Three weeks into the 21st season of The Voice, and those aware of country music history and nights on the town in Music City are rejoicing. Three-decade Nashville veteran and Memphis native Wendy Moten — and Grammy-winning western swing band The Time Jumpers lead vocalist — could win the entire season.
The African-American female vocalist’s 1994 single “Come In Out of the Rain” was a Top-10 R & B hit in the UK that garnered comparisons to the work of Whitney Houston. However, she’s had significant aspirations in country music for her entire career. For decades, she ran into roadblocks similar to those experienced by artists including Linda Martell, Frankie Staton, Rissi Palmer, Miko Marks, Mickey Guyton, and more. Moten celebrated her 57th birthday on a recent episode with a performance of Aretha Franklin’s 1986 hit “Freeway of Love” that caused her coach — and country icon — Blake Shelton to make a profound statement:
“Wendy, you are stepping into a new artist role with icon status already, It’s never happened before. You’re performing like a legend, like an icon on that stage…America in the name of God, please [vote for] Wendy.”
Last week, Shelton also made another significant statement, which was echoed by fellow voice judge and coach Ariana Grande. Shelton stated to Moten, “If your dream is to win The Voice, just keep reaching for a few more weeks here. I think this is possible.” Upon hearing her rendition of Linda Rondstadt’s “Blue Bayou,” Grande added, “I know you’ve been doing this professionally your whole life, but I can’t believe that you’re as big a secret as you are. The fact that we are here for this moment with you is an incredible privilege.”