Singer Ross Clayton shares his love for the Sooner State.
Country singer-songwriter Ross Clayton described his audition on “The Voice” as an out-of-body experience. On season 23 of NBC’s singing competition, he performed a passionate cover of Keith Urban’s “Blue Ain’t Your Color” and described the moment as fleeting. “You do so much to get ready, and then all you get is 90 seconds,” he said. “You hope that you do well enough that they will turn their chairs. You are battling those expectations when you get up on that stage.”
He might have blacked out a little due to nerves, but all four judges — Kelly Clarkson, Chance the Rapper, Niall Horan and fellow Oklahoman Blake Shelton — were impressed. Clayton achieved a rare four-chair turn, which meant every judge was eager to coach him. Although Shelton made an impassioned case that evening, Clayton chose Horan as his coach.
“My interactions with Niall Horan have been so phenomenal,” Clayton said. “He is so down-to-earth and such a talented songwriter and guitar player. When you meet him, you are meeting a great friend. I am thrilled to show everyone what an influence he’s had on me.”
A 33-year-old McLoud resident, Clayton moved from Illinois to Oklahoma in 2013 to be with his wife and start a family. “Oklahoma is home; that’s how I see it,” he said. “All three of my kids have been born here. I’ve lived here for almost 10 years, and I am so proud to represent this state.”
Before he took the national stage, he began performing at his high school auditorium when a friend convinced him to try out for a production of Little Shop of Horrors. “They gave me a lead role!” he said. “I don’t know that I deserved it, but I loved it. That’s when I caught the bug for performing. I really didn’t have any confidence in myself back then, but they did. And that led to all of this.”
Clayton spoke on “The Voice” about how hard it was to be away from his family while he was on the show. When he returned home, he had a watch party with his kids. They were surprised and delighted to see themselves on television. Clayton admits to singing every day to his kids, often making up silly songs that they can sing together. “Now they’re kind of over dad hogging the spotlight,” he said with a laugh. “The final product was really whole- some. Both of my daughters now want to be singers, and the fact that they are proud of me means the world to me.”
From here, he hopes to capitalize on the momentum from the show and continue building a singing career. “I appreciate the social media following and the support that I’m getting from Oklahoma and Illinois,” he said. “Since Niall Horan is Irish, I’ve received so much support from Ireland.”
His reach might already be going global, but Clayton continues to call Oklahoma home.
You can watch Ross Clayton on “The Voice” Mondays at 7 p.m. on NBC.