Chevel Shepherd, 16, was raised in the New Mexico town of Farmington, where she was born and raised. This young woman, who is barely 4’10”, has a voice that is larger than life. Everyone was stunned when she made her public debut during her blind audition for Season 15 of The Voice.
The song that Chevel used for her blind audition was a 2010 hit by “The Band Perry.” As she starts, Chevel’s voice is clearly trembling from anxiety, but it’s obvious that there is potential there. The coach, Kelly Clarkson, was the first to realize this. Within a few words of the song, Kelly slams her button and turns around in her chair.
Blake Shelton, one of the judges, realizes he too wants to be a part of this talent as Chevel’s naturally raspy voice develops. The final two judges are sitting in their seats deliberating their choices as the little powerhouse grows more assured, her voice dominating the room. The next judge to turn her chair for Chevel was Jennifer Hudson, leaving Adam Levine as the lone holdout.
The judges were immensely astonished and in awe of Chevel’s audition performance. Kelly Clarkson noted that Chevel first appeared to be hesitant and remarked, “You were in your head a lot…but I would love to work with you.” She even praised her and said that her voice reminded her of Dolly Parton’s.
The other judges praised Chevel as well. There will be a lot of growth for her on this program, Blake predicted, and Jennifer Hudson praised her voice as “pure and beautiful.” Wow, was he ever right! Each week, as Chevel acquired knowledge and self-assurance, her voice got louder and louder.
Chevel suddenly picks Kelly as her mentor after some lighthearted competition between Blake and Kelly as they try to convince Chevel to join their squad. Chevel, who went on to win the season finale on December 19, found the perfect coach in Kelly Clarkson.
What a journey this adventurous adolescent has already been on. Soon after winning, Chevel remarked of her time on The Voice, “It’s been crazy just getting the opportunity.” Not many 16-year-olds get the chance to perform on The Voice stage in front of millions of viewers while being mentored by Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey, and Thomas Rhett. It has truly been amazing and transformative.