Within the local scene, Florissant resident Kennedy Holmes has performed at various venues, including the Muny and Busch Stadium. But the 13-year-old recently caught the attention of people across the country during her blind audition on NBC’s The Voice singing competition.
Holmes received a standing ovation and approval from the show’s four judges: Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and Holmes’ idol, Jennifer Hudson. Her audition clip went viral, with nearly 5 million views on YouTube.
“[Performing on The Voice] is absolutely the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” Holmes told host Don Marsh on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air.
Holmes’ mature voice at her young age sets her apart from other contestants. She showcased her wide vocal range by singing to Adele’s “Turning Tables” during the audition.
“I’m still very thankful … that all the coaches gave me lovely compliments and them telling me that I’m extremely good,” Holmes said. “[Shelton] also saying that I could win, for someone to say that during your blind audition [when] it’s just the beginning, that’s crazy and that’s a confidence boost.”
After her performance, Holmes expressed that it was her dream to sing with Hudson, to which Hudson responded, “I’m ready.”
“I know I was just trying not to cry all over again, because singing and crying don’t go well together,” Holmes said, recalling their impromptu duet to Hudson’s “I Am Changing.” “I was extremely honored … it was surreal.”
Not her first big performance
Holmes credits her high confidence and lack of stage fright to her early involvement in Muny shows, recalling portraying Little Inez in her first show, “Hairspray.” She’s also performed twice in front of 40,000 people attending a St. Louis Cardinals game.
When Marsh asked what it felt like to perform the national anthem in front of such a large crowd, Holmes said, “It’s lovely. I’ve actually been singing it since I was in fifth or sixth grade, so it’s like second nature to me at this point, but when I was singing it [at the games], I loved it.”
Balancing school with competing
Holmes attends John Burroughs Middle School and said her teachers and classmates have been supportive during her absence by keeping her updated with the classwork she misses when she’s gone.
“I feel like I haven’t missed school, but I have because [the students and teachers] do help me and they’re like, ‘Here’s what we did in class,’ so I feel like I’m still where everyone else is at,” she added.
‘I want to do everything’
Holmes said while she plans on singing for the rest of her life, she wants “to do TV and film – I want to do everything,” in the future.
But for now, admirers of Holmes can watch her perform on the televised singing competition Monday and Tuesday nights at 8 p.m.
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex Heuer, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.