The lows of a couple of defeats in battle and knockout rounds on Season 7 of NBC’s “The Voice” followed by the ups of being saved by the viewing public’s votes personify much of Craig Wayne Boyd’s adult life. Winning the show’s competition in December was a far cry from his life of basically being homeless, crashing on a couch at a friend’s house before he decided to audition for the show.
On an icy February day that made for the fifth day since last season’s finale that he actually had time to relax, Boyd shared the story of his journey through a telephone interview from his place in Nashville.
“I was down on my luck. I had lost my place to live, and I was on a sofa. I’ve graduated from a sofa to a bedroom,” said Boyd, who had moved from Mesquite, Texas to Nashville with everything he owned in the back of a Chevy truck in 2004 to chase the dream. “My venture on the show pretty much mimicked my life.”
Back in Texas, Boyd was a weekend warrior playing with rock bands and serving as music director at his church. He married young and after it didn’t work out and nothing was working out in Texas, he decided to head east for the Music City at age 24.
He found work playing bass and serving as a backup singer and toured with acts like Jamey Johnson and Brantley Gilbert. He also got a job as a staff writer for EMI Publishing. His own band, Southland, was on the verge of breaking through before the band fell apart.
His drive of being a performer kept him going through the ups and downs early on in the industry, even though he entertained thoughts of staying in the music industry in some regard or being a truck driver like his father.
“When I first came to visit [Nashville], I talked to David Lee, a great songwriter from Texas, and he told me that if I didn’t plan on staying out here 10 years, it won’t work out. It was almost 10 years on the dot when ‘The Voice’ called me back. Tenacity and perseverance are definitely what it takes to make it.”
Last September when Boyd made his debut on the show, his rendition of “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’” by Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart constituted chair turns by judges Pharrell Williams and Blake Shelton before Boyd made his decision to go ‘Team Blake.’
Rather than ponder how his life would’ve been different had he gone ‘Team Pharrell,’ Boyd said he’s never looked back and added that he made a great connection with Williams, and the two plan to work together in the future.
Through his face time on the show, Boyd performed an array of southern rock ditties and traditional country tunes, which he says are in his blood.
“They’re definitely close to my heart. I chose the songs that if they were available, I’d want them on my own personal album,” said Boyd, who is working on his debut album in the midst of a busy year.
He has already played the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and performed at the Alpine Ski World Championship in Vail, Colorado.
His single, “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face,” debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country 100 chart. The only other time that feat happened was when Garth Brooks made such a strong debut with 1997’s “More Than a Memory.”
He is the sixth country artist ever to have a residency in Las Vegas, thanks to a run in February and March opening for the Rascal Flatts as part of their Riot Tour. While in Vegas, he also performed at the Kobalt 400.
“I think about what a blessing it is to be able to do what I love and do it for a living. It’s all just amazing,” Boyd said of how his life has changed in the past several years.
As far as his slot headlining the Amory Railroad Festival’s opening night Thursday, he wants to take listeners on a musical journey.
“I want to take them away from any personal problems they may have for that 90 minutes or so and hopefully they’ll leave happy.”
To keep track of Boyd, check out his website, www.craigwayneboyd.com.