 on the Billboard 200 chart, the effort fell off the charts completely after just two weeks.

According to Newsweek, however, Chin has since remained busy, touring on her own as well as serving as the opening act for R&B legends like Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight. (Um, no big deal.) On the personal side of things, in September 2019, Chin announced she was expecting her first child with beau Brandon Crooks, with whom she tied the knot that October, per Jamaica's The Star

Even though her mainstream music career didn't exactly go as expected, Chin is very much "a household name" in her home country, according to the outlet. In addition to raising her daughter, Zaia, Chin told The Gleaner in 2020 that her next musical plans include "working on different singles that I would like to use to put together a compilation, EP or album."

The Voice's sixth winner, Josh Kaufman, is enjoying the ride

Josh Kaufman won Season 6 of The Voice in 2014 at 38 years old, making him the then-oldest winner in the show's history. "It's not the standard way to go about things, getting your start in your late 30s," Kaufman told Ticket Sarasota following his win. "But it feels like ... I'm more ready." 

According to Newsweek, Kaufman released a self-titled album in 2016, following a stint in the Broadway revival of Pippin. "It's a new challenge," he told The Hollywood Reporter of the role in 2014, adding, "I tend to get bored if I'm doing the same thing all the time." Seemingly aware of the show's past winners' varying levels of success on the music industry, the singer-actor added, "Regardless of what The Voice has been able to produce ... This is an amazing platform to start from, and I'm hoping to do as much with it as I possibly can." Kaufman returned to the Great White Way three years later, alongside fellow reality singing stars Bianca Ryan and Candice Glover, in Home for the Holidays

While his debut record failed to chart, the Indianapolis singer-songwriter has since made a marked return to writing and playing his own soulful songs, as opposed to the covers and showtunes for which he gained notoriety. In 2020, Kaufman told WYFI Indianapolis that he's turned his focus on "smaller house shows" and his family of five.

Sawyer Fredericks went the indie route after winning The Voice

The folksy and eclectic Sawyer Fredericks was only 16 years old when he won Season 8 of The Voice in 2015 under the tutelage of Pharrell, making him the then-youngest performer to nab the crown, according to the Boston Herald. In addition to selling "nearly 1 million copies" of what he's called his "contemporary folk" performances on The Voice (via The Leader-Herald), both Fredericks' self-titled debut EP and 2016 album, A Good Storm, cracked the Billboard 200 albums chart. 

Despite his modest success, the singer-songwriter announced on Twitter that he split with Republic Records in 2017 through an "amicable and mutual decision." Looking forward to the "potential of artistic freedom and growth," Fredericks has since gone the indie route, releasing Hide Your Ghost in 2018 through his momagers' own Windrake Records Inc. label, according to The Leader-Herald

"After The Voice, I was very glad that I could get back to my house and be separated from that kind of chaos," Fredericks told the Boston Herald of his return to his acoustic roots. In 2020, he released his fourth album, Flowers For You, another record catering to what Fredericks called his signature "free range folk" style, according to American Songwriter.

The Voice's Jordan Smith made chart history

Christian singer Jordan Smith scored Team Adam a win during Season 9 of The Voice in 2015. While on the show, his incredible rendition of "Somebody to Love" earned him a Billboard Hot 100 Top 25 hit, a feat he'd repeat with his performance of "Mary Did You Know?" in 2016. And the accomplishments don't stop there! A week after winning The Voice, Smith made history as "the first act to own both the Nos. 1 and 2 titles concurrently on the Hot Christian Songs chart," per Billboard.

Smith later released three albums through his winning contract with Universal Republic: his debut album, Something Beautiful, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, as well as the holiday record, 'Tis the Season, and 2018's Only Love. Unfortunately, it seems Smith was dropped from the label after his third release, but he still has plenty to smile about. 

In 2016, Smith married his longtime girlfriend, Kristen Denny (via People), and later thankfully survived a car crash in 2019, which totaled his prize Nissan from The Voice — though he walked away "with only a scratch," according to his Twitter account. In 2020, Smith revealed that he had a new record deal with Sony's Provident Label Group, and released a stunning version of "Angels We Have Heard (Glory Be)" that December.

Craig Wayne Boyd is starting fresh after winning The Voice

Coach Blake Shelton scored yet another win during Season 7 of The Voice with country crooner Craig Wayne Boyd. Per Billboard, Boyd shot to the top of the Hot Country Songs chart in 2014 with his debut single, "My Baby's Got a Smile on Her Face." Despite his immediate success, Boyd announced his departure from his label, Big Machine Label Group, in 2015. 

Per Newsweek, Boyd went on to independently release his debut album, Top Shelf, in 2017, as well as an EP two years later. In June 2020, he joined fellow The Voice contestant Adam Wakefield and American Idol's Casey James to form their trio, Texas Hill, according to Music Row. The reality star musicians released a self-titled EP that September, with Boyd telling Taste of Country that they had plans to release a full-length album in 2021. "The one thing that was good about those shows is that it brought exposure to all of us and where we were at in life," he added, with the group calling their project a harmonically-dense "song factory."

However, this musical venture wasn't Boyd's only big update in 2020. That January, he announced on Instagram that his wife had given birth to their son, Boston James, adding another little bundle of joy to their family of six.

The Voice winner Sundance Head got candid about his struggles

In 2016, Blake Shelton scored his fifth win on The Voice with soulful Southern singer Sundance Head during the show's eleventh season, per Newsweek. However, with ten winners ahead of him struggling to jumpstart their careers, Head's win didn't quite guarantee success. While Shelton issued a "challenge" to Universal to put "the work" into Head's debut album, it unfortunately didn't pan out well. 

While the singer joined Shelton on his Doing It to Country Songs Tour in 2017, "[Head] and the Republic executives could not agree on a country single," according to The Washington Post, leading him to walk away from his record deal that same year. Head's debut album, Stained Glass and Neon, didn't arrive until 2019, and while he said the show "has done a million great things for [him]," he admitted to the outlet, "It's really depressing to come from such an accolade like winning The Voice to a place where you're not getting anywhere." 

Head has not been shy about calling the show out for its apparent lack of support either, tweeting at The Voice in 2018, "Do you remember me? I would also like to 'drop' by... been patiently waiting here but we're coming up on two years already." Despite his soured relationship with the series, Head told The Washington Post that music is his first love, and he's "happy" to be "touring" or "going back to Texas and playing bars," noting, "That's just who I am."

Chloe Kohanski is making music her own way after a post-Voice rebrand

Led by coach Blake Shelton, Chloe Kohanski scored the country singer yet another win during Season 13 of The Voice. While Kohanski won the reality competition in 2017, as of this writing, she has yet to release a complete album. But that doesn't mean that she hasn't been busy! According to Hollywood Life, Kohanski returned to the show in 2018 to perform her first single, "Come This Far," showing off "the same unique voice and performance sass that viewers" loved her for.

In 2019, she switched it up, releasing "internet pop" single "To Be Young" and changing her stage name to chloe mk, per Nylon. At the time, Kohanski told the outlet that the freedom of cyberspace inspired her debut EP, Fantasy, which was released later that year. "The internet is a melting pot of sounds and influences ... there are absolutely no rules," she explained. "I think my songs are the exact same way." 

Kohanski spent the rest of that year touring with Sizzy Rocket, with whom she also collaborated on two songs. However, in a since-deleted tweet, Kohanski announced she had parted ways with Republic Records in January 2020 (via Idol Chatter). But things soon began looking up, considering she took to Twitter to announce that her debut album was set to drop in 2021.

The Voice's Chevel Shepherd promises big things are on the way

Chevel Shepherd was only 16 years old when she won Season 15 of The Voice on Kelly Clarkson's team. While Shepherd has yet to release a full-length album, as of this writing, she has kept the momentum going, releasing her first single, "Broken Hearts," following her win in 2018, according to Newsweek. She also supported Maroon 5 at select dates of its 2019 Red Pill Blues Tour.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic put a damper on some of her plans in 2020, including her feature film debut in Wildfire, based on the 1975 song by Michael Martin Murphey (via KOB 4). While Shepherd told The Durango Herald that the project had been cancelled, she maintained that her music career was very much a go. "The Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker sound — I love that music," she told the outlet. "And I'm trying to incorporate that within my own style and bring back that classic sound." 

That same year, Shepherd released her own Christmas record, A Good Ol' Country Christmas, and has continued to work on new original music.

Brynn Cartelli is just getting started after winning The Voice

In 2018, Brynn Cartelli became the youngest winner on The Voice at just 15 years old, snagging another win for Kelly Clarkson's team during the 14th season, per USA Today. Cartelli later signed with Atlantic Records and music manager Brandon Blackstock, Clarkson's then-husband and Blake Shelton's manager, according to Talent Recap. She accompanied Clarkson on her Meaning of Life Tour in 2019 (via E!), and returned to The Voice that year to perform her single, "Grow Young," which was released under Elektra Records, Billboard reports. 

Following her win, Cartelli stopped attending Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts and enrolled in online courses. "I would be lying if I said I don't get sad sometimes thinking about how that life seems like a long time ago," she told MassLive in 2019. "However ... every moment I spend at my piano or in the studio, I am reminded that music is what I was born to do."

Although she has yet to release a full-length album, as of this writing, Cartelli assured fans on Twitter that "the wait will be worth it" in September 2020. That same year, 15-year-old Carter Rubin tied Cartelli as the youngest-ever winner on The Voice after taking home the Season 19 crown.

The Voice winner Jake Hoot is basking in the glory

Season 17 of The Voice saw yet another win for Kelly Clarkson's team when country crooner Jake Hoot was chosen as the winner in 2019. "I lost all my breath when they announced my name," he admitted to People following his victory. "From the get-go, for a little bit, I didn't think it was real." 

After nabbing the crown on The Voice, Hoot's debut single, "Better Off Without You," peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. For a few months after the show wrapped, Hoot kept his day job as "a sales executive for radio stations," according to Taste of Country. However, he told Pro Country in November 2020 that he had finally "tak[en] that leap of faith" and committed to music full-time.

That same year, the father-of-one proposed to girlfriend Brittney Hoyt, whom he "met as wedding singers at their best friend's wedding," People reports. Though Hoot has dropped a handful of singles since his reality singing competition win — including the adorable fatherhood anthem, "Best Job I Ever Had," which he dedicated to daughter Macy — his debut EP, Love Out of Time, wouldn't see a release until January 2021. The release features a cover of "La Bamba" with fellow The Voice star Ricky Duran on guitar, as well as other alumni from the show on background vocals.