“Boom! Alabama, baby!”
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That’s Kirk Jay, chatting with AL.com afore he active to the finals on “The Voice.”
The accompanist from Bay Minette sounds agitated on the phone, although this would be a demanding time for any apprentice artist. Jay, 22, seems to be demography his TV success in stride, about-face any anxiety he ability feel with his own afloat personality.
The NBC absoluteness series, which draws millions of admirers anniversary week, offers the better career befalling he’s anytime had. And Jay — who about performs at nightclubs and festivals with his band, Kirk Jay & Kuntry Funk — says he’s bent to accomplish the best of it.
“It’s all about how you alive in your moment,” says Jay, whose offstage name is Kirk Johnson. “You’ve got to go out there with a akin of confidence. Anniversary week, every week, is all nerves. Everything happens so fast. But it’s all joy.”
Fans of “The Voice” accept appear to apperceive Jay as an ardent country crooner, based on his ardent performances of ballads such as “In Case You Didn’t Know,” “I’m Already There,” “Bless the Broken Road” and “I Swear.”
Vocally and emotionally, that’s been his candied atom on “The Voice,” and Jay is acceptable to acknowledgment there tonight, as he performs in the top four. All of the Division 15 finalists — Jay, Chris Kroeze, Kennedy Holmes and Chevel Shepherd — will sing three times on the 7 p.m. episode, alms one awning tune, one affiliation with a drillmaster and one aboriginal song.
Viewers will vote and the champ of Division 15 will be crowned at the end of Tuesday’s two-hour finale.
Jay can’t accede what he’ll be singing tonight, but admirers will be assured him to tug on their heartstrings again, carrying lyrics that arena accurate and account admirers to reflect on their own lives and loves.
“I adulation sitting down, actuality affectionate and singing the carol songs,” says Jay, who’s aggressive on Blake Shelton’s team. “I’m a lover. But I like to party, too.”
(Note: According to mjsbigblog, Jay’s performances tonight will be “I Won’t Let Go” by Rascal Flatts; “Defenseless,” a new song by Laura Veltz, David Hodges and Nicolle Galyon; and a affiliation with Shelton on “You Look So Good in Love,” the George Strait hit.)
The rowdier ancillary of his date persona, Jay says, mostly comes out back he’s assuming with his band, animating crowds with awning tunes that accept “a lil’ body and ankle woogie,” as the Kuntry Funk Facebook folio says.
“We’re crazy,” Jay says. “We get wild.”
If his angel on “The Voice” is added sedate, that’s altogether accomplished with Jay. His access to the singing antagonism is strategic, he says, and if admirers accede to his softer side, he’s blessed to dig abysmal and let his animosity flow.
For Jay, arete in a country song agency that it has “honesty and affections and is absolutely you. You accept to be you in a song and acquaint the story.”
Kirk Jay makes finals on ‘The Voice’; see all his performances here
Jay’s own adventure started in Kankakee, Illinois, a burghal about 60 afar south of Chicago. Although he was built-in there, Jay says he confused to Alabama actual aboriginal on, and all of his adolescence memories are durably anchored in Bay Minette.
“We didn’t accept annihilation growing up,” Jay says. “But my ancestors was abounding of faith.”
His mother, Kimberly Franklin, still lives in Bay Minette with Jay’s stepfather, Robert Franklin, and his sister, Jystice Franklin. Jay anon warms to the affair back asked about his family, and gives a shout-out to his brother, Marcus Johnson, who lives in Troy, and abundant “aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews” in his home state.
Jay’s mother has been in the flat admirers for “The Voice” at atomic already this season, and Jay says his fingers are beyond that she’ll on arena for the finals. “I adjure she does,” he says, abacus that his mom hasn’t been activity well.
According to Jay’s official bio for “The Voice,” he started arena drums at age 5 and began singing in a abbey choir. Music comes artlessly to him, but Jay, who’s self-taught, says he doesn’t appear from a ancestors of musicians.
“I aloof acclimated to watch bodies play,” he says. “I’d get on the keyboard and use it.”
Jay abounding Baldwin County Aerial School, but alone out and becoming his aerial academy authority through Montgomery Job Corps, according to a YouTube account for Job Corps. In that aforementioned video interview, Jay says he’s been advancing music as a career for aloof two or three years.
Jay, who now lives in Montgomery, says his bandmates in Kuntry Funk accept been acutely admiring during his run on “The Voice,” alms advance on amusing media and allowance to advance the word.
“They’re stoked,” Jay says. “They’re cool aflame for me.”
Concertgoers in Alabama ability admit Jay from performances with the bandage at nightclubs such as B.B. King’s Blues Club at the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Montgomery and Adrienne’s Downtown Bar in Prattville. Jay is quick to acknowledge, though, that “The Voice” has provided him with his better belvedere to date.
“I’m aloof super, cool excited,” he says. “I’m cool beholden that America is acknowledging me.”
In fact, Jay is broadly admired as the beloved this season, predicted to win by sources such as the Gold Derby website, a Hollywood oddsmaker, and mjsbigblog, a accepted fan armpit that emphasizes absoluteness TV.
Jay’s far too apprehensive to brainstorm on his affairs of accepting “The Voice” crown, but if he emerges arrive on Tuesday, he’ll be the aboriginal accompanist from Alabama to do so. (Red Marlow, a country singer-songwriter from Rogersville, competed in the finals in December 2017 and took fourth abode on “The Voice” during Division 13.)
Shelton, as Jay’s coach, has offered admonition forth the way — “He consistently tells me the truth, not aloof what I appetite to hear,” Jay says — and the country brilliant has a acceptability for mentoring his aggregation associates afterwards the division concludes. Two notable examples of this: RaeLynn and Cassadee Pope.
“He’s a abundant guy, 18-carat and fun-loving,” Jay says of Shelton. “He’s aloof like he is on TV. What you see is what you get. He consistently tells me to break accurate to myself.”
No amount what happens at the finale, Jay says he’ll be assertive to capitalize on the cogent career addition he’s accustomed on “The Voice.” He’s been absorption a move to Nashville, for example, and Jay says he has a few aboriginal songs buried for recording sessions in the future.
Right now, though, his antecedence is to accomplish his home accompaniment appreciative during tonight’s acute performances on the show. Back asked what he’d like to say to Alabama association who’ll be watching, Jay’s Southern roots emerge, loud and clear.
“Thank y’all for acknowledging me and authoritative my dreams appear true,” he says. “I’m activity to buy you absolute chicken.”
If you watch: The final episodes of “The Voice” Division 15 will air Dec. 17-18 at 7 p.m. CT on NBC. Admirers can vote via bristles methods: app, online, Xfinity X1, Apple Music and Twitter. See the voting rules here.
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