Jordan Smith, Lee University student and winner of NBC’s The Voice, returned to the Cleveland campus for the first time since being crowned champion of Season 9 of the popular talent search competition.
Jordan Smith, a senior music business major from Harlan, Kentucky, was named the winner of The Voice Season 9 in December 2015 after his performances repeatedly wowed the coaches and climbed the charts. He took time off from school to audition and participate in the show, but will return to Cleveland next week for the first time since his winning run.
Smith, a native of Harlan, Kentucky, was the guest of honor all day on the Lee campus, Thursday, February 18. He credits Lee as the place where he received critical training and support for his three-month stint on the NBC show where four celebrity judges mentor amateur vocalists. Smith began his run as a contestant last fall when he performed the song, ‘Chandelier’ in a blind audition as the judges decided whether they would spin their chairs around based upon what they hear. Vocalist Adam Levine, a judge who would become Smith’s mentor, called Smith, “the most important person ever to perform on this show.”
Smith’s day at Lee included a morning press conference with media from as far away as Knoxville, followed by a chapel service where he led praise and worship in Conn Center before a capacity crowd. He chatted with the audience before launching into his rendition of “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Smith performed the hymn as part of the competition and it soared to the top of the iTunes music charts garnering the most downloads, even dethroning superstar singer, Adele. The climax of the morning chapel was a reprise of another of his most popular Voice performances, “Somebody to Love,” with the Lee Singers serving as his backup choir.
Lee University President Dr. Paul Conn congratulated Smith on his stellar representation of Lee University to the world and invited the student body to a “Kentucky lunch” in nearby Walker Arena, where Smith spent nearly an hour greeting students and posing for photos. He concluded his visit with a second concert for the community, held that evening at 7:00 p.m. in Conn Center.
At this time last year, Smith was a junior music business major and an integral part of the praise and worship team at Lee, as well as being a member of the Lee Singers. He has placed his education on hold in lieu of forward momentum his career has received since being named the winner on December 15. He has performed at numerous events, including singing at the NHL Winter Classic, a solo at the People’s Choice Awards, and the National Prayer Breakfast. His debut album, “Something Beautiful,” whom he worked with one of the most successful record producers in history, David Foster, is set to be released March 18.
Smith initially auditioned for ‘The Voice’ in 2014 and was turned down.
“‘The Voice’ was such a dream come true, a promise of God come true. God worked on me for a year, and I realize now that if I had made it the first year, I would have been so unprepared,” Smith said.
My experience over the past six months has been so incredible, it’s insane,” Smith told the audience. “For three years, I was here (at Lee), I was in class every day, I was in Lee Singers, worship leader in chapel and working two jobs. But I felt deep in my heart that I wanted to be a part of ‘The Voice.’ I can see now how every one of those things prepared me for ‘The Voice,’” he said.
When asked how he balances his new-found fame, Smith said, “It is important that I stay grounded in my faith. I can tell when I miss that spiritual grounding that comes from every day prayer and bible reading. I am careful to make every decision prayerfully, and I feel prepared for what’s out there because I know where my faith comes from.”