Student’s husband competes on ‘The Voice’

Sam Osborne

Justin Rivers grew up playing music in his father’s church in Fairfield, Ala. It wasn’t long before he realized music was going to be a life-long pursuit. At age 18, Rivers moved to Nashville in hopes of beginning a country career. However, his biggest break wouldn’t come until about a decade later.

The 29-year-old Bowling Green resident was recently a contestant on NBC’s “The Voice.” Rivers was eliminated from the show on Wednesday, bringing his whirlwind experience on the singing competition to an end.

Rivers was among the top 16 finalists on the show, and was one of four remaining artists on Blake Shelton’s team.

Rivers said competing on the show was a cool experience and something any aspiring artist should have the chance to do.

“It was fun just to be associated with a show like ‘The Voice’ that has such a great reputation and seems to really take care of their artists,” he said. “It was great to just get on stage and play for a larger audience and do what I do.”

While on the show, Rivers had the opportunity to work with many notable artists, but said his experience working with Sheryl Crow was special.

The pair bonded over the nerves that often plague musicians throughout their careers.

“Sheryl was really supportive of me as an artist and really encouraging,” Rivers said. “She could tell that in my blind audition, that there were lots of nerves involved. Really spoke to that and how in her journey she had experienced some times where the nerves seemed to have gotten the best of her.”

All four of the songs Rivers performed on the show are available on iTunes.

Rivers’ wife, Hannah, a senior at WKU, said watching her husband advance throughout the show was emotional.

“It was extremely overwhelming for me,” Rivers said. “He’s extremely determined and motivated with his music. Each round I was just like, ‘This is it, he is going to go far in this thing.’”

Nashville junior Dallas Wilson first heard Rivers’ talents at Crossland Community Church in Bowling Green, where Rivers serves as musical director. Wilson said he knew immediately that Rivers was a standout musician, and watching his talents broadcasted to millions on “The Voice” was particularly exciting.

“It makes me really happy to see his talent recognized by really prestigious artists on national television,” he said of his friend.

Wilson said he’s excited for what lies in store for his friend.

“I’m really excited about the future of his music career,” he said. “I think ‘The Voice’ is just a kick-start.”

Rivers is back home in Bowling Green after returning from Los Angeles, where the show is taped. He hopes his appearance and exposure on “The Voice” will boost his music career. If not, he said he is perfectly content with his life at home in Bowling Green.

“I’m going to ride this wave as long as I can and if something else comes from it, great,” Rivers said.