Rockdale native and budding country singer Jordan Rager passed his first hurdle to national stardom when he was chosen in the first round of NBC’s “The Voice” to work with country music star Blake Shelton.
“The Voice,” now in its second season, is a competitive sing-off television show that has singers audition for Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton, and Adam Levine, who pick contestants based solely on their voice.
Rager, a Loganville High School senior who was born at Rockdale Medical Center and lived in Rockdale until the age of 10, said the experience of going on the show “was incredible.”
“I got to meet a whole lot of cool people from all over the country. I got to sing in front of four of biggest names in music,” he enthused.
He went through an audition for producers in Atlanta and then for executive producers in California before making it to the taping of the blind auditions, which were recorded last October. The episode with his audition was shown last Monday, Feb. 20, and Rager can finally begin talking a bit about the experience.
“That day waiting was probably the longest day of my life,” he said. “It felt like every minute lasted an hour.”
But, when he stepped on the stage - which is smaller than it looks on television, he said — it was all worth it.
“All the nerves that had built up just rushed away. It was like another show in Georgia. I felt right at home.”
He initially was looking the opposite direction when Shelton’s chair turned around, indicating the coach had picked him to work on his team.
“I’m extremely excited to work with him. You’re talking about one of the biggest artists in country music today. I’m so excited to work with him and see what he can do to help me better myself as an artist,” Rager said.
His father Danny Rager, a pastor at the Woodland Hills Assembly of God in Loganville, said of his son, “I believe he has the 'it' factor that separates him from just being a good singer to potentially being a star.”
Though mom Connie normally travels with Jordan and serves as his manager, it was his father who accompanied him to the nerve-wracking blind auditions in California. “It’s like sitting in the passenger seat of the car when your kid is driving,” said Danny. “For me it was almost harder to go through it that way.”
Rager began singing at an early age. He remembers the moment he heard an Alan Jackson song, “Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” when he was 4-years-old sitting in his grandparent's car that sealed his love of music and performing.
“I loved Alan Jackson since then. He is my biggest influence and my favorite singer of all time.”
He began performing on stage at 14-years-old at fairs and festivals. The lanky teenager eventually picked up a guitar, expanded his gigs to restaurants, bars and clubs, and even began writing his own songs.
Rager said he couldn't pick a favorite song of his. "They all mean something to me in a different way. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t write about stuff that's true to you, people are going to call you out on it," he said.
The most recent song he wrote was called "What Happened to My Small Town?"
He had been away from home recording and performing. "When I got back, the old corner store had been bought out by some big city gas company. They started expanding highways, building more apartments. When I came to Loganville, it was a small one-horse town. Now it’s growing a little bit."
He said he couldn't imagine doing anything else after he graduates high school. “This is definitely what I want to do with my life. I’m going to pursue it full force," Rager said.
The blind auditions last for one more episode and then the show moves on to the battle rounds where two members from each team are paired against each other to reduce the teams from 12 people to six.
“The Voice” airs on NBC, Mondays at 8 p.m.