Featured Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez
On Season 19 of The Voice, John Holiday blew the judges away with his cover of Johnny Mathis’s “Misty.” His powerful vocals, which turned every chair and earned him a spot on John Legend’s team, were not only a mark of pure talent, but years of opera training.
Holiday continues to explore and experiment with different genres in his empowering debut pop single “Alive in Me.” The single is a poignant reminder that we are all capable of loving and worthy of love.
We chatted with the emerging artist about the single, being a contestant on The Voice, and what fans can expect from his long-awaited EP in December.
Congratulations on your new single “Alive in Me!” What is the message behind the song and how do you hope people feel after listening to it?
Growing up, it wasn’t uncommon for me to see the multi-faceted nature of love; however, all those variants of love were heteronormative in nature. As a young, black, gay kid, I never saw myself reflected in any of that love. Maybe, it was too taboo…it was unspoken. So, I began to feel as if I’d never experience love for myself. “Alive in Me” is a reminder to everyone, but especially to those young kids and teens who are like me – a reminder that there is love. Love so deeply rooted within you that it’s aching to come out. Love so beautiful that it’s a sin not so share it. “Alive in Me” is a story about knowing that if there is love for others, then, certainly, love is also there for me. When I began to discover songs for this project, I wanted to find something that was representative of me. Questions of love and whether or not I’d find a genuine love began to resurface. Was I good enough? Was I worthy of love again? Would I find someone who cares enough about me, just as I am. As sure as my name is John Holiday, Jr., and, after a lot of soul-searching, I discovered that the answers to all of those questions were an emphatic YES. I have found love, and I know that I’m worthy of every good thing. “Alive in Me”, in many ways, was the song that brought about a new awakening in my life and helped me to find that place of surrender – which I am always searching for. Surrendering to love…to the process of the journey…to life and my pursuit of happiness…
What was the process of choosing “Alive in Me” as your first single like?
My Manager and A&R team were searching for songs they knew would speak to me and my spirit. I had a huge influx of songs, and “Alive in Me” was a song that spoke to me. Immediately, I felt as if I knew what the writer was aiming for – only because I had experienced everything this song talks about.
This is your first pop single. What inspired the transition from opera to pop?
I wouldn’t say that there has been a transition, per se. I would say that there has always been a recognition of me existing in my most authentic self. In order to do so, I have to pay attention to and recognize every facet of who I am. Recognizing the multi-faceted nature of my life has been a huge blessing.
How did you first become interested in opera?
I first became interested in opera, when I was in the 3rd grade. As a member of The Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas, there was a lot of exposure to classical music that I received, and I’m so grateful for those experiences.
How has your opera training helped you with your pop music performances and writing?
For me, the classical technique that I’ve learned as a singer with classical training is technique that carries over into my singing of R&B, jazz, pop and more. My technical training has been the foundation that carries me through each genre.
You were on John Legend’s team on The Voice. Was there a piece of advice that John Legend shared that really sticks with you?
Truly, there was one thing that stuck with me that I observed John do. This wasn’t a singing lesson. Each time that Chrissy called, no matter what he was doing, he answered the phone. Sometimes it was her or her calling for the kids to connect with their dad. That I noticed, in those moments, was an unsaid lesson. No matter how high you ascend, the folks who have enabled you to get to there or who sustain you while you’re on the journey….they are important. And, they are worthy of your time and focus. Answering, whenever they call, is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and to them. In my relationships, I practice this, especially since The Voice.
What can fans look forward to next?
There are so many wonderful things occurring, and I’m so blessed to have the fans along for the ride. There are several more singles, which will be coming out, and that will lead to my long-awaited EP.
What can fans expect from your upcoming EP?
My EP will mimic my life and what I try to put out into the universe. For me, that main theme is love. Throughout my EP, you will experience every aspect of love. The butterflies, initial date, reoccurring moments, honey-moon phase and the questioning….even the falling out of and into love. That’s so important.
What are you most looking forward to when you perform at The Met in December?
I’m mostly looking forward to being back on stage with my colleagues. It’s been since February of 2020 that I’ve be on stage with my colleagues and friends. I’m looking forward to sharing time and space with other people who aim to share their gifts with the world.
What is one quote that you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?
“Everything you seek to be you already are!”…..another quote is: “You can do any good thing.”