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EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) recipient John Legend officially attached himself to “The Voice” coaching panel during its 16th installment, after previously giving advice as a mentor. Magic struck on his first at-bat in 2019 when he proved victorious as a coach with contemporary artist Maelyn Jarmon (Season 16), but he’s never won since. Now that the Season 24 blind auditions, battles and knockouts have concluded, can John prevail yet again on NBC’s reality TV show?
Tour our gallery above (or click here for direct access) for a closer look at Team John Legend on “The Voice” Season 24, including photos, bios and artist rankings. Also see our features for Team Niall Horan, Team Gwen Stefani and Team Reba McEntire.
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1. Mac Royals (4-chair-turn) — TOP 12
Hometown: Wrightsville, AR
Mac grew up without his father, who was incarcerated for much of Mac’s childhood, but found solace in the strong female figures in his life. He first picked up a violin in elementary school and later pursued a music business degree at Arkansas Baptist College. After his father’s release from prison, he opened an R&B nightclub and it was at his father’s club where Mac began honing his live performance skills. In 2016, Mac moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams. One day when singing at the Santa Monica pier, his friend captured Mac’s performance and posted it to Facebook. The video went viral and led to collaborations with P. Diddy, Andre Harrell and Stevie Wonder. In 2019, Mac’s beloved grandmother passed away, and a year, later he lost his father. These events caused Mac to pause his music career and move back to Arkansas. However, one night, he had a powerful dream where his father appeared to him, reminding him of their warrior bloodline. This experience sparked a new determination within Mac to fight for his dreams.
2. Lila Forde (4-chair turn) — TOP 12
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Lila’s musical path was shaped by her mother, a gifted concert pianist renowned for her mastery of classical music and crystal bowls. Raised in a spiritual family in Seattle, her parents have spent the last 20 years as meditation teachers and the last five as proud owners of a meditation camp resort nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. Lila’s parents curate immersive experiences for their guests, organizing sound baths and facilitating meditation retreats. Lila studied jazz voice at the USC Thornton School of Music where she fell in love with songwriting. Last fall, Lila embarked on her first tour, showcasing her original music all over Europe as the opening act for L.A. singer-songwriter Rachel Mazer. Today, Lila performs at swanky hotels, farmers markets and private events. She’s currently in the process of recording her debut album, which she was able to make thanks to the generously funded Kickstarter campaign that raised $16,000.
3. Azan (2-chair turn) — TOP 12
Hometown: Austin, TX
Azán recently married her high school sweetheart and biggest cheerleader, Isaiah, and growing up with a single mom has shaped Azán into becoming a strong independent woman. All through high school Azán performed as a high-stepper dancer, competing in dance and singing competitions. After graduating from the University of North Texas, she opened up with a dance group for the boy band B2K on their Millennium Tour when they came to Dallas. Now, Azán is in two cover bands that perform at weddings, galas, and corporate events. When she’s not performing, Azán records vocals for high-level competition cheer music for colleges while doing whatever she can to support her music career.
Ephraim Owens (4-chair turn) — ELIMINATED IN BATTLES
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
Ephraim was surrounded by music growing up. One of eight siblings, his grandma sang background vocals for Marvin Gaye and Al Green, and his dad was a minister of music. Ephraim travels everyday to go to his wife’s family’s eight-acre property. During the day, Ephraim operates a dangerous and rare Hess machine called an RH1000, which makes cast stone. Ephraim’s favorite job, however, is waking up at 5:30 a.m. to make his kids breakfast or get donuts with them. Ephraim’s determination and grit to now pursue music has been shaped by his six-year run as an MMA fighter. He would often train six hours a day before a fight. He enjoys fighting, but knows it’s not who he is, so decided to take a step back to prioritize music.
Willie Gomez (4-chair turn) — ELIMINATED IN BATTLES
Hometown: Miami, FL
Willie is deeply devoted to his loving family and located from the Dominican Republic to Miami with his family when he was 11. After his father suffered a stroke, Willie watched his mother care for his father until he ultimately passed away when Willie was just 19. Losing his father and watching his mother’s unconditional love in action shaped how Willie walks in the world. Willie has been a professional dancer for the last 15 years and has spent the better part of 10 years on tour with Britney Spears, while also sharing the stage with stars such as Lana Del Rey, Kylie Minogue, Kesha, Katy Perry, and dancing in the Super Bowl LIV halftime show with Jennifer Lopez. Willie has now established himself as a full-time musician with his first single “Mojados,” scoring more than 5.5 million views on YouTube. In 2022, Willie released his first full album, “Del Cibao,” which already has over 2.5 million streams and growing.
Talakai (2-chair turn) — ELIMINATED IN BATTLES
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Talakai grew up with his grandparents. After his grandpa passed away when he was 10, Talakai was repeatedly abused, ran away and found a shelter in Sacramento with the help of other individuals who were homeless. The shelter contacted child protective services, which began a long journey into foster care. After many years of potential forever homes, Talakai’s friend’s mom eventually adopted him. Around the same time, Talakai navigated his sexuality and dated a woman. While together, they had a son, De’Amani, but broke up after Talakai realized he was truly gay. He later met his husband, Alejandro, who also has kids from a previous marriage to a woman. They got married and blended their families. Focused on gratitude and healing, Talakai now works as a server by day and focuses on singing and songwriting at night. Having struggled with confidence for many years, Talakai has always dreamt of performing on a big stage and is honored to be a part of “The Voice.”
JaRae Womack (4-chair turn) — ELIMINATED IN BATTLES
Hometown: Miami, FL
JaRae comes from a rich legacy of notable musicians. Her paternal grandfather, Cecil Womack, wrote Teddy Pendergrass’ hit “Love T.K.O” and is half of the husband-wife duo of Womack & Womack. The other half of the duo, his wife Linda Womack, is the daughter of R&B vocalist and civil rights activist Sam Cooke. JaRae was absent from her father, Cecil’s son, from a young age and had no contact with her Womack/Cooke family who had moved overseas. JaRae finally found them in 2010 when Cecil arrived back in the States. Cecil and JaRae had an immediate bond. After sharing with him how much she loved music, Cecil begged JaRae to pursue it, especially Latin music. In 2013, JaRae was signed to indie label SoBe Entertainment and performed throughout Florida. In 2016, she put her music career on hold to focus on being a mom, but music has always been in the back of her mind and now is ready to make it a priority.
Caleb Sasser (4-chair turn) — ELIMINATED IN KNOCKOUTS
Hometown: Goldsboro, NC
Caleb grew up listening to gospel greats and his entire family all performed in the church choir. In his hometown, country living, tobacco and corn fields are prevalent and have become a part of Caleb’s upbringing. After high school, Caleb earned a BS in music business from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. While there, he met his girlfriend, DeAndrea, who is an opera singer. In 2021, he and DeAndrea decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue music. Soon after arriving, he has performed in Kanye West’s Sunday Service at the Colosseum and with Alicia Keys’ choir at the Greek Theater and Sofar Sounds. Now, he teaches voice and keyboard at Isana Academies. Caleb loves soul food and cooking and, as he was growing up, he would say he wanted to be a “singing chef.”
Deejay Young (3-chair turn) — ELIMINATED IN KNOCKOUTS
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Growing up, Deejay’s mom was a choir director and encouraged him to sing. By age 5, he was cast in a gospel play that toured in the summers through Florida, Georgia and Alabama. As an adult, with the wish of his grandmother, Deejay decided to drop out of college to pursue music. “Hamilton” came to Orlando for a casting call and since then, he’s been touring with the company as a principal standby for five out of the seven male roles. As a standby, Deejay arrives at the theater warmed up and ready for every performance, prepared to step in at any moment for a lead cast member. Deejay’s grandma always believed in him wholeheartedly, but she passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. She never got to see him perform in “Hamilton,” but Deejay feels she is still here in spirit, pushing him forward.
Brandon Montel (4-chair turn) — ELIMINATED IN KNOCKOUTS
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Brandon received a microphone as a birthday gift when he was 5, and that’s when his love for music and R&B began. He relocated to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams, which eventually led him to tour and perform background vocals for Ama Lou, Snoh Aalegra and Kanye West. Brandon even had the opportunity to sing the national anthem at Staples Center for the L.A. Clippers. While in LA, Brandon became deeply involved in the ballroom scene, which became a welcoming space for him to empower himself and express his creativity. Brandon moved back to Memphis after his beloved grandfather passed away. His grandfather worked as a gospel producer and manager for various quartet groups in Memphis and had a significant influence on Brandon’s passion for music.
Kristen Brown (2-chair turn) — ELIMINATED IN PLAYOFFS
Hometown: Roseville, CA
Kristen has known she wanted to pursue music since a young age. When she was 13, she formed a band with friends from her vocal studio and the trio hit the road. They went on to release original music and open for country artists such as Toby Keith, Morgan Wallen and Rascal Flatts. In 2021, Kristen began her solo music journey writing and producing her first solo song, “Christmas Spirit,” in memory of her late aunt. The music video for the song has amassed nearly 94,000 views on YouTube. Over the last couple years, Kristen has been writing her own music, producing the tracks, marketing, directing and editing her own videos and booking her own gigs. Kristen gets her determined spirit from her parents, who have always told her if you work hard enough, you can accomplish any dream.
Kaylee Shimizu (4-chair turn) — ELIMINATED IN PLAYOFFS
Hometown: Ewabeach, HI
Living on the beautiful island of Oahu, Kaylee was born and raised in Ewabeach. The oldest of four, Kaylee’s younger sisters look up to her for her musical and athletic abilities. Kaylee wrestled for her varsity team this past year and won several matches, including a tournament. Kaylee also has a softer side, and that’s where she loves to incorporate music. She’s performed for charity events, competitions and all-over social media. Known for her whistle notes, one of Kaylee’s Instagram videos went viral of her singing a Mariah Carey song. As a recent high school grad, Kaylee wants to pursue music full-time and share her talent with the world. Motivated by not only her parents and siblings, Kaylee =had a lot of support from her great-grandfather before he passed away. She knows he’s looking down on her and hopes to make him proud.
Taylor Deneen (2-chair turn) — ELIMINATED IN PLAYOFFS
Hometown: Midwest City, OK
Taylor was a musician from the start, singing in choir and learning to play the clarinet and saxophone by high school. With her family’s encouragement, she began taking vocal lessons and later taught herself piano. She was awarded a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music and graduated in 2021. While living in Boston, Taylor worked as a traveling wedding singer and music analyst to get her feet wet in the industry. She’s now based out of Oklahoma City, working in her home studio full-time as a songwriter making tailored compositions for people with Songfinch, performing as a session singer for artists and producers across the country, and releasing her own music. Taylor also gigs frequently at personal shows, festivals, parties and more. Her dreams of moving to Los Angeles to continue her music journey will soon become a reality.
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