Zach Day, a Dec. 2019 EKU graduate, has had a lifelong love affair with music. That love has survived many long nights, stayed true through both triumphs and rejections, and allowed Day to remain dedicated to honing his craft. His time and effort paid off when he blind auditioned for The Voice, amazing judges John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton and Nick Jonas.
Currently in its 18th season, The Voice is a reality singing competition that airs on NBC. Day’s audition was featured in the season’s second episode, which aired on Feb. 25. His masterful rendition of SWV’s classic “Weak,” inspired Legend and Clarkson to turn their chairs.
Day said he had worked for that one moment his entire life.
“It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “I was jumping around in circles on stage because it helped me get out all the nervous energy.”
Born on a small farm in Stearns, Kentucky, Day has been singing for as long as he can remember, beginning in church, talent shows, and for his teachers at recess. In high school, music became an even bigger part of his life. He recalls spending evenings at friends’ houses working on harmonies and learning guitar.
It was around that time that he first conceived of auditioning for a show like The Voice. In fact, he auditioned twice prior to his successful blind audition, at ages 16 and 19, and for American Idol, also at age 19. Though both auditions for The Voice resulted in rejection, he made it to Hollywood Week before being sent home from American Idol. Despite those setbacks, Day left the experience with more hope than disappointment. “I wasn't discouraged. I was just inspired to really get to work,” he said.
Day began his Eastern experience as a transfer student, after taking time off from school. While studying American Sign Language Interpreting, he participated in Alpha Psi Omega, EKU Theatre, EKU Dance Theatre, the American Sign Language Association and acapella group EKos. In fact, he counts performing with the group among his favorite memories, and his time at EKU as an integral part of his success story.
“Being at EKU offered me a lot of opportunities to make music, and to sing for a lot of influential people,” he said. “I had a lot of love there.”
Day spent nearly all his waking hours outside of class working on music, writing and producing his EP project and recording background vocals for other bands. He dreamed of taking his music even further, and when he learned that The Voice was coming to Louisville, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Now that his audition has aired, Day finds himself less and less anonymous. Fans of the show often approach him in public and ask to take pictures, which he called a “weird, but flattering” experience. Despite his new public persona, Day’s only goal is to keep making music, no matter how wide his audience. To those considering a similar path, his advice is simple.
“Whatever you’re passionate about, go for it,” he said. “There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.”