Courtney Harrell on 'The Voice:' I wish I showed more of my artistry -- my heart wasn't in the songs I sang
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/02/2016
Courtney Harrell was eliminated from The Voice when the eleventh season's Top 8 artists were determined Tuesday night on NBC.
Courtney, a 36-year-old professional songwriter from Boston, MA who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, landed in the bottom three with Austin Allsup from Texas and Aaron Gibson from Georgia based on home viewer votes cast following Monday night's Top 10 performance show.
After the three artists sang a survival song, America tweeted to "instantly save" Aaron for the third week in a row. Aaron represents Miley Cyrus' team, while both Austin and Courtney were on Blake Shelton's team.
For her regular performance on Monday night, Courtney sang "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher, and for her "Instant Save" song on this week's live results show, she belted out "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts.
During a Thursday interview with reporters, Courtney talked all about her song choices this season, which she believes limited her performance quality in a few different ways. Below is what she had to say.
If somebody tapped you on the shoulder and said, "Hey, the key to winning this thing is to do R&B Top 40 songs, like the songs that you have written for other artists," would you have still continued the path that you went on as far as song choices and performances?
Courtney Harrell: Wow, that's a great question. I don't know. Let me preface it by saying this: I didn't come to the show to win The Voice. It would be awesome if I did. But I did come to -- it really was a journey of self-discovery for me.
I consider myself more of a pop singer with soul. There's some rock in there, too. But I think my style is a great example of the truest form of me as a vocalist or as an artist, let me say that, because I do think there's a big difference. As an artist, it would be my Blind Audition, "River Deep Mountain High," and "Bless the Broken Road." I think those two songs embody who I am as an artist.
But what I appreciate about where the show brought me, in spite of it going against who I am as an artist, it showed me what my vocal range was. I never sing with, like, I think the first time I've sung in a powerhouse way that the show tried to highlight with me was on "Gravity." And I never approached a song like that outside of a demo I made for someone else, but never for myself.
And so I think we kind of got on this track where it's like, "Oh, she can do these high, you know, strong long notes." And we stretched it a bit. But it definitely isn't a reflection of who I am as an artist. Maybe my vocal ability, but not me as an artist.
And I think in hindsight I would have -- maybe I'd go back and show more of me, my artistry, and less of what my voice is capable of doing. But I'd like to, you know, have my heart be connected to everything that I'm singing, and I can't say that was the case here.
Again, you know, my story is probably a little unlike the other contestants on this show in this way, and that is that I've not performed for the public in over 15 years. I've done, I think, six or seven performances in that time. And they've all been on the show.
And what the show didn't also highlight was that I was singing with a vocal injury and a few years before I had a terrible vocal injury where I couldn't sing at all. It's a miracle I was even on the show. So I was learning my voice at the same time of learning how to perform and connect with an audience.
It truly was a reality show for me in that sense where America was seeing in real time how someone is developing. And I don't think that there was a right answer for me in that approach because I had no idea what I was capable of doing after being away from it so long and, really, coming back to singing after losing my voice completely a few years before.
So, yes, it just was an interesting journey for me. And for that reason, I don't regret any song choice because I think it was, you know, my way of finding out how much I've healed at the same time from what America didn't know happened to me before even coming here. So it definitely was a time of self-discovery for me.
Did you ever consider singing songs that you wrote? Because I know that you've written songs for some pop singers?
Courtney Harrell: Yes, I definitely did. I think the hope was after -- well, let's say my journey in song choices was a collaborative effort. And I think the hope was that if what was selected was successful enough, the moment would come where I could showcase myself as a songwriter or that aspect of me.
And that moment didn't come. But it definitely was up for consideration thinking which songs would be not just the good songs that I've written, but, you know, the other thing that we considered are what songs are going to translate onstage and how big they are. And so, we've gone through that process, discovering which would be strong enough to do that. And we just didn't get the opportunity to execute.
To read whether Courtney was surprised to be eliminated and what she believes are the theories behind her exit, click here. Check back with Reality TV World soon for more from her interview.