Kirk Jay advances to Voice live playoffs

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 11/6/18

Bay Minette native Kirk Jay advanced past the Knockout Round on Season 15 of “The Voice,” shown on WPMI NBC 15 on Monday night, Nov. 4.

Jay, who performed Brett Young’s “In Case You …

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Kirk Jay advances to Voice live playoffs

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Bay Minette native Kirk Jay advanced past the Knockout Round on Season 15 of “The Voice,” shown on WPMI NBC 15 on Monday night, Nov. 4.

Jay, who performed Brett Young’s “In Case You Didn’t Know” was selected by Coach Blake Shelton over Colton Smith, who performed “Lady Marmalade.”

Originally part of Jennifer Hudson’s team, Smith remains in the competition, stolen back by Hudson following the performance.

The former Bay Minette resident and Baldwin County High student, now a resident of Montgomery, has survived two rounds of elimination after being selected by Shelton following a four-chair turn during the blind audition, and battling it out with fellow country artist Caeland Garner in the battle rounds to Eric Clapton’s “Let It Rain.”

“I just love Blake. I’m a huge fan,” Jay said in a phone interview following his blind audition. “He’s definitely a great guy and has been great to work with. He doesn’t just tell me what I want to hear. He tells me what I need to hear.”

Jay’s journey in music began at a young age, playing drums at church and singing in the choir starting at age 5. In 2014 he met a music manager and in 2015 he started doing open mics, traveling with his band “Kirk Jay and Kuntry Funk.”

His journey on “The Voice” began with an open casting call in Houston, surviving a second round of cuts before getting a chance to perform before the judges in a blind audition, which first aired on Monday, Oct. 8.

Understandably, his career has taken a huge leap forward since performing on the show.

“We were driving four or five hours doing open mics, not knowing if when we got there, we would be performing in front of two or 2,000,” he said. “Now, I’m at the point where people recognize me and want to have their picture taken with me. It’s been amazing.”

When asked by Clarkson what kind of record he wanted to make, Jay responded that he was “country until I die,” also revealing that the song he performed in the blind audition, the Rascal Flatts ballad “God Bless the Broken Road,” is the first country song he ever learned and the reason he wanted to be a country artist.

As an African-American, Jay joins a small but elite group of artists, from country legend Charlie Pride, to former Hootie and the Blowfish front-man Darious Rucker, and said he welcomed the opportunity to be a role-model to the next generation.

“It is definitely been awesome and I am humbled by the experience,” he said. “I appreciate my fans and all the fans of the show that have gotten me to this point.”

Jay has also gotten the chance to return home during his journey, participating in a pep rally and attending a Baldwin County High School football game last month at Lyle Underwood Stadium in Bay Minette.

“It was great to be able to come back and hang out with old friends,” he said. “I got to visit with some of my old teachers and they invited me to perform with the band and hang out on the sideline. It was a great experience.”

During the battle round, Jay got to work with Australian country singer Keith Urban and vocal legend Mariah Carey during the knockouts.

After surviving two rounds of eliminations, Jay is now one of 24 artists remaining for the playoff rounds, which begin airing on Monday, Nov. 12 beginning at 7 p.m. (CT), locally on WPMI NBC 15. The first live elimination will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 13.