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article imageCraig Wayne Boyd: Behind-the-scenes of his win on ‘The Voice’ Special

By Earl Dittman     Dec 19, 2014 in Entertainment
Considered the underdog to take home the Season 7 trophy for 'The Voice,' the country rocker accomplished his mission impossible. Boyd and coach Blake Shelton talk about his victory and his plans for becoming the hardest-working man in country music.
"I just got to meet Donald Trump," proclaims exhilarated country rocker Craig Wayne Boyd, as he paces outside the NBC New York City soundstage where The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is taped. "Mr. Trump said he was a big fan of my music. Man, that was so awesome to hear. I would have never dreamed so many people would know who I am. I may be a little tired and things are crazy right now, but I am having the time of my life."
It's the afternoon after Boyd was crowned the winner of The Voice - Season 7 at Universal Studios in Los Angeles (on Dec.16), and the sole Team Blake (Shelton) member of the finals — a Top 4 that also included Team Adam's (Levine) runner-up Matt McAndrew, Chris Jamison, who took third place, and Damien Lawson — admits he's had "maybe two hours sleep, total" since hoping on his bi-coastal, red-eye flight two hours after his Voice win.
Craig Wayne Boyd wins Season 7 of  The Voice
Craig Wayne Boyd wins Season 7 of 'The Voice'
NBC
However, the singer from Mesquite, Texas is smack dab in the middle of a non-stop whirlwind promotional tour. Boyd began his morning appearing on The Today Show and has spent the better part of the early afternoon visiting every major news outlet in Manhattan. At the moment, he's taking a tiny break before his begins rehearsals with Fallon's house band, The Roots.
"It's just incredible that I'm going to be a couple of songs with The Roots tonight on Jimmy Fallon's show," declares Boyd, who takes home $100,000 and a record contract for securing this season's top spot on The Voice. "This is all like a dream come true for me. I'm so glad that America pulled through for me. I don't know what I expected would happen if I won. I just kept telling myself, 'All I can do is my best and then hope for the best outcome. It caught me so off guard. I don't know what I expected. I just felt like last night I did the best I could, and I guess America took care of me after that."
It's hard to fathom that just a little over a year ago, almost to the day, Craig Wayne Boyd was about to give up on a career as a full-time, performing paid musician. The father of two-year-old son, Jax, remembers the near fateful day vividly.
"I was sitting in a pickup, in the parking lot outside of a club after I had just played with just very few people there — basically no one — so, it was a tough time," Boyd recalls. "Ends were just meeting at the time. I was taking to my drummer and I was like, 'I lost my pickup and I'm losing my house. I may have to quit, because it's not paying my bills. Man, I'm gonna have to figure something out, because this is not working.' He was pretty adamant that I not give up on it yet. He kept telling me, 'Dude, you can't do that.' I didn't know what to do. Then, literally, a few days later, after our conversation, I got the email to audition for The Voice. And, here I am."
Pausing for a moment, reflecting on all the events that have dominated his life over the past 12 hours, Boyd contemplatively adds, "It feels like that final puzzle piece is now in place. Me, winning...it's the complete and total validation that all the hard work has finally paid off."
Blake Shelton  Craig Wayne Boyd and Carson Daly backstage after  The Voice  finale
Blake Shelton, Craig Wayne Boyd and Carson Daly backstage after 'The Voice' finale
Krystina Christiansen
His Voice coach, Blake Shelton, is in complete agreement. According to the country music superstar no one is more deserving of winning the top spot of The Voice - Season 7 than Craig Wayne Boyd.
"The greatest thing for me is to see this guy, sitting here, holding this trophy right now," a proud Shelton said the previous night, minutes after Boyd was declared "the voice." "I know how much he's put into this competition, firsthand. I'm also aware of how much he's put into trying to make it as an artist in the music industry, and the struggles and the ups, and mostly the downs, that he's had, all the doors shut in his face, the carpet yanked out from under him. And, all of a sudden, here's a guy who is the winner of The Voice. And, he's sold already sold a crap load of music, you know. Just to see this happen for somebody that I feel like I can relate to — because he moved to Nashville — and he's been beating the streets. Craig Wayne Boyd has paid his dues. You know what I mean? This guy has put his time in."
Boyd's trophy marks Shelton's fourth win on The Voice series — an elite group of Team Blake champs that include Jermaine Paul, Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery. It's an especially sweet victory for Blake since Craig was considered the "David" to Team Adam's "Goliath" — Matt McAndrew, Damien and Chris Jamison.
"It's fucking awesome," Shelton unabashedly proclaimed, when asked how it feels to win over his friend and Voice rival, Adam Levine, the lead singer/songwriter of the rock mega-group Maroon Five. "I don't care if it's politically incorrect. I don't give a crap at this point. It's just great to see Craig win, because we went into this thing with the odds stacked against us. And, I'm not just talking about to beat Adam. It's just awesome to know that so many people connected with this guy. With the odds against him, to win this competition. I mean, the odds — it was almost impossible. This was mission impossible. And, this guy did it. Man, it's awesome. Will I rub it in Adam's face? Yes!!! He may quit the show before I'm done rubbing this in his face."
Craig Wayne Boyd wins Season 7 of  The Voice
Craig Wayne Boyd wins Season 7 of 'The Voice'
NBC
Boyd says he would have never won if not for the tutelage of Shelton — who turned around for the Texan at his initial audition on The Voice. "Blake is the guy who taught me to have the confidence of remain true to myself,” he confesses, “and, more importantly, he made me realize that I should never give up on my dreams.”
The humble, unassuming Shelton counters that all he really did was chose a singer whose voice sounded unique and powerful. “I just turned around my chair because I thought, ‘Man, this guy seems like a star to me, I really like his voice," Blake explained. “And, from that point on...Craig Wayne Boyd is the guy that won this show. As much as I would love to sit here and go, I'm so smart,’ I am not. This guy right here, he's the one that came in with 'Walk the Line,' with the new version of it, and the idea of doing 'Old Rugged Cross.' I mean, he's the one that made his own. He's the one that made the difference for himself.”
Craig Wayne Boyd and his  The Voice  coaches Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton
Craig Wayne Boyd and his 'The Voice' coaches Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton
NBC
Boyd also credits Gwen Stefani, The Voice coach who saved Craig from the elimination rounds, for assisting him in realizing his full potential. “Gwen was the one who really helped me realize that the style of country music that I'm doing has a broader appeal than just the demographic that I always went for,” the one-time Team Gwen member admits. “It appeals to anyone that is a hardworking folk. If you work hard, you'll get by. I share this win with Gwen. She helped to pull me out of the fire. I owe this all to them. They are my heroes.”
Craig Wayne Boyd on  The Voice  stage with iconic southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd performing  Sweet ...
Craig Wayne Boyd on 'The Voice' stage with iconic southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd performing "Sweet Home Alabama"
NBC
By making it to the finals, Boyd was given the rare opportunity to work with another one of his idols, the legendary rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. On the finale show, Craig joined the southern rockers for a rousing rendition of their classic song “Sweet Home Alabama.”
“Performing with Skynyrd was definitely a check mark on my bucket list," Craig muses. "I was asked who I would like to during the finale, and I didn‘t have to think twice. I was like, ‘I’d give anything to sing with Lynyrd Skynyrd.’ Man, these guys are so iconic. There is a little bit of flavor in what I do, musically. More than that, their music was some of the first I heard as a kid. My folks would listen to them. My dad would always play them. Growing up, I remember always seeing those Skynyrd albums around the house. I can’t think of anyone I would have rather have shared that stage with.”
Another highlight of the finals was Boyd’s performance with his coach. Any chance a Blake Shelton/Craig Wayne Boyd stadium tour is in the works? “I told Craig I'd open for him, you know, as long as he'd have me — anytime,” joked Shelton. “I would love to be able to tour with Craig. But, the people that I've worked with that have won the show, they're in such high demand, and they're pulled in so many directions, you know, that we don't get to tour as much together. Although, I've done shows with all of the winners.
"I will say when Craig and I tour together, it won't be immediate, because he's about to be on an absolute whirlwind of media and publicity and radio touring, and all that stuff," Blake added. "And, he won't have time to work in, you know, an old country singer like me. But, maybe a year from now, realistically, would love to do that, when he actually has time.”
Blake Shelton on the red carpet after Day One of  The Voice  finals
Blake Shelton on the red carpet after Day One of 'The Voice' finals
Krystina Christiansen
As Shelton predicted, Boyd’s dance card for 2015 is already filling up fast. "We are, right now, already booking shows for next year — it's happening — I didn't even wait 24 hours,” Craig explains. "So far, I’ve enjoyed everything that has happened, but by the time I was on the plane out here, last night, I was already in work mode. I was like, ‘Nose to the grindstone, let's go.’ I haven’t even had time to celebrate. I am a hard worker. Even on the show, in between shooting things, I was listening to music for the next album. I was hoping and praying that I would be able to do that. Which it looks like I'm going to be able to do that now.”
With his Blake Shelton-penned song “My Baby’s Got A Smile On Her Face” already sitting on top of the iTunes country chart, Boyd already has a hit on his hands. However, he realizes his journey has just begun.
“I have a lot more hard work ahead of me,” he says. “The Voice has taken me to place I could only dream of. But, getting to a place even somewhere close to where Blake is at is going to take a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but I am ready for the task. I want to make Blake, Gwen and all those folks in American who voted for me proud.”
The production assistant for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is calling out Craig’s name, reminding him it is time to begin his rehearsals for tonight’s show with The Roots. As he offers up his goodbyes and well wishes for the holidays, I can’t help but ask, "A year ago, if you had decided to give up on a music career, what the heck were you going to do?” Boyd stops in his tracks.
Craig Wayne Boyd performs with The Roots on  The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
Craig Wayne Boyd performs with The Roots on 'The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon'
NBC
"I don’t know, because I didn't real have a Plan B,” he confesses. “I mean, I’ve done a lot of different things during my life to support myself. Man, I can still remember the toughest job I ever had — digging lateral lines for a plumber. It’s was a job I was proud of doing, but I knew I wanted to do more. So, Plan B has never been an option for me. Even when I was contemplating quitting, I didn't know what else I would do because this is what I love. I guess it’s great that I won The Voice, otherwise the only time I’d get to sing would be while I was digging ditches. Needless to say, I’m one lucky and thankful man.”
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