It's been mere days since Chloe Kohanski became the winner of The Voice Season 13, and in an ironic twist, she's already lost her voice. Speaking on the phone, Kohanski apologizes that her usually delicately raspy voice is extra raspy. “I was on the way to a hoarse voice, [and] as soon as the show was over and by the time I got to the party, my voice was done,” she says. “I worked so hard all season and it’s just gone.” Her post-show plans now include taking the holiday season as a vocal resting period and spending time with her family, who were a valuable support system throughout the competition.
But while she'll get some much-needed R&R, Kohanski adds that things are already moving quickly on the musical front. “Expect something sooner rather than later,” she teases. While in past seasons Kohanski says the winner was immediately whisked away to New York after the finale via a red-eye flight to sign contracts, things are working a bit differently this year, meaning Kohanski has the holiday break to herself before signing contracts and developing a plan for more music in the new year.
While Kohanski may be officially “resting” though, don’t think she’s not working on her musical future. She says that she already has a notebook stuffed with ideas for future songs, entire records, and even notes detailing the lighting effects she'd want on her future tour. “I am an insane overthinker and over planner. My personality is very type A, it’s not so rock and roll,” she says. “I actually am a bit obsessed with planning … So, yes, there’s lots of things racing in my mind right now. I’m sure that’s why my voice is gone, because I cannot shut up about it, I’m so excited.”
So, what can we expect from an album? Kohanski says she has some surprises up her sleeve. She says she wants her album to be a full, varied, and unique experience, and likened it to what she tried to do week-to-week on The Voice, bringing a new experience to the audience with each performance. “If you listen to a lot of rock records from the '70s and '80s, the record start to finish was an experience,” she says. “As much as I love that it’s so easy to access music, I want to pay tribute to the artists and songs and records I love. I wanna create something that’s start to finish, it’s almost like you’re at a show.”
Kohanski is particularly inspired by women rock and rollers that she calls legendary: Cyndi Lauper, Bonnie Tyler, Blondie, and most importantly, Stevie Nicks. “The woman of my heart,” she says. “Just because I really love the way that not only was she a pioneer for not only women in rock music, but also she did a great job of blending rock and pop.” And it's not just about great musicianship. “All of those women were iconic not in just their voices, but the way that they carried themselves," Kohanski says. "They knew how to hold a room’s attention.”
But for all the inspiration these rock icons have given her, Kohanski is also quick to credit a mentor that she worked with directly: Blake Shelton. After nearly four years and several failed projects, auditioning for The Voice was Kohanski's last-ditch effort for a music career. While she hoped that just one chair-turn would spark her career, three judges turned around, and she originally chose Miley Cyrus as her coach. Despite being let go by Miley, Kohanski says she wouldn't change how things worked out. “It shouldn’t have gone any differently,” she says. “I needed to be let go by Miley, so that I could be stolen by Blake. It’s weird to think about how all of that just worked out.”
For Kohanski, the moment when she found out that she won is already burned into her memory. Throughout the entire season, she told herself that no matter what happened, she did not have to win; she didn't let herself even think about the possibility of winning.
“I just never let my mind go to that place. You don’t want to get too attached to an idea, because then if it doesn’t work out you have to carry that disappointment. So, I just told myself, whatever happens, I’m a winner in my own way.” When she actually won, she says she wasn’t prepared for it at all. “My whole body was numb and tingly. I was giddy, I was running my mouth, talking to everybody, hugging everybody, I was a little chatterbox," Kohanski says. "I was not prepared for that. But, I think it made it all the more special. Because, I was just so truly shocked, blown away, and so grateful.” No matter when Kohanski releases the music she has in mind, it seems she’s destined to strike a positive note.