Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to win a singing competition to walk away a winner. Just ask Team Blake’s Gwen Sebastian: though she left The Voice during battle rounds in Season 2, she’s been on a high ever since. “Everything that’s been going on has been awesome,” she told me, walking me through all the things that have happened for her since she left the show. “A few days later Blake called me to see if I wanted to come out and sing backup for him. Basically, he asked me back on his team in some ways. I’ve been singing with him since January, loving it and getting to know his band.”
She’s also been continuing her work as a solo artist, touring, appearing at the Grand Ole Opry, and promoting her new single, “Met Him in a Motel Room”, which dropped on May 8 – the same night as the season finale for The Voice – and isn’t what it sounds like. “It’s a song about hope and finding it in a time and a place that you’re not thinking you’re going to find it,” she explained.
Gwen has plenty of praise for Coach Blake, his wife Miranda Lambert, and everyone she’s gotten to tour with since leaving The Voice. “He’s such a great guy,” she said of her coach. “We’re like a family now. [Miranda] is awesome as well. They’ve been helping me out and I’m forever grateful to them.”
Of course, one can’t talk about Blake Shelton without trading Blake stories, and Gwen shared her favorite one with me: “We were playing in Reno, and that whole day was a little odd,” she said. It seemed like there were crazy people around everywhere we went. It’s close to the end of the show and Blake’s down at the other end of the stage, and a guy comes running up on the stage. We all were kind of looking and going ‘Who is this guy?’
“I started getting off of the podium that we were up on to go down [there]. As it turns out, the guy just dives into the crowd and the seas part. We find out later that he’s fine, but he totally landed on the ground. That was the night I almost saved Blake Shelton’s life!” she joked with a laugh.
Like many of her colleagues from Season 2, Gwen told me that one of the things she prized the most about her experience on The Voice was the friendships she formed, with everyone from her coach to her fellow contestants to the producers and hair and makeup folks behind the scenes. “You become a little family in a short period of time. I think about them quite often,” she told me. “I took away a lot of friendships. I still keep in contact with a few of my teammates and other ones that didn’t even make it onto the show. I liked the little trips that we’d get to take, like to Universal Studios and we’d go out to eat together, things like that. Everybody had such great personalities. I miss the camaraderie kind of feeling.”
There’s one thing she’s happy to be past: “I don’t miss the nervousness, of course!” she laughed, calling her performances on the show “two of the most nervewracking experiences I’ve ever had, absolutely.”
Though Gwen wasn’t on the show very long, she quickly won us over with her warmth and her positive attitude, and she’s happy with what she got to show America. “I think the show totally was honest and genuine with how they portrayed all of us,” she said. “Looking back and seeing everything, it was great. That was definitely me. The only thing I was bummed about was [that] I didn’t get to show my rocker side. I wanted to do something like that.
“I would love it if everybody would be able to check out my original stuff,” she continued. “There’s a song called “Nothing” and it’s one of my favorites that I’ve written, because it came from the heart. As far as cover songs, the things that I didn’t get to do on the show, I would’ve loved to have done some Stevie Nicks. Occasionally [on tour] I’ll throw in some Pink. I’m not just a country girl.” In fact, her musical taste runs from Pistol Annies to Pantera and even a little Maroon 5. (And you can check out the entirety of Gwen’s back catalog here on iTunes.)
She went on to say that being a part of The Voice reaffirmed to her “that no matter what comes along in life, you just need to take that chance. It’s given me more confidence. So many other things have come from it – that includes of course meeting Blake [and] singing on the Grand Ole Opry – and I don’t know if they ever would have happened without being on the show.”
What was the biggest thing that she took away from her experience on The Voice? “I guess I knew this while I was there, but how lucky I am to have been on that show. It’s something that so many people would love to have the chance,” she told me. “Just thinking back on that, and watching this season, I said ‘We were on there. I was on that stage.’ It’s an amazing experience that I had.”
— BY BRITTANY FREDERICK, BIG RED CHAIRS