THE VOICE Winner Huntley: 'I Never Knew What it Was Gonna Feel Like Once I Felt Like My Dream was Coming True' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE VOICE Winner Huntley: ‘I Never Knew What it Was Gonna Feel Like Once I Felt Like My Dream was Coming True’

December 20, 2023 by  

The Voice winner Huntley interview

THE VOICE — “Live Finale, Part 2” Episode 2422B — Pictured: (l-r) Huntley, Niall Horan — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Team Niall’s Huntley made THE VOICE history on the season 24 finale: Not only did the singer become the first rock artist to win the series, but he also claimed victory over a finalist group that consisted entirely of four-chair turns.

Though Huntley delivered stand-out performances in the finale, it was also clear he was genuinely shocked when THE VOICE host Carson Daly declared he was the winner.

Hours after his big night, Huntley spoke with Give Me My Remote about his journey on the show.

What was going through your mind when the five finalists were standing on stage and Carson started reading the results?
You know, I think the first thing that I thought, especially when I heard Lila [Forde]’s name called first, I was just like, “Wow, this doesn’t make any sense at all.” Everybody that was there, it didn’t matter who was going to win; it was just everybody was so talented that I just felt very grateful to be standing on that stage with all those people up there.

The Voice winner Huntley interview

THE VOICE — “Live Finale, Part 2” Episode 2422B — Pictured: (l-r) Ruby Leigh, Huntley — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

As it dwindled down and it was just you and Ruby Leigh left, where was your mind at that point?
I think I just was thinking I worked really hard just to get to this point.

And then when my name was called, I was so surprised. I really did not think I was going to walk away with that. I just had been so used to getting “no”s in my life that I wasn’t really ready for a “yes,” which is really cool. And then as soon as I got that “yes,” the father in me really couldn’t help but to feel [for] Ruby standing up there. It was a weird feeling, because it doesn’t make sense that there’s one winner. So I just wanted to hold her and let her know that, “Are you kidding me? You’re 16. You just came out here and put on a Las Vegas-like residency show.” What she did with that Elvis song was insane. And what she’s shown this whole entire time! So I felt like if I was gonna lose to anybody, it being to Ruby Leigh would be okay. And when my name was called, I just couldn’t help but just feel as confident and strong and powerful as a singer as Ruby is, she’s still 16 years old [going through this loss]. That’s insane to even just try to think about that. And even though I won, I couldn’t let it go at first, you know what I mean? I just wanted to make sure she was okay.

That is incredibly kind and lovely. You mentioned not being used to the yeses, which was something we also saw during your Blind Audition. What does it mean to you to have gotten all of these yeses from the coaches and America?
You know, it’s definitely indescribable. [Huntley gets audibly choked up.] I’ve been working for this for so long. I’ve had opportunities and I’ve done the best I can in those opportunities—and done great in those opportunities—and still gotten no. So I know that it just takes a lot of luck, a lot of God’s grace, to even be put in a position to have an opportunity like this. And I’m just floored that…I just always feel like the kid that doesn’t really get picked for dodgeball or kickball first. And to hear my name called, it was just so cool.

Your daughter was a part of your initial audition and helped you pick Team Niall. What can you share about the first conversation you had with her after the win?
You know, I have a seven-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son, and I haven’t even been able to talk to them yet. [Laughs.] They’re on the East Coast. It definitely is sinking in more and more, but I have no words. I can’t wait to call them. It’s gonna be really—it’s gonna be a really big moment that we’re gonna remember forever. So it’s cool, because I just want to show her that we can win.

One of the immediate perks to winning is you’re performing at the Chargers versus Bills NFL game this weekend. What does that opportunity mean to you? 
Oh, my gosh, when I heard that information, it was insane. Not only am I singing the National Anthem, but they want me to play like a six-minute set during halftime. I’m like, “This is insane.” So I think for me, I never knew… [Huntley pauses, and gets choked up.] I never knew what it was gonna feel like once I felt like my dream was coming true. And it’s very validating to see the show’s not even over yet [promotion-wise] and I’m getting offered to go sing the National Anthem and play a halftime show. It’s just eye-opening. I’m so grateful.

Have you given any thought to what your set is going to be? Or is this a thing you’ll figure out later?
I’m going to be honest, I haven’t even slept. [Laughs.] There’s no way…I went out with the Fighting Irish last night, with Niall and his whole crew. I’m not as almighty as Conor McGregor, but I feel like I got beat up by Conor McGregor a little bit today. I’m gonna take my time, [be] slow. And I really haven’t even really had a second to just even think about that I just won this. I haven’t had one moment. So it’s a little surreal.

The Voice winner Huntley interview

THE VOICE — “Live Finale, Part 2” Episode 2422B — Pictured: (l-r) Niall Horan, Huntley — (Photo by: Griffin Nagel/NBC)

Speaking of Niall, you guys seem to have a lovely bond. Can you share what having him in your corner and by your side during this experience has meant to you both as a person and as an artist?
The guy is just super genuine. He’s smart. And I know he’s funny. I think that we really vibe with each other because we’re the class clown—but when it’s business, we’re down to get to business.

And you helped him win his second year in a row…
I think that he definitely feels proud—two times in a row, he’s the only coach on the panel that is from out of the United States. I think it’s pretty cool.

“Higher” has been a big song this year, because it was also a rallying song for the Texas Rangers during their World Series run. Were you aware of its recent resurgence? 
No, I did not know that but I do remember it being one of the most iconic moments in halftime history [when Creed performed it in 2001]

But to me, that song just resonated so much. I remember riding in my mom’s little red Jeep Wrangler, with all the top down, listening to Creed and Destiny’s Child. [Laughs.] It’s insane. And the fact that I got to go on that stage and get literally shot up by rocket! That was awesome. It was awesomely ridiculous. And I loved every moment of it.

On that note, I must say, another thing for Niall is that this is the very first rocker ever to win on THE VOICE, and it was by him. So I said that to him. He was like, “There’s no rocker that had ever won?!” And I was like, “Nope.” So now THE VOICE has a rocker—and it’s your boy Huntley!

The Voice winner Huntley interview

THE VOICE — “Live Finale Part 1” Episode 2422A — Pictured: Huntley — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

What are you hoping to do next, career-wise?
I definitely think right now the most important thing to me is putting together my team. And also understanding what I’m getting myself into. And I think trying to find a good team, a good manager, a good booking agent, and not relying on…even though I just got signed to a record label, nothing’s ever going to be handed to me. I’m 33 years old and I know that through experience. So when I’m coming here, I’m not thinking just because I won this thing that the record label’s gonna bend over backwards and do whatever they can to make me make it. I know that I’m gonna have to put the hard work in and determination to make this dream come true, because as cool as this was—and I do want to be proud of it and take it in—my mind is already two steps ahead, and I’m figuring out what my next move is, you know?

I know it’s only been a few hours, but with a tiny amount of hindsight, what has this THE VOICE experience meant to you?
It means everything. I literally was sitting there cooking spaghetti dinner for my daughter, I got a call and I thought it was a telemarketer—I was pranking them. And then it happened to be THE VOICE. What is real life? 

The fact that THE VOICE took my personality and that they really captured who I am, I think made the most difference—they really captured who I am as a person. I just always want to be myself. And what I was trying to convey last night when they asked me what Niall’s taught me: Not only the dynamics of a song, but he also taught me that I can be my goofy self as an artist and not change just because of a label. I’m a singer or I’m a celebrity or whatever that even means. He’s definitely shown me that being a fresh breath of air outweighs you being prideful of your talent.

Want more from Huntley? Here’s what he shared with reporters after the performance finale…


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