Fans of the reality television singing competition The Voice know that each season is an opportunity to discover the next great musical sensation. The show has launched the careers of many artists, and now, it continues with Season 23. One of the standout acts already is 15-year-old Ryley Tate Wilson, who performed a rendition of Robyn's "Dancing on My Own" at the blind auditions.
Who is Ryley Tate Wilson? In an exclusive interview with Distractify, Ryley Tate opened up about his musical journey on The Voice, and why he chose Niall Horan to be his coach.
Who is Ryley Tate Wilson?
It might surprise some viewers to know that The Voice has a minimum age limit of 13 years old, meaning anyone 13 and older is welcome to audition. The youngest winner of The Voice so far has been 16-year-old Danielle Bradbery, but that could change with Season 23 contestant Ryley Tate.
The teen is a native of Montgomery, Ala., and is already a musician in his own right. Ryley recently released his first song on Spotify, called "Anna Magdalena."
"I've always loved music growing up my whole life," Ryley Tate told us. "And I think it was just my family and friends validating me growing up from like, my preteen years into my teenage years that really made me believe that I have something and that I could make a career out of music."
On the show, Ryley Tate admitted to the judges after he finished performing that he was "pretty nervous," but the judges noted he didn't look nervous at all. When they asked him about which artists influence his music, Ryley Tate told them, "I really love Steve Lacy and Ritt Momney. I love Frank Ocean, so a lot of R&B influences."
Who is Ryley Tate Wilson's coach?
Ryley Tate — who was lucky enough to have all four chairs turn for him — told us that he was "absolutely elated" and "pinching" himself. However, his popularity made it difficult to choose which coach he wanted to work with.
Ultimately, Ryley Tate picked Niall to be his coach. However, Niall was not his initial first choice.
"I had planned before I got to the actual day of the blind audition to [pick Kelly Clarkson]," he told us. "She was just a winning coach in my mind, and I knew she had a great strategy. And my mom's name is Kelly, and I thought it would be cool to choose Kelly as my coach."
The teen decided to pick Niall as his coach because he felt the former One Direction singer — who got his start on the reality singing competition The X Factor — was more relatable.
"I thought he would really relate to me and really be able to have some inside information about going through a TV show and have some great little tips that other coaches might not have because he had gone through the same thing that I'm going through," he said.
Though Ryley Tate could not spill further details on his journey in the NBC competition, the singer told us that Niall has been a "great" coach and mentor.
"He's super down to earth and humble," he told us. "And that's actually, the biggest piece of advice he's given me is that I need to stay humble [...] and to make sure that you don't get a big head and think that you're better than these musicians that want to work to work with you."
While Ryley Tate could not reveal if he will make it to the live rounds of the show, he did tell us about his hopes for after The Voice: He wants to have a "solo career" in music and would also really "love to do musical theater."
New episodes of The Voice air Mondays at 8 p.m. EST and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.