Subscribe To The Voice: 5 Winners Who Actually Found Success After The Show Updates
Ever since The Voice kicked off its unending NBC run in 2011, fans have chosen 16 different winners across multiple musical genres and sensibilities. It's widely known that for each cycle of The Voice, there's one eventual winner whose prize includes $100,000 and a record deal with a Universal label. To anyone who can belt a song out with the best of them, it sounds like a dream gig, but there is clearly something off when it comes to the winners' post-Voice careers.
While the rival competition American Idol has served up some former champions who went on to become mega-stars – such as current Voice coach Kelly Clarkson – The Voice has yet to produce any winners of the same caliber. In fact, it's quite shocking to realize how many of the winners' record company partnerships fell apart in the midst of the early goings-on, thus stunting their professional growth.
That said, there have been a handful of winners that did manage to leverage their Voice successes in order to build a career within the ever-picky music industry, complete with multiple releases and noteworthy tours. While waiting to see if the future will be even more kind to all involved, let's kick things off with a blast from the not-so-distant past.
Cassadee Pope (Season 3)
While Season 1 winner Javier Colon did more that just fizzle away in the manner that Season 2's Jermaine Paul seemed to after his victory, Season 3's first female winner Cassadee Pope is arguably also the first Voice winner to make a real dent in the charts. Joining the competition during the seventh Auditions episode, Pope wowed the coaches with a cover of Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn," and she kept wowing them throughout 2012's Season 3 with renditions of songs such as "Behind These Hazel Eyes" and "Stupid Boy."
Cassadee Pope was already in the music scene before The Voice as part of the band Hey Monday, but following The Voice, Pope signed with the label Republic Nashville, and her debut album Frame by Frame was released in 2013, peaking at #1 on the Billboard country charts and selling over 181,000 copies. She won a CMT award for her video for "Wasting All These Tears," and when she wasn't touring, she was popping up on shows such as Nashville and Lip Sync Battle, and she was nominated for a Grammy for her duo with Chris Young, titled "Think of You." She later released the EP Summer in 2016, which peaked at #14 on the country chart, and then put out the full-length Stages in February 2019, though its sales numbers were far less impressive.
Danielle Bradbery (Season 4)
Texas native Danielle Bradbery was just 16 years old when she won The Voice Season 4 in 2013, making her the youngest winner for a four-year stretch. After first getting everyone's attention in the blind auditions with a cover of Taylor Swift's "Mean," Bradbery joined Blake Shelton's team and waved her country music flag proudly with excellent performances of such hits as "Jesus Take the Wheel," "Maybe It Was Memphis," and "Born to Fly."
Despite Danielle Bradbery's young age, it didn't take long for her to put an album together, and her self-titled debut was released in November 2013, debuting at #19 on the Billboard Top 100 charts, selling around 139,000 copies. She followed that by years of touring with acts such as Hunter Hayes, Miranda Lambert and Thomas Rhett. In 2017, Bradbery released her second album, I Don't Believe We've Met, which peaked at #6 on the country charts, though selling far fewer copies than her previous effort.
Sawyer Fredericks (Season 8)
Sawyer Fredericks took over as the youngest winner of The Voice in 2015 when the folksy 16-year-old crooner beat out Meghan Linsey for the top spot. All four coaches turned around in the blind auditions when Fredericks sang the classic folk song "Man of Constant Sorry," and the contestant chose to be on Pharrell Williams' team, making this Pharrell's only Voice victory. Fredericks crossed genres easily to take on Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Kind of Man" and Al Green's "Take Me to the River," and everything in between.
Somewhat astoundingly, eleven of Sawyer Fredericks' The Voice covers made the Top 10 in sales on iTunes during the season. Just six months after winning The Voice, Fredericks' released his self-titled first EP, which reached #2 on Billboard's folk charts. Seven months after that, his debut LP A Good Storm also reached #2 on the folk charts, though it only sold half the copies of his EP in that first week. He later left Republic Records and released the album Hide Your Ghost in March 2018. With two albums and an EP – and one of his songs getting covered on an episode of CBS' Code Black, Fredericks is about as prolific as Voice winners get.
Jordan Smith (Season 9)
Many fans would probably agree that Jordan Smith will go down as having one of the most memorable and emotionally striking voices in the NBC reality show's history. He slayed Sia's hit "Chandelier" to get on Adam Levine's team, and his performances, during the second The Voice season of 2015, of such songs as Queen's "Somebody to Love" and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" were worthy of spine-chills. Smith seemed destined to win The Voice from the moment he opened his mouth, and that feeling stayed strong week after week, leading to him becoming the highest-selling Voice contestant at the time, thanks in part to a run of cover singles that reached #1 on iTunes sales charts.
Jordan Smith's success on The Voice thankfully didn't stop there, and he soon made Billboard history by being the first artist to have three songs on the Christian charts, and the first to hold the top two spots. Smith got his own Voice Season 9 album collection that released the day after the finale, and his first album Something Beautiful released just three months later, hitting #2 on the Top 100 with 73,000 copies sold. Continuing that rapid pacing, Smith put out a holiday album, 'Tis the Season, in October of that same year, where it debuted at #11 in the Top 100. Nearly two years went by before his next release, 2018's Only Love, and while it didn't do as well as his early output, it's kept him a treasured voice in the Christian music fandom.
Chloe Kohanski (Season 13)
Like others on this list, Chloe Kohanski had an uncanny ability to choose the perfect songs to match her performance style and appearance each week, taking on timeless classics such as Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" (her audition song) and "Landslide," Blondie's "Call Me," and "Bette Davis Eyes," among others. Kohanski actually got booted from Miley Cyrus' team after her "Landslide" performance, but the country-minded Blake Shelton stepped in and stole the rock 'n' roller, who never took that comeback for granted.
Chloe Kohanski, who now goes by the stage name chloe mk, admittedly hasn't cemented any overwhelming successes in her post-Voice career yet, but she made this list for a few reasons. Her first release (outside of a standalone single in 2018) is the gloom-pop EP Fantasy, which was just released in July 2019, and showcases her evolving style that would tether well to Billie Eilish's stranglehold on the zeitgeist. (And it was made with her Voice-infused record company Republic, implying there's no bad blood like there has been with other contestants.) Plus, she's the only artist since Season 11's Sundance Head to release anything post-show, and his also came out in 2019.
The Voice is currently going through its first season without longtime coach Adam Levine, who stepped down after the end of Season 16. (Fans have already been quite vocal about his absence, too.) Catch new episodes, now with Gwen Stefani in Levine's chair, airing on NBC on Monday and Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET.