On her way to becoming the youngest finalist in the history of “The Voice” in May, Aliyah Moulden sang an emotional version of Labrinth’s “Jealous” dedicated to her father, who died of cancer when she was a baby. The La Habra High student also bonded with her celebrity coach, Blake Shelton. The 16-year-old offers an inside view of the show in time for the new season, premiering this month.
It’s a really weird thing how fast it all happened, and it does feel like a dream—that it wasn’t real life. I have to go back to watch the YouTube videos to prove that this really did happen and I wasn’t imagining it. It happened in the blink of an eye. One day I was going to high school, and the next day I was singing in front of 7 million people.
I posted a YouTube cover and “The Voice” contacted my mom and asked me to audition. I told my mom, “It’s not real; it’s a joke.” I thought my mom was messing with me. She was like, “Oh, no, no, it’s real.”
I didn’t know what to expect, but Blake turned around and then Alicia (Keys) and then Gwen (Stefani). And I just kept gravitating to what Blake was saying because he seemed very invested already, which was nice for me because I was really nervous.
We really did get along from the beginning. I just got lucky that I got a coach I could joke around with. He cracked jokes right and left. Like I’d give him a high-five and he’d pretend like it hurt him and he’d run away.
This happened to me almost every week: After they called my name, even if I didn’t cry onstage, which did happen a couple of times, I would cry as soon as I walked off. They always had my mom there ready. I was crying tears of joy, but everybody thought I was having a panic attack.
I remember during knockouts I was really nervous because I was singing a country song, and I had never sung a country song in public. (Blake) told me something that really resonated with me. He said, “When you get nervous,
it’s because you care.” It helped me realize I was nervous because I wanted it so much.