Holly Tucker made it to the top-six slot on NBC's megahit vocal competition "The Voice" before being eliminated on the June 4 episode, and says she has plans to capitalize on her recent fame and vocal training from coach Blake Shelton, and is ready to get her music out to the masses.
A former Baylor University student from Waco, Texas, Tucker, 19, received high praise from the Christian community for her decision to sing the Gospel hymn "How Great Thou Art" during the live top-10 performance on "The Voice."
In a recent interview with The Christian Post, Tucker said she's learned a lot about self-reliance and her faith in God during her time spent in California, away from friends and family for the first time in her life, as she embarked on her dream to become a country music singer.
"I'd feel lonely and sad every now and again," she said. "I had to rely on God to get me through those tough times. It's kind of unexplainable, but I felt a peace that God had me there for a reason. It was tough knowing the amount of competition I had. But in the end, I just had to focus on the fact that God had brought me here to serve a purpose. I didn't know what that was in the beginning, but I have always wanted to touch people with my music through Him. That goal was what motivated me to keep going in the competition."
Tucker and her Team Blake castmates were among those who sang at the "Healing in the Heartland" benefit concert in Oklahoma City, Okla., last month, and said the experience was "very emotional" and heartbreaking.
"When we got there the first thing we did was visit Moore, where the site of the main devastation was. We also took a tour of the school where the seven children died that day. It was so very sad," she said.
"I'd seen pictures on the news and Internet, but seeing it with my own eyes was an experience all its own. We really wanted to help out and bring those people some happiness in the midst of their trouble. That's why the concert was such a great event, because you could tell from the cheers and screams from the audience that we really were making them happy by doing what we love most – making music. We got to meet lots of people, including Darius Rucker, Luke Bryan and Rascal Flatts, to name a few, and it was just a great experience altogether."
Among her experiences on "The Voice," Tucker said the most rewarding aspect was having the opportunity to work with Blake Shelton.
"Working with Blake has been the best part of it all. I've always wanted to get that professional opinion and advice on what I should do with my career and help mold me into the artist I've always wanted to be. His coaching and friendship have been invaluable to me throughout the process and I wouldn't trade it for anything. He's such a great man too. He's exactly the same person off camera as he is on camera. I really admire that in him," Tucker said.
Among the important attributes that Tucker aims to reflect is humility, even in the midst of a high-pressure national competition.
"I've been around people who have the kind of attitude that they are better than everyone else and are really cocky, and it's just not a good way to live," Tucker explained. "It makes other people feel uncomfortable and unappreciated, and it's only borne out of personal insecurity. I never ever want to make other people feel less than the treasure they are in God's eyes. That's how I enjoy spreading the message is just by being with people and making them feel special. If I can do that with my music, too, it's just an added bonus."
She continued, "Sometimes, it does backfire on me, because I can appear too humble and unconfident almost. By being on the show, I've learned that you must step up and let your confidence shine, because that's just as important as being humble. I don't think you have to sacrifice one to keep the other."
Tucker, who shared with CP that her favorite Bible scriptures are Jeremiah 29:11 and Joshua 1:9, said she's been able to maintain her religious and moral values growing up in a culture and society that places a lot of sexual pressures on teenagers through social media, television and music, because she's confident in "knowing exactly what I believe and having the courage to stay strong."
"I was blessed with wonderful parents with a godly marriage and they have taught me everything I know to be true about my faith," Tucker noted. "I know that not everyone gets to grow up in that same kind of home, but everyone is born with the intelligence and strength it takes to stay grounded in what you believe in. I also believe that life has a lot to do with the choices we make. God has laid out a plan for every person's life, and they must choose whether to follow it."
"As sinners, we'll stray off time and time again, but that's the exciting thing about God: He will always bring you back to the right path if you listen and let Him. The thing I want people my age and younger to know is that I understand them, being our age is not easy all the time. For me, chasing my dream of music has always led me down the right path. It's up to each one of us to figure out the plan God has for us."
"I've learned so much, I could probably write a book," she joked. "The advice that I've been given in order to better myself and my music will take me so far in this business. I hope that 'The Voice' leads me to a record deal so that I can get my career started. Singing is my absolute passion, and I know that's God-given. I want to use it always for His glory. Even if I'm not singing strictly Christian music, country music is where my heart is, and my approach will be inspirational and fun. I think my positive style will impact a lot of people because it's different from a lot that you hear on the radio today."