Pandemic Playlist: Top 5 songs by 'The Voice' winners that remind us of what's important in the pandemic times
As Season 18 of 'The Voice' comes to an end, we take a walk down memory lane and revisit some of the show's past winners and songs that are extremely relatable to what the world is going through right now.
Cassadee Pope: 'I Am Invincible'
Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope, the first woman to win 'The Voice', has gone on to release multiple albums in addition to touring extensively. Her track 'I Am Invincible' gained a lot of recognition, though not necessarily for being a chart-topping hit. In 2015, radio consultant Keith Hill stirred up the passions of country musicians and their fans after he advocated for not playing female artistes' music back-to-back because, according to him, listeners wanted to hear more male artistes.
After he stated that male artistes were the lettuce in a salad and female artistes were the tomato garnish, he was fervently called out and the situation was labeled "Tomato-gate" and "Salad Gate". The situation led to measures aimed at addressing the gender gap that existed within country music, but despite these efforts, the gap has simply worsened in the years that followed.
Nonetheless, out of this situation came songs like Pope's 'I Am Invincible', which made references to women's struggle in the industry and served as Pope's response to Hill's comments. Despite originally being a song directed at the misogyny experienced by women in country music, the song has gained a following due to its powerful message of empowerment, especially in the face of struggle. And in the current times, it certainly helps to remember how resilient the human spirit can be.
Josh Kaufman: 'Truth Be Told'
The winner of Season 6 of 'The Voice', Kaufman has gone on to perform steadily, in addition to appearing in the Broadway show 'Pippin'. Unfortunately for Kaufman, as seems to be the case with many 'Voice' winners, it wasn't all smooth sailing following his win. The singer has stated, "I was contractually obligated to be a part of The Voice tour right after I was on the show, which meant I couldn’t work on my own music right away."
"Soon after that I began working on Pippin, which took me to the end of 2014, and again I didn’t have much spare time to work on my own stuff. Beyond that, there is, of course, a record deal with Republic Records that comes along with winning The Voice. Republic is one of the biggest, most successful labels in the world, which sounds great. Unfortunately...because Republic has so many huge artists, I was pretty low on their priority list. Big labels aren’t in the business of taking risks anymore, and Republic has enough ‘sure things’ on their roster that they weren’t going to put time and money into me."
He finally left Republic in 2015, and despite trying to organize an appearance back on 'The Voice', Kaufman states that "Unfortunately and frustratingly...just hasn't worked out." Nevertheless, he has managed to put out his own music in more recent years. 'Truth Be Told' has the singer confront the reality that not everything that glitters is gold, as he recognizes the propensity people — including himself — have for being cold.
And if there's one thing we can all relate to right now, it's the notion that the world is not what we've always believed it to be. And as we find ourselves disappointed in our leaders, we are also seeing some real heroes rise up to the challenge and confront the pandemic head-on. These are bittersweet times, and Kaufman's soulful track captures these emotions beautifully.
Craig Wayne Boyd: 'We Sweat'
Boyd, who won Season 7 of 'The Voice', had his debut song 'My Baby’s Got A Smile On Her Face' chart at number one on the Hot Country Singles, so naturally, people saw him as a promising new talent. Since his win, he has gone on to release his own line of guitars and dropped his first album, 'Top Shelf', in 2017.
The song 'We Sweat' was a bluesy, swampy country-rock track that really showcased Boyd's powerful vocals as he crooned about sweating it out. Essentially, it's a track that celebrates everyone who goes that extra mile and gives their all, whether they are hard at work or just having fun. It's a lighthearted song, that's for sure, but it's also a fun way to tribute the people who are actually out there, hard at work day in and day out, trying to flatten the curve and make it safe for us to step outside again.
Alisan Porter: 'Change'
Season 10 winner Alisan Porter, once a child star on 'Curly Sue' and the first contestant to win 'The Voice' with a female coach (in this case, Christina Aguilera), followed her win with a string of successful singles and the release of her EP, 'I Come in Pieces', in 2017. Her 2017 single 'Change' was a slow country-pop song that showcased both Porter's vocals as well as her ability to tell a compelling story through both her songs and her videos.
With lyrics like, "Everybody's worried 'bout the world going crazy / Where do we go from here, if we can't love each other?" this song feels extremely contemporary and relevant. As Porter sings on, "Unbreak these chains / Don't you know the future's for the brave, brave? / Everybody's ready for a change, change," it's hard not to feel empowered and compelled to make some changes and hope for a better tomorrow.
Shaggy feat various artistes (including Tessanne Chin): 'Rise Again'
This song features Season 5 winner Tessanne Chin along with fellow Jamaican artiste and mentor Shaggy in addition to a host of other well-known reggae/dancehall artistes including Kes, Etana, Shontelle, Sean Kingston, Sean Paul, and more, who united on this track to raise funds for relief work in Haiti. Lyrics of this song detail everything from trying to find the strength to stay sane during trying times to how things change in a moment, and additionally, talk about coming together as a community to "do what it takes to save some lives."
Further lyrics state, "When tragedy came it really gave us / A chance to show we really care," as well as, "We're one and the same we're all neighbours / The burden is all for us to bare / We shall rise again." This song has a message that can speak to us all right now. Our medical workers are on the frontlines battling the ongoing pandemic every day, and we do our best to aid their efforts by pausing our lives and staying indoors. It's an unprecedented show of global support in a time of crisis and shows that when we come together, we can truly accomplish great things.
Listen to 'Rise Again' HERE.
Pandemic Playlist is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained instead of feeling drained while you're isolated at home. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) to refresh your mood every day