'The Voice's Jake Hoot on His Season 17 Win & Working With Kelly Clarkson

The Voice - Season 17
Q&A
Trae Patton/NBC

The Voice crowned Jake Hoot its Season 17 champion during the December 17 broadcast, giving the country singer plenty to celebrate over the upcoming holiday.

Hours after his exciting win, Hoot spoke with us about his experience on the NBC reality competition series and working with his coach Kelly Clarkson. Below, he fills us in on his hopes for the future, the lengthy process of the competition and more.

Congratulations. Are you still in a daze from all of the excitement?

Jake Hoot: I think a daze is accurate — it was a whirlwind last night and of course this morning I'm still trying to process everything and trying to respond to all of the people who've sent me messages, but definitely feeling very good, very grateful this morning.

You've been with Kelly Clarkson since day one. How has your bond with her helped you on this Voice journey? 

If Kelly hadn't turned, I wouldn't be in the competition, so, the fact that she took a chance on me then, during Battles and in Knockouts to allow me to move onto Live —  every step of the way she's just been so encouraging.

And [she's been] very helpful with different things. Helping me approach songs differently — rather than just sing it nonchalantly, but to actually put more emotion in it and hope other people will feel those emotions through song. It's just been a blast and becoming friends with her has just been one of the highlights of my life. I never thought I'd be hanging out with somebody like that and here we are. I can't wait to work with her in the future.

(Credit: Trae Patton/NBC)

What advice would you give to singers wishing to be part of The Voice

I would tell them to just get out and do it. I was easily and definitely one of the skeptical ones for a long time, and when I first was contacted — first auditioned —  I thought it was fake, I didn't really believe it. And every step of the way, I've kind of been like, "Oh, I'm going home." But, life throws curve balls at you ... rather than using those as an excuse, use it as motivation. Chase your dreams no matter what you're doing, no matter what they are, if you're passionate about it, there's no telling what you can do.

How long was the actual competition process? When was your first audition?

I think my audition in Nashville was middle of February, and so it's been almost a year, and at times it feels like it was forever ago. But then other times it's like, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe this is over." It seems like it all went by so fast and so it's definitely a long process, but something I would recommend to someone pursuing music.

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A new champion has been crowned — did you agree with America's pick?

You worked with so many different singers this season from Kelly Clarkson and Normani to Taylor Swift and Little Big Town. Is there anything you learned from those experiences? 

I think I learned something different [from] everyone. [They each] gave me a different appreciation for performing. I met Normani first for Battles and she's collaborated with so many people. Obviously being a member of Fifth Harmony, she knows what it's like to share the stage with somebody, so she gave me a different perspective.

And then, of course, Taylor Swift — she's a legend already — she's very professional, she knows what to do when you're performing, and so she helped me with my sway while I was on stage. It was amazing just to pick her brain and then of course, getting to share the stage with Kelly Clarkson was easily one of the highlights.

(Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC)

Little Big Town, I can't say enough good things about them. Not only are they incredible on stage and just all around amazing, but offstage, getting to talk to them beforehand and getting to know them, they're the nicest people. It just restores your faith in humanity to see [people] at that level and they're still so down to earth.

Is there anyone in particular that you'd like to collaborate with? 

The list is almost endless. I'm a huge Eagles fan, so [Laughs], I think the next best thing would be getting to do something with them. I'm a huge Chris Stapleton fan,  Luke Combs fan, George Strait, Alan Jackson, you name it. Honestly, I think the next thing, it's been my dream for years to play at the Grand Ole Opry someday, and hopefully that'll come to fruition. Getting to walk out on that stage would be an incredible thing, but honestly, anybody that would put up with me singing with them, I would be so honored and grateful to them.

(Credit: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Any special celebration plans? Or is it holiday mode from here on out? 

I think the best kind of celebration I can think of is to spend some time with my girls, and so I can't wait to get home.

The Voice, Season 18, 2020, NBC