CCM alumnus ends 'The Voice' season 19 on a high note

Voice alumnus John Holiday climbs to top five singers in the nationally televised competition

Countertenor John Holiday (MM Voice, ’12) consistently stunned viewers and judges alike during season 19 of NBC’s The Voice. The UC College-Conservatory of Music alumnus battled through knockout duets, epic solos and audience voting rounds to make it to the top five singers.

The Voice season finale, which debuted Tuesday, Dec. 15, named Carter Rubin winner and recipient of the grand prize recording contract. Holiday won fifth place in the competition and his performances throughout the season will be remembered some of the best in the series’ history.

Competition judges John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani all vied to coach Holiday after his stunning blind audition during the season premiere on Oct. 19, but Legend ultimately won. During the season finale, Holiday and Legend shared a moving performance of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Watch the performance online.

Throughout the season Legend has expressed his admiration for the singer. "John is just so remarkable," Legend said of Holiday. "He's just one of those talents that don't come along very often. We haven't seen someone with his immense gift on this show, and I had to pick him."

Although his background is in opera, Holiday has shown the breadth of his range throughout the season in performances of Ella Fitzgerald’s “Misty,” Stevie Wonder’s “Summer Soft,” Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself,” Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon,” Coldplay’s “Fix You” and Beyoncé’s “Halo.” Each of the top five singers also shared a new single as part of The Voice finale, including Holiday’s “Where Do We Go From Here.”

The Los Angeles Times recently featured Holiday for turning pandemic hardships and job loss into "TV gold" on the competition.

"Whether he's turning chairs with otherworldly high notes or channeling his inner Céline Dion in rehearsals with Usher and John Legend, Holiday comes across on reality TV as he does in real life: an ambitious artist with a tender heart, exceptional talent and a mission to bring joy and hope to the world through his music," writes LA Times writer Catherine Womack.

Holiday told the judges that he aims to inspire the next generation of opera singers. He was recently featured in OperaWire's list of 30 most influential LGBTQIA+ players in opera as a fast-rising singer to watch and as an outspoken advocate of the LGBT community. Learn more about Holiday in a micro-documentary by Emmy-winning global media company Great Big Story.

Countertenor John Holiday has established himself as “one of the finest countertenors of his generation” (Los Angeles Times). His voice has been praised as “a thing of astonishing beauty” (New Yorker), “arrestingly powerful, secure and dramatically high” (Wall Street Journal), “exceptional [and] strong...even in its highest range” (The New York Times) and “timeless” (Washington Post). Holiday’s unique voice and powerful story have been the subject of profiles in The New Yorker, CNN’s Great Big Story, Los Angeles Times, and more.

In 2021, Holiday will make his anticipated Metropolitan Opera debut in Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice as Orpheus’s Double, and is slated to make his role debut as Cherubino in Le Nozze Di Figaro at Dallas Opera. An acclaimed concert singer, Holiday has performed at world-renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London’s Barbican Center, and the Philharmonie de Paris. His career highlights have included a tour with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Sorceress in Barrie Kosky’s production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice as Orpheus’s Double at the Los Angeles Opera; the world premiere of Daniel Roumain’s We Shall Not Be Moved with Opera Philadelphia and the Dutch National Opera; title role in Xerxes at the Glimmerglass Festival; and Caesar in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto at Wolf Trap Opera.

Outside of classical repertoire, Holiday excels in jazz and gospel music having opened for Grammy Award winner Jason Mraz in concert. In 2018, Holiday sang the national anthem for his hometown team the Houston Rockets, and in 2019, Holiday performed at the star-studded Ozwald Boateng Harlem Runway Show at The Apollo Theater, in a performance that was covered by Vogue, Forbes, and CNN, and attended by celebrities Jamie Foxx, Idris Elba, Dapper Dan and others. Additionally, in 2019 Holiday performed Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” at the Apollo Theater Spring Gala.

Holiday has been the recipient of numerous major competitions and award programs such as the 2017 Marian Anderson Vocal Award; the 2014 Richard Tucker Foundation’s Sara Tucker award; first place at the 2013 Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, the 2012 Sullivan Foundation, and the 2011 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition; and third place winner in the 2014 OPERALIA competition. In addition, Holiday was selected among WQXR’s prestigious 20 for ‘20 Artists to Watch, named one of BroadwayWorld’s “New York Opera Gifts that Keep on Giving,” nominated for “Newcomer of the Year” by the German magazine Opernwelt, and listed as one of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 100 honorees for 2018.

John Holiday received a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies from the Juilliard School in New York City. Holiday grew up in Rosenberg, Texas, located near Houston, and attended the town’s public schools.

Learn more on his professional website.