JUDAH Kelly’s enduring popularity on The Voice in 2017 has finally been matched with his first No.1 on the charts.
The 20-year-old winner of The Voice Australia was cheated out of a chart-topping debut on iTunes for his single Count on Me by superstar guest Niall Horan.
The former One Direction member maintained his claim on the summit with his second solo offering Slow Hands over the weekend after deposing our own Jessica Mauboy on Friday morning.
But fans rallied behind Kelly this morning, resulting in Count on Me swapping places with Slow Hands.
Kelly’s epic version of Leonard Cohen’s iconic Hallelujah has also maintained its presence in the Top 5.
This year’s Voice runner-up Hoseah Partsch is also enjoying a grand final boost for his debut single Paper Planes which rose to No.3.
Kelly was confident he would reach the top of the iTines charts despite doubting his prospects of winning The Voice almost all the way through the competition.
“A No.1 debut would have been nice; we’ll keep working on it though,” he said just minutes before the song hit the top.
Despite fearing he would never make it past the blind auditions, the purity of Kelly’s voice kept him in the competition.
He tackled one tough song after another and struck a resounding chord with the Voice audience, which saw all of the songs he performed during the live shows and finals, including Prince’s Purple Rain and Climb Every Mountain, reach the top 50.
Measuring by iTunes downloads, Kelly has been the most successful artist in competition since inaugural winner Karise Eden.
Kelly will spend the week finishing off songs for his debut album which is expected to be released on July 28.
He said he hadn’t met with his new bosses at Universal Music who have the option to release The Voice winner and any other artists they believe have hit potential.
The young artist said he believed the record label had an 18-month plan to launch his career.
That plan occasionally involves The Voice finalists disappearing from public view for a year as the label’s talent scouts re-position the singers as recording artists rather than competition winners.
That strategy has worked for Celia Pavey, now reinvented as Vera Blue, and Lakyn Heperi, who is only now releasing his original music as Lakyn.
“I meet with them for the first time on Tuesday but I have been told they have a 18-month plan. What I want out of that plan is still something I need to think about seriously,” Kelly said.
“I’m quite new to the label deal but there are limitless possibilities to create great music people can feel, not just noise.”
Universal’s instincts for Kelly’s voice have proven correct thus far with their choice of Count on Me, written by local electronic producer Thief (PJ Wolf).
Kelly’s achievements in both recording and performing that song is even more remarkable considering the damage he suffered to his golden voice in the past two weeks.
Coach Delta Goodrem took him to see her specialists for treatment in the lead-up to the grand final.
“What people don’t see Delta doing are the hours when she is not on the show,” Kelly said, paying tribute to her support throughout the series.
“I got laryngitis in the last couple of weeks, she set up appointments with her doctor and did everything she could to help me.
“I wasn’t vocally fit and that took a toll on me, but she was there for me, spending extra time checking in.”
Goodrem will continue to invest in Kelly’s career.
She admitted she was frustrated she couldn’t sign her charge to her own label, but vowed to remain a guiding force.
“I stay in touch with all my artists and watch over them, do whatever I can,” Goodrem said. “There are no barriers to me doing that. He will be a household name, making records we all want, I have no doubt of that.
“Judah is incredibly smart and I am still stoked he chose me.”
Originally published as Long path to overnight success