MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - With Mid-South native Reagan Strange battling to make it to “The Voice” season finale, WMC5 spoke with two former contestants to find out what it’s like after you leave the hit TV singing contest.
Baber turned music into his business to provide for his family and Paluso went from full-time park ranger to full-time musician.
It's been three years, since Marion, Arkansas' Baber left "The Voice" in the Season 9 finale as part of the Final Four.
“It’s been quite a ride,” Baber said. “I’ve been on road. I’ve been writing songs like crazy. Living in Nashville, moving to Nashville.”
It’s been just four weeks, since Atoka, Tennessee’s Paluso left “The Voice” in the Season 15 Live Playoffs.
“I formulated a plan as much as I could and after I got off the show, I’m living the dream,” Paluso said. “I’m playing music for a living now.”
Paluso also revealed what it’s like when the cameras are off.
“We lived together sequestered in a hotel for like a month,” Paluso said. “Not sure if I was supposed to tell you that. We’re all stuck together for such a long time that you have no choice but to get to know everybody and so we’re like family now.”
They both said being on “The Voice” changes your life.
“It was an adjustment to go from obscurity to being well-known,” Baber said. “I wouldn’t say I’m famous.”
Baber said the years and years of performing prepared him for the big stage.
“There were 10, 12, 15 years of playing to nobody,” Baber said. “Playing to the wait staff and bartenders for no money. Just me and a guitar.”
Paluso said experience as a park ranger translated to the contest.
"I’ve been in a lot of dangerous situations at work too, so I may be going to sing an Adele song on national television, but nobody’s going eat me, you know, I’m not going to die today,” Paluso said.
Neither artist is currently with a record label.
“So, you call up venues and say, 'Hey, my name is Keith Paluso. I’d like to come play there, if you don’t care and let’s negotiate how we can make this a fun event,” Paluso said.
They see “The Voice” as a springboard and say the hard work comes when the show ends.
“That it is merely a means to an end,” Baber said. “It is a way to get into the red zone, but it doesn’t get you into the endzone.”
They’re both rooting for Strange, who is still vying to win “The Voice” this season.
"I’m sure she’s nervous and working hard, but the truth is if you’re prepared and you’re talented and America thinks you’re deserving, then you’ll find yourself in the finale and then the work really starts,” Baber said.
“Whether or not Reagan wins or leaves tomorrow, I think she has some success coming her way,” Paluso said. “She has a lot of people behind her and a lot of support. You can’t go wrong with that.”
Baber is playing in Nashville later this month.
Paluso said his appearances start picking up in January.