The University of Southern Mississippi is home to yet another student who has been nationally recognized for her talent. Briar Jonee Blakley ended her career on season eight of “The Voice” this week; but Blakley has high hopes for what is to come next in her music career.
Blakley first appeared on “The Voice” during her blind audition.
“Getting to the blind auditions was a very difficult process there were so many auditions leading up to that point only to have a 50/50 chance to actually audition,” she said. “I went on day four and there were only a few spots left after I went.”
According to Billboard’s website, Blakley had both Blake Shelton and Pharrell wanting her to be on their team.
The Shuqualak, Mississippi, native chose to be a member of Pharrell’s team.
“I chose Pharrell because I admired him as a producer,” Blakley said. “It is my dream to produce for a major artist and I feel like he has done a phenomenal job in that field.”
Monday, she competed against Caitlin Caporale on the third night of “The Voice” 2015 battle round. The two were challenged to both sing Alicia Keys’ hit “Fallin.” After the battle, Pharrell chose Caporale to continue on the show.
Though Blakley did not win “The Voice,” she said the experience has changed her life.
“I’ve gained exposure on a national scale, which is the ultimate goal,” she said. “And I feel that I can use this experience to further my personal career.”
Her most memorable experience throughout her time on “The Voice” was being able to perform in front of a large crowd. This experience helped her to find her own comfort zone.
“I’ve learned so much from the show as far as performance is concerned,” Blakley said. “I really appreciate the casting team for seeing something special in me.”
Currently, Blakley is working with long-time friend Jawan Hopson on a EP release.
Hopson is a communications studies major with a minor in arts and entertainment management at Pace University. The two became friends when they both attended the Mississippi School of the Arts. Hopson and Blakley were both vocal majors and eventually graduated together.
“I was so happy about her being on the show because the world was finally going to see the talent I’ve been mesmerized by since we first met,” Hopson said. “Her success inspired me to be even more fearless in chasing my own dreams.”
On the status of her EP release, Hopson was quite secretive.
“I’m not really at liberty to discuss all those details,” he said. “But definitely stay tuned.”
As of right now, Blakley said she has taken time away from school. But she does plan to return to Southern Miss one day to pursue a music degree.
When asked to give advice to other students wishing to pursue music, Blakley gave advice well beyond her years.
“The advice I would give to anyone who wants to pursue something such as “The Voice” is to stay true to the type of music that you want to pursue,” she said.
“Also make sure that you are willing to endure hardships and stick in there. Make sure that you gain the most out of the experience, have confidence and be the best you possible.”