Koryn Hawthorne and Meghan Linsey have much in common. Both are Louisiana natives, both made it to the finals on this season’s “The Voice,” and with that behind them, both are focusing on their music.
Abbeville’s Hawthorne stayed on in Los Angeles after last week’s “Voice” finale, making plans for her next musical step. Ponchatoula native Linsey took meetings in Hollywood as well, before heading back to her home of 11 years, Nashville.
Koryn Hawthorne, Abbeville
“I want to get back to the music. Big plans are coming most definitely, I can promise you that,” a bubbly Hawthorne said. “I’m working with coach P (her ‘The Voice’ coach and artist Pharrell Williams), and I’m honored for this opportunity, and most blessed that God gave it to me, so I’m ready to work in music.”
At 17, Hawthorne has just completed her junior year in high school (she took classes on set). Learning outside a normal classroom like this was good preparation for her senior year, when she’ll probably be home schooled, she said.
“Music is No. 1 and hopefully God will bless me with more opportunities, and I’ll be really busy, and I’ll just home school, and hurry up and get it done.”
The Abbeville High student left her home and her job at the local Little Caesars a few months ago to compete on the NBC reality competition series. Advancing to the finals meant a quick official visit home in early May.
“It was really weird, overall,” Hawthorne said of her homecoming “I think it was cool to see how much support I was actually getting from my family back home and just the people that live in my city. It was an amazing feeling to see all the support and feel the love that they were giving me. But it was weird, yeah, I never looked at myself as being famous, but when I get back home, craziness.”
She was greeted that day by the high school marching band, cheerleaders and fans waving “We love Koryn” posters.
Hawthorne’s been singing her whole life, she said, and her parents encouraged her to audition for “The Voice,” and were in the Hollywood audience with other family members on many live show nights.
Her varied repertoire ranges from rock to blues and gospel. Her vocal style only being further explored under Williams’ guidance.
“He was just himself; Pharrell is Pharrell,” she said of her “Happy” coach. “He’s taught me and Sawyer (Fredericks, this season’s winner) so much. Just to be ourselves, just trust in God, overall. I mean, just being around him and seeing the type of person that he is has helped develop the kind of artist I want to become, because he is just an amazing person, overall, but a musical genius.”
Meghan Linsey, Ponchatoula
“It feels so good to be home,” Linsey said from Music City last week.
Heading into “The Voice,” Linsey was already familiar with such competitions, having won CMT’s “Can You Duet” with then-singing partner Josh Jones in 2009.
“It’s really a whole different level with ‘The Voice.’ It’s like the biggest show on television, it’s definitely amped up compared to ‘Duets,’ ” Linsey said.
“I kind of realized who I am and what I want and how to present myself, and I think that’s really important,” she said about her “Voice” experience.
Born in New Orleans and raised in Ponchatoula, Linsey, 29, said she grew up singing soul music.
“When I was a teenager, my mom would bring me up to Nashville for trips, and we’d go to the Bluebird (Café, a small but famous music club there), and I would sit in on shows, and watch the songwriters sings their songs, and I just fell in love with the songwriting style,” she said. “You know in Nashville, it’s all about writing songs that meant something, and stories. I moved there to become a better songwriter.”
Linsey said that in contrast to her country album with Jones (as the duo Steel Magnolia), her next record will be in the soul/pop realm.
“At the same time, I want to write smart pop and songs that have a meaning, and a story, and integrity.”
Linsey performed an original tune, “Change My Mind,” in one of her last “Voice” performances. She co-wrote the song of empowerment with Julie Moriva and Dee Briggs, and the track was produced by her boyfriend of 3½ years, Tyler Cain.
“I think it’s really about continuing to make music,” she said of her immediate focus. “I plan to get back into the studio and continue to book tours, so I can just get out there and play. It’s really what I’ve always done, it’s just now at this next level.”