It’s about an hour before showtime at Freedom Place Church in Rowlett for The Voice alumna Holly Tucker. She made the top 6 in season four as a country music artist on Blake Shelton’s team. While finishing her courses at Baylor University via email and competing on one of the biggest singing competition shows, she tried to make a name for herself as a Texas country musician.
And she’s still trying.
Immediately after being voted off The Voice, she says she began working on a four-song EP. When she started shopping it around to different record labels, they told her they wanted to see what she could do on her own. “When I say that they said that they wanted to see what I could do on my own, that was essentially saying, ‘We want to sit back and see what you can do. We want to watch you build your team and then we can decide if we want to jump on board,’” she says.
This didn’t sit well with Tucker. In a world where independent artists are becoming more and more common, she decided to turn the four-song EP into a 13-song record and released it independently. Now, she tours the state promoting the album.
“You have The Voice and you had American Idol at that time and you have America’s Got Talent and there’s all these great singers and great entertainers that come off those shows, so [record labels are] just being overrun with people knocking on their doors and I can understand that,” Tucker says. “They can’t be expected to give everybody a record deal that walks through their doors.
“But at the same time, there is some validity in getting on one of those shows and spending however many weeks you did in front of that kind of audience and it does kind of make me scratch my head and wonder why,” she continues. “Why would you not want to capitalize on all of that momentum right there? Even if it’s just for a short contract or something.”
Also an veteran of Shelton’s team, Dana Harper competed on The Voice’s most recent season and was eliminated during the live playoffs. She spent the following week resting from the stress of the show, but today she’s working on new music that she calls “uplifting, positive, self-love acoustic soul.” Because she represented DFW on the show, she says she plans to stay here and contribute to its growing music scene.
“I think we are on our way with the people we have representing Dallas and coming out of Dallas,” Harper says. “I just think to try and move to L.A. at this point, there are so many singers who are already trying to do it there.”
She says she plans to release a single in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, she is doing her best to keep her fans from The Voice engaged.
“The mega fans kind of get weeded out and they’re on to the next season and it’s more about The Voice than the artist,” she says. “Then there are the people and the fans that are really captivated by you and want to see what you’re going to do next.”
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Tucker thinks The Voice could benefit from slowing down a bit. With two seasons every year, The Voice is quickly approaching 15 seasons in its short time, the same amount American Idol had in its entire run.
“I think they could slow it down a little bit,” she says. “Like on my season, I think there was a lot more time that had passed in our season as a whole. Now they get to the top eight and they knock four or five of them off at once. They didn’t do that on my season. It was always knocking one or two off at a time and that allowed the audience to get to know the people better and the contestants and everything. That’s one thing I’ve been kind of disappointed in, that the audience doesn’t get to actually know the people at the top.”
Tucker and Harper both say they keep up with social media to let their fans know what they’re working on and when they have upcoming shows. While the fans have stayed with them and shown support, others don’t think a reality TV credit gives them much credibility.
“If anything, we have to work harder because we get told stuff like that,” Tucker says. “Some people immediately write us off, ‘Oh, you’re just from The Voice.’ There’s tons of people that get on that, so we kind of have to overcomes some stereotypes that other artists might not necessarily have to overcome. And I mean there are times where I feel like there are a lot of marks against me.”