Singer Billy Gilman is hoping for a second shot at stardom – this time as an openly gay performer.
Billy Gilman looks to have given himself a solid shot with a hugely successful audition on NBC’s The Voice that left all four judges vying to be his mentor.
Gilman performs a powerful rendition of the Adele song When We Were Young that airs tonight.
‘I started out as a young country artist and had great success … to finally be here in a moment where I can finally sing the way I so badly wanted to even then, and to finally stand here and be amongst you, it truthfully is such an honor,’ he tells judges after his performance.
Adam Levine was first to turn his chair around for Gilman early in the performance and remained on his feet even after the song was over.
‘It’s so rare that I hear everything happen on the stage – that intangible quality that you posses is exactly what embodies the person that wins this show. You really could be the guy. I’m blown away and I’m not sitting down until you join my team.’
Levine added: ‘This is going to be an uphill battle for you because you are a very, very incredibly talented person that’s had some success. You’ve got to get people rooting for the new you.’
New judge Miley Cyrus found out that Gilman had once opened for her father, Billy Ray Cyrus.
‘I know who the hell you are! Let me take care of you!’ she said. ‘I’d love to help you now become the new Billy … I’d love to help you be clear to people about who you are.’
Blake Shelton was also familiar with Gilman and had wondered what happened to him.
‘Now you found your sound and where you belong musically. I’m happy for you – I really am.’ Who Gilman chooses as a mentor will be revealed tonight.
Gilman came out publicly in November 2014. just 11 years old when he debuted with the single One Voice in the year 2000. It was a Top 20 hit on the Billboard country music charts and he became the youngest singer with a Top 40 hit.
His album of the same name went double platinum the following year and two subsequent releases were certified gold. He sold more than 5 million records and seemed to be settling in for a nice, long run.
But his record sales began to slip and as he approached his 20s, music labels wouldn’t even take meetings with him.
There were whispers about his sexuality and for a time, he faded from public view.
‘The purpose of (coming out) was to explain to my fans who I really am and that I have finally found pure happiness and hopefully you’re along with me for the ride,’ he told Gay Star News last year…