Published on April 28th, 2015 | by admin
Craig Wayne Boyd – Q-ed Up!
An extreme talent who excelled at singing and playing the guitar at the age of four, Craig Wayne Boyd received long-due critical and mainstream recognition as the Season 7 winner of The Voice. Taking the title as a member of Team Blake (Shelton), Craig dazzled the audience with the premiere performance of “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face.” He is currently introducing the single to Country radio as the most recently signed artist to Dot Records.
His sound is rooted in the southern tradition of country music and is topped with a rebellious flair. Growing up in the Dallas, Texas suburb of Mesquite, Craig was born under the influence of gospel and country music and was later his church choir director. After a trip to Nashville brought life-changing events his way, Craig headed to Music City and signed a publishing deal with EMI shortly thereafter. After several years of prolific songwriting, Craig turned to the road and toured constantly, logging more than 1,000 shows in four years, and opening for acts like Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser and Brantley Gilbert.
When Craig Wayne Boyd left Nashville to try out for “The Voice” in Los Angeles, he was homeless. Boyd, who was coached by country star Blake Shelton and won Season 7 of the show this week, had already lost his truck and was sleeping on a friend’s couch.
Boyd had thought about giving up his dream of a career in country music — even planned on it. After a poorly attended show one night a little more than a year ago, Boyd told his drummer that out of responsibility for his young son, he might have to quit. The next day Boyd received an email asking him to try out for the popular NBC singing competition.
ONQ: What did you think when you saw that email?
CWB: It was asking if I was interested in doing it. I messaged back and said, “Is this real?” I thought it was someone trying to play to cruel joke on me.
ONQ: You’ve been in Nashville for almost 11 years now. What’s your story?
CWB: I moved to Nashville with everything I owned in the back of my pickup in 2004. I signed with EMI and wrote (songs) for three years. I had a vocal group Southland that was having fairly good success and that dissolved so I had to reinvent myself. I went out as a solo artist. In 2010, I put out a single to country radio that started climbing the charts and then the company I was about to start working with lost their funding so it dropped me all the way back at the bottom again. About a year into trying to figure it all out again, that’s when “The Voice” email came through.
ONQ: You had a lot of close calls on “The Voice” — nearly being sent home twice before you were saved first by Gwen Stefani and then by Blake Shelton. Given your struggle to launch your career, how did you deal with the turbulence on “The Voice”?
CWB: With all of the ups and downs I’ve had in my career in the last 11 years, I think that prepared me for being able to handle the ups and downs on the show. It kept me from losing my focus because in my mind, it was yet another obstacle.
ONQ: How did you choose your songs for the competition?
CWB: There were certain ideas that I had, different things I wanted to show on the show and so I chose songs like that. I truly approached the whole process as performances and not as a competition. I wanted to go out there and top my performance from the week before.
ONQ: One of your most popular performances was “The Old Rugged Cross.” Some people have said it was a risky decision to play a gospel song in prime time on network television. Why was it important to you to sing that song?
CWB: At that point in the competition, I felt really grateful for how far I came on the show. I truly felt that someone was watching out for me, and I wanted to pay homage to that. It worried me a little bit, but that’s the stuff I grew up on and that’s what I know.
ONQ: People have compared your sound to Travis Tritt. How does that feel?
CWB: I never set out to sound like Travis Tritt. He and I both have the same influences. I grew up in a Pentecostal home and in gospel music and my dad played bluegrass. That was the two main ingredients in my style of country, and Travis had the same thing. (The comparison) is pretty flattering. I think he’s a phenomenal artist and singer.
Now that you’ve won and you’re bouncing from one interview to another,
ONQ: What does that feel like to be so in demand when not so long ago you were thinking of quitting?
CWB: I haven’t really had time to think about that part. I’ve just been doing. I’ve always had a really strong work ethic, and I’m just taking on each challenge as they come at me. I am hanging on for dear life because it is a whirlwind at the moment. But it’s fun.
ONQ: What’s your message to everyone?
CWB: I feel like I’m a spokesperson for all of those guys up there who have paid their dues and slugged it out. If they truly believe in themselves, don’t quit. Find any avenue you can; it will pay off.