AUSTIN (KXAN) — Holly Tucker sang on stage for the first time when she was 7 years old at her church. A native of Waco, she grew up around music.
“Instead of bedtime stories, I would like bedtime songs,” Tucker said. “So my dad would get out his guitar and play little funny ones or just little songs that he knew would make me laugh or giggle or stuff that I could sing along to.”
She said that love of music grew into a passion.
“I got me a little karaoke machine in my room and a boom box I could practice to and I would sing for hours,” she said. “Eventually I started getting on every stage that I could.”
Tucker began trying out for talent shows: American Idol, America’s Got Talent, X-Factor, even producers from the first season of The Voice — they all told her no.
“I just kept getting told, ‘No,'” Tucker said. “‘You have great potential, but no.’ I was kind of done with that, actually.”
That was until she found herself in Dallas on the same day producers from the show were holding auditions. By then Tucker was 19 and thought to herself, ‘What’s one more?’ deciding to try out anyway.
“It was just kind of a fluke,” she said. “I was never planning on auditioning for it, I just kind of, it happened upon me and I ended up making it.”
This time she got a call back months later, as a sophomore in college, while attending Baylor University.
Tucker was flown out to Los Angeles that October for the blind auditions.
“You’re freaking out inwardly pretty much,” Tucker said. “I mean, all of the constants, I’m sure they would tell you the same thing. When you’re getting up on that stage it’s just like ‘man, this is what I’ve been working for. This is the moment that I’ve been working so hard for and I’m finally here. I jut don’t want to screw it up.'”
One chair, that’s all she needed. Just one chair to turn. And she got it. Four of them, actually, while singing “To Make You Feel My Love.”
“I sang like and ‘oo’ or something, I didn’t even sing a word and two chairs turned for me,” she said. “I tried to just keep my cool and keep calm for the rest of the song and eventually all four of them turned.”
Blake Shelton, who would be Tucker’s coach throughout the season, was the last one to turn his chair. She says his influence helped her stay grounded in country music while on The Voice stage and really come out of her shell as an artist.
She made it all the way to the quarterfinals on the show before she was eliminated, but that didn’t stop her from following through on her dream.
Four years after leaving the show, Tucker is in the middle of her first tour after releasing six albums. When she’s not busy with her career, she volunteers anywhere she can, from Fort Hood to children’s hospitals.
That’s how she met 10-year-old Kyrah Guyton, a patient at Seton Dell Children’s Medical Center, while surprising patients and their families with a performance.
“I was going to go downstairs, we were going to go to the gift shop and I saw the peeper and I kind of had a flashback,” Guyton said. “I was excited because I got to see her in real life.”
Together the two sang a duet performance of Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind,” which Kyrah will be performing during a school talent show Thursday.
The 10-year-old says Tucker is an inspiration to her, one day wanting to write and perform music of her own. “I want people to hear the way I can change the world and I think maybe it will change something,” Kyrah said. “There’s a lot of things that are bad, and maybe music can make it happy or good.”
Tucker said she and Kyrah are kindred spirits, both on the same mission to make the world a better place.
“I feel like my God-given purpose has always been to bring light to a dark place,” Tucker said. “She sees exactly what I’m always talking about. At such a young age for her to get that is really special.”