Alabama singer Kirk Jay and his The Voice coach Blake Shelton sure are a good match. Blake has proven over the years that he can work outside his lane, recently guiding rocker Chloe Kohanski to The Voice crown. But you can tell Blake loves most to dig in deep with his real love, which is heartfelt country music. And when you’re talking about heartfelt, you can’t beat Kirk Jay. Because Kirk Jay somehow puts more heartbreak in the first line of most of his performances than other performers can stuff into a whole concert. Some guys have it that way. Kirk Jay is one of them, and Blake Shelton is equal parts astonished and delighted by him.
There are a lot of young singers in this year’s Voice crop, and at 22 Kirk is hardly an old man. But he is the definition of an old soul. With most Voice performers, the hardscrabble background or family tragedy that fuels their passion fades to the background once the introductory package is finished and the performances start. Not so with Kirk Jay.
Kirk seems to carry his difficult upbringing around in his throat, so that no note can escape him unflavored by the fact that he “grew up in Alabama extremely poor and remembers times when there was no electricity, water or even food.” Sure, he’s technically 22 years old, but Kirk Jay sounds like he’s been through more than most people. And Kirk’s is a sorrowful flavor that Blake Shelton can’t quit. If authenticity is the greatest quality a performer can offer, Kirk Jay looks like a winner.