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John Holiday Got Bullied for His Vocals—Now He's a FInalist on 'The Voice'

John Holiday Got Bullied for His Vocals—Now He's a 'Voice' Finalist

John Holiday Got Bullied for His Vocals—Now He's a 'Voice' Finalist

"When I sing, I feel so free, and I think it’s because music is my sanctuary," The Voice finalist told PRIDE.


Earlier this year, John Holiday was all set to make his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York when the pandemic struck. Instead of letting the situation get him down, he opted to audition for NBC's The Voice

Holiday shocked not only the judges, but the world, when he first opened his mouth to sing Ella Fitzgerald's "Misty" in the blind auditions. His angelic, countertenor voice is unlike anything we've heard before. When Holiday sang in the soprano section of his church choir growing up, he was bullied for "singing like a girl." Now his voice is his superpower.

Going into tonight's Season 19 finale, Holiday sits optimistically in the Top 5 contestants, ready to take on the world — and win $100,000 and a recording contract with Republic Records, of course. PRIDE had a chat with Holiday ahead of the premiere about his experience on the show thus far, his favorite performance, inspiring LGBTQ+ kids, and what it would mean for him to win The Voice.

PRIDE: What has this entire experience on The Voice been like for you, especially in the middle of this pandemic? 

Holiday: The experience of being on NBC’s The Voice, during the pandemic, has been an amazing one. Even amidst it all, I feel so privileged and blessed to be able to share some joy and hope with all of America. Because of the pandemic, so many safety precautions have been taken in order for us to be able to continue filming and bringing the show to the public.  

What was it like growing up gay and Black in Texas?

As you can imagine, growing up as a young, gay black kid in Texas was a bit of a journey. Through it all, I was able to keep my head on straight, undeterred by the negative comments and bullying of others, always endeavoring to become the best expression of myself that I could be. In doing so, I feel like I have become the singer that I am today. When I sing, I feel so free, and I think it’s because music is my sanctuary. It’s the place where I feel safe. It’s the place where I know I’m understood. 

You used to be teased for your high-pitched voice and now it's something like a superpower. When did you embrace it? What was that process like for you?

For me, it was in junior high school (7th and 8th grade in Texas), when I began to get comfortable with my high-pitched voice. It is a superpower that I’ve embraced, and I try my best to share it with everyone I encounter. 

Do you have any advice for anyone, but especially LGBTQ+ people, who have been bullied for who they are?

For all of the youth, who are constantly being bullied or being made fun of, know that I’ve been where you are. And, as you can see, it does, indeed, get better. I wasn’t always this strong, but I was lucky to have a family who embraced me for who I am, and they refused to let me feel that I was broken. Instead, they encouraged me to lean into the things that have made me different and unique. That’s what I’d like to share with my LGBTQIA+ community. If you’re unique and more unique and different. Maybe, just maybe, your uniqueness is your gift.  And what I know for sure is that your gift will make room for you.  

What's been your favorite performance of yours on the show?

My favorite performance on the show is a tie between "All By Myself" and "Fix You!"  

What would it mean to you to win The Voice?

Winning would mean that America truly has embraced me and one of the things I hold dear, my music.

In a world and industry that can be so adamant about putting folks into boxes, it would also mean that they understand why I have decided to buck the trend and do things my way. It would enable me to use my platform to give music to the entire world. When it’s all said and done, I want to leave this world better than I found it, and my way of doing that is by creating music and being a part of the musical fabric of the lives of my audience and the lives of people around me. Winning NBC’s The Voice would make that possible for me. Winning this competition is me accepting the passing…the passing of the torch…a legacy and wisdom of Black excellence in music, which I fully embrace, and I’m proud to take up the mantle.

Finally, no matter the circumstance, or how different you may be, you can do and be anything that you dream of, as long as you’re willing to do the work of making those dreams a reality. It would mean that I’m loved by my homeland, the country that helped to nurture me and my gift. 

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