In this edition of Country Throwback, we’re taking a look back at country star Morgan Wallen’s big break on Season 6 of The Voice back in 2014.
Wallen has blown up in 2020 with new Billboard charting singles, multiple award show nominations, and has even been the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. However, it wasn’t that long ago that Wallen was just another contestant trying to nail his audition on The Voice.
In 2014, the baby-faced singer was only 20 years old and looked very different than what fans are used to these days. There is no signature mullet or cut-off sleeve shirts. Instead, Wallen is adorned in a button-down shirt, tie, and cardigan sweater.
As the singer says in a clip from the show, he was a landscaper at the time of his The Voice audition. He goes on to explain how he began to sing at a young age because of his mother.
“I started singing when I was about 3 years old,” Wallen says on The Voice. “My mom threw me up on stage at church, and around 8 years old, I was entered into a competition, and I came in third. They offered me a record contract, but my mom was like, ‘I want you to have a normal childhood.’ So we turned it down.”
Morgan Wallen Had the Full Support of His Family
Wallen touched on his love of baseball and that he originally planned on attending college on scholarship as a pitcher. But, the musician tore his UCL while pitching in a game during his junior year of high school, so his plans abruptly changed. He got back into singing at church and realized he may have a career in music.
His mother and grandmother were Wallen’s biggest supporters, and the two women joined him for his The Voice audition.
“He really is very emotional with his singing,” Wallen’s mom says. “It’s beautiful.”
“To hear him sing is just amazing. I just love him so much,” his grandmother added.
Before his audition, Wallen called himself a “normal small-town kid.” Additionally, he admitted he didn’t have any idea of how to break into the music industry back then. The country singer said he didn’t have a band at home and figured trying out for the show could be the catalyst to jump-start his music career.
“Right now it’s do or die,” Wallen said. “I don’t want to just go home and be that normal landscaper guy again. I want to do this, because I love it.”
Morgan Wallen then stepped on stage after hugging his family and began to sing Howie Day’s “Collide.” After only the first line of the song, Colombian pop star Shakira hits her buzzer to turn her chair around as Wallen’s family screams with excitement backstage. Eventually, another judge, R&B singer Usher, hits his buzzer to turn his chair around as well.
Wallen Joins Team Usher, Says the Audition Felt Like a ‘Dream’
“You know why I turned? Your voice is unique, it has this raspy tone, this gritty sound to it,” Shakira says of Wallen. “And I think there are no voices that sound like your voice on today’s radio. That’s why I turned.”
“You have something that is very unique. There’s not quite a voice like yours on The Voice. There were some moments in your performance that I felt like they were not properly executed,” Usher says, and Wallen agrees. “But that’s where coaching comes in, and you have the potential to be any type of artist you’d like to be. I really would like to win with you, and I’d like you to select me as your coach.”
The future “Whiskey Glasses” singer takes a minute, and then decides to join Usher’s team of singers. As Wallen walks backstage, his family freaks out with excitement over Wallen’s performance before he shares why he picked Usher over Shakira.
“It literally felt like I was in a dream. I like Usher’s music personally and I’ve seen how he coaches people on the show. He kinda goes about it like say my baseball coach would. I like to be coached up,” Wallen explains before he and his family scream “Team Usher!”
You can watch the whole throwback video of the world getting their first glimpse into Morgan Wallen’s future success below.