Georgia Southern Alumnus
Bryce Leatherwood Crowned Winner of ‘The Voice’
Alumnus Bryce Leatherwood (‘22) didn’t take the path of a typical Bachelor of Business Administration graduate.
After finishing his degree at Georgia Southern, he joined the cast of season 22 of “The Voice,” the Emmy-winning musical competition series. A native of Woodstock, Georgia, Leatherwood landed on the team coached by country music star Blake Shelton and defeated four other finalists to be crowned the winner during the season finale in December. Leatherwood’s win comes with a $100,000 grand prize and a record deal with Universal Music Group.
Georgia Southern Magazine caught up with Leatherwood a few weeks after his win to talk about his musical beginnings at Georgia Southern, the power of Eagle Nation and where he’ll go next as a budding country music star.
Georgia Southern Magazine: When did you get started in music?
Bryce Leatherwood: I’ve been performing live for over five-and-a-half years. I’ve played around my hometown and then came down to Statesboro during my time there and began playing at venues like Eagle Creek Brewing Company, Southern Social and Shenanigans back when that was a joint. I’ve played out on patios in Statesboro hundreds of times. That’s a fact.
GSM: So you had a busy music career even at Georgia Southern?
BL: Very much so. And, you know, I have to thank Statesboro in large part for my musical growth and all of the things I picked up by working the crowd and performing live for the best and most dedicated fans in Georgia, in Statesboro.
GSM: What made you decide to audition for “The Voice?”
BL: You know, I kind of took it on a whim. There was no thought process behind it. I just saw an advertisement and after a night of performing in Statesboro, I was like, ‘Might as well!’ So I sent in a couple of videos and the rest is history.
GSM: What’s the process of being on “The Voice?”
BL: You got to go through a slew of interviews and they get to know you and what you’re about, and they get to know what kind of music you like to sing and play. And they pick based upon that and they chose me, which is really cool.
GSM: How big a role do you think Eagle Nation played in your win on “The Voice?”
BL: Oh, man. The people of Statesboro, Georgia, and everyone at Georgia Southern played a huge role. I have a bunch of buddies that are still down there and they’re telling me every week they’re getting everybody to vote. And everybody’s been talking about it. And it’s caused quite a buzz. Man, I made a return to Statesboro about, I’d say close to a month ago, and I went out to the bars down there and man, everybody was just over the moon, which was very surprising. It made me very proud to see all of my fellow Georgia Southern Eagles, and they were very excited to see me and congratulate me and get a picture or two and spend some time talking to me. So it was really, really good. And it was an eye-opening experience to see how much love that town has shown me.
GSM: What’s life been like since you won the competition?
BL: Life’s been crazy. I’ve been writing three songs a week. I’ve been to Nashville, sleeping on couches and grinding there and then traveling on the weekends either back home or to shows. And we’re excited to start breaking out of Georgia and going elsewhere. But then we can’t wait to come back to Georgia and perform around the state.
I’m in the process of moving to Nashville. I’m kind of everywhere right now. Like I said, I’m sleeping on a buddy’s couch up there and writing music and doing a bunch of meetings and getting everything ready to go with putting music out and recording and taking the right songs. So right now I’m just kind of freelancing. I’m a nomad.
GSM: Do you envision kind of having a career trajectory like the people who’ve gone before you — Cole Swindell and Luke Bryan?
BL: Oh, absolutely. I see myself representing the Eagle Nation for the rest of my life. And I see myself doing this rest of my life. I see no other path. I see music being my life for the rest of my life, and I promise to always support Georgia Southern and to always return to Georgia Southern just like one of those names you said.
GSM: What kind of relationship have you developed with your coach, Blake Shelton?
BL: Blake’s a hoot, man. He’s the real deal. What you see is what you get from Mr. Blake. He’s been very much in my corner since the show. He’s been keeping up with me and he congratulated me on all these sold-out dates we’re getting. And he’s just very happy to see me continuing to work. And people ask me, ‘Well, when are you going to send him the songs you record?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, he’ll hear them when it’s time. You know, I don’t want to bug the man.’ That’s a relationship you’ve got to take care of. And Blake’s an incredible person, and I know he’s always there for me. He’s a phone call away. I’ve called him twice and he’s picked up every time.
GSM: Are you recording an album? Is that next?
BL: We’re looking at releasing some music very soon. I don’t have a date confirmed yet, but we’ve already been writing some great songs. And we’re going to put out the best of the best that we got so far. I’ve written like three songs a week for the past two months, so you can imagine sorting through all those and just trying to pick what I think resonates with people the most and is the music that I want to make.
GSM: Eagle Nation is out there rooting for you. What do you want to say to them?
BL: Well, if there’s one thing I had to say to them it’s thank you for all your support. I can’t wait to come perform for all of y’all again. And that’ll be coming up very soon. And to everybody who watched the show and wants to keep following me, just hang on tight. We got some great stuff coming up. Man, just really, thank you. That’s all I got to say. Thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve done. I can’t wait to come party with y’all soon. — Doy Cave