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Hudson Valley Musician Ian Flanigan Making Return Appearance On NBC's The Voice

Ian Flannigan receiving feedback from judges after his first appearance on NBC's The Voice
Ian Flannigan receiving feedback from judges after his first appearance on NBC's The Voice Photo Credit: Provided

Hudson Valley musician Ian Flanigan is slated for another appearance on NBC's The Voice after he wowed the program's judges with his rumbling baritone and soulful delivery of the Zac Brown Band's "Colder Weather."

Flanigan, an Ulster County resident who lives in Saugerties, has earned local notoriety for his rambling string picking and lyrics written to strike a universal emotional chord, will appear in a "Battle Round" of the program at 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16 after his break out performance on Oct. 16. 

"[Are you] gargling glass?" asked judge Blake Shelton, who chose Flannigan for his team on the show. "Where's your beard down to here?" he gestured. "Where's your hat? Your giant beer gut? All the things that go along with that voice that you have?"

In this round, the Saugerties musician will pair up with another show contestant to sing a duet; after performing a cover and doing so on camera, this just another novel performing experience Flanigan has experienced while on the show. 

"A duet, especially in a live setting, is a very new thing for me," said Flannigan in an exclusive interview with The Daily Voice. "This is going to be my first duet in a live setting like this, which is exciting, I'm looking forward to it."

Per the show's format, only one of the two or three performers who sing together in a battle round can advance into the next round. In rare cases, the coach can choose not to allow either contestant to advance, and in some seasons of the show, other coaches are allowed to steal contestants that have been kicked off the show by their respective coach. 

Flanigan, his fiancee Ayla and his daughter Kamea had been living in a motor home while touring when COVID-19 struck the music industry with full force. A talent scout from the show, Flannigan said, approached him while he was performing his last scheduled show in Nashville. 

"I feel really lucky to have one of the only gigs going on in America," he said. "We were sitting in a trailer park with eighty bucks at the time and this kind of saved us. I'm incredibly grateful for this experience. with all my touring friends, I know what's going on right now. A lot of people might not come back from this, and this is a really big hit to the entire planet and the arts industry in general."

Before setting off on tour, Flanigan released his new EP, Give Me Color, on Sept. 6 of 2019. He previewed a song from the album, the epynonymous Give Me Color, on NPR's Tiny Desk in April of that year. 

"It's a really surreal experience because you see things on tv," said Flanigan of his experience on The Voice thus far."It's always different on the other side. it was a real humbling moment for sure. Awesome band, big sound in there, it's just a really great experience. I think what surprised me was how big of a production it really is. To see all the working pieces and how many people are involved, it's a lot. It's huge productions. That's what surprised me. Also, how rigorous the scheduling is, the coordination that goes into these things is amazing."

After this season of The Voice, regardless of whether he makes it through tonight's round, Flanigan intends to continue touring as the pandemic allows, and is currently working on a new 30-song collection. Ultimately, he said, he intends to return to his hometown of Saugerties. 

"Saugerties is my hometown and I plan on living here pretty much on and off for the rest of my days," he said. "I hope to begin building a studio out here in the next year or so with a friend of mine, it's home. It's a great spot, I feel really grateful and lucky to come from saugerties. we plan on coming back, we'll be back in the spring. We'll be out on the road for a few more years, but this will always be home base."

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