Fort Wayne native Christiana Danielle continues to shine on “The Voice”

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Fort Wayne native Christiana Danielle made it to the live playoffs. Voters had actually decided that Britton Buchanan should advance. However, coach Alicia Keys had the final say. The voting occurred after Christiana performed “Hey Ya.” This week, the singer performed a version of Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” and won the admiration of Keys. Christiana Danielle advanced to show’s Top 12. As the singer advances through the show’s levels, she has shown the ability to sing different genres of music with her own style. Before Christiana makes it to the Top 10 or Final 3, a recap of some of her best or most surprising performances is in order.

Christiana Danielle and the Indiana tradition on “The Voice”

Perhaps with a whopping three singers from the Hoosier state that have graced the stage on performance show it is too soon to state that there is a “Indiana tradition” on “The Voice.” Maybe, but because Christiana’s ascent follows so soon on the heels of the other Fort Wayne resident, Addison Agen’s success on the show, it is difficult not to think that there is a reason singers from The Summit City are doing well on “The Voice.” There is no hypothesis here about why the singers are performing at the level that they are. But since it is rare that such representation occurs, it is worth noting every time it happens, or at least until we get used to it.

Not all Indiana singers on “The Voice” have been from Fort Wayne. Jordan Kirkdorffer was the singer from New Paris, Indiana who moved to Nashville and became an accountant in an act of practicality. Unfortunately, Kirkdorffer has been eliminated. The hope is that he has not given up on his musical dreams.

So Christiana Danielle remains. Her inclusion on the show happens when “The Voice” is at its most diverse in terms of style and demographics represented by singers. Still, Christiana stands out. Her “save” by coach Alicia Keys is indicative of the singer’s talent. Interested parties can watch YouTube videos of Christiana’s performances. In the comments, more than one devoted Christiana fan threatens to stop watching the show or to destroy all of his or her Alicia Keys albums if Christiana doesn’t go as far as they think she should go. That is a great deal of emotional output for a virtual stranger. Clearly Christiana is winning over fans with her ability to make versions of popular songs that resonate with people.

“Hotline Bling” by Christiana on “The Voice”

For some people (guilty parties need not raise their hands) the only versions of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” that they’ve heard all the way through have been cover versions. Some audiences will remember when then-candidate Donald Trump performed the song as part of a skit on “Saturday Night Live.”

A different, and arguably better version was performed by Christiana Danielle during her blind audition for “The Voice.” With Christiana singing “Hotline Bling” the song took on a wider relevance and greater emotional depth.

For many audiences it was the first time they had heard all of the words. Intentional or not, Christiana put a jazzy, soulful twist on the song. She imbues the work with vocalese and her high notes and scat skills won over three of the four judges. Blake Shelton didn’t turn for her, but as history has pointed out, sometimes a judge doesn’t turn because he or she figures another judge will be the better coach. Watching the judges’ incredulous faces match those of people at home was half the fun of hearing the performance.

“Take Me to Church” as performed by Christiana Danielle on “The Voice”

When Christiana performed her version of Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” most of the reaction from fans and critics online were mostly positive. The detractors point their difficulty with the singer’s vocal elements. Arguably, some people are going to dislike any version of songs that aren’t by the original artist. Aside from that, Christiana provided a surprisingly rocking performance. Regardless of what audiences might have thought of the original and its potentially offensive content, to hear a singer like Christiana with a Gospel music background, belt the song out was shocking. The soundscape maintained its rocking edge. The singer’s voice both lacerated and soared above the instrumentation.

It would surprise many if Christiana Danielle did not enjoy a long run on “The Voice.”

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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