The Voice 2019 winner Jake Hoot made waves with an original song about divorce titled "Better Off Without You" during his run on the show, but though many fans might have interpreted it as a slap at his real-life ex-wife, the singer-songwriter says that's not the case.

Hoot performed the original song on Dec. 16, toward the very end of the competition, on a night when each remaining contestant got to showcase a cover song, an original and a duet with their coach. The 31-year-old country singer is divorced, and he explained to his coach, Kelly Clarkson, that it was inspired by a dark period after his split.

"Going through a divorce, that was my lowest point. I was sitting there one night. I thought of the lyric, 'I can see the thunder and hear the dark.'"

The song and performance resonated with viewers, but in an interview on Friday (Dec. 20) just days after winning Season 17 of The Voice, Hoot clarified to Taste of Country that the song is not intended as a cut to his own ex.

His co-writer came in with the title of the song, Hoot explains, while Hoot came in with the lines that initially inspired him and a musical idea on the guitar.

"We just started writing a song, and it was nothing to slight our ex-wives or anybody," he recalls. "It was just something we were both feeding into in our emotions at that time, and how, when you go through something traumatic, you do get in that dark place, and you almost see no way out."

"But then the bridge says, 'The sun's gonna shine one of these days,' and it was almost like, 'Hey, we're in a better place now,'" Hoot adds. "But never anything to bash anybody in our history or whatever. I definitely want to clear that up, because I know some people are questioning that, but no ... in any interview I've ever done, I don't want to bash or slight anybody, because that doesn't help any situation."

Hoot is planning a break to be with his family for the holidays before he gets down to the business of putting together the team for an album he hopes to release in 2020. It's not clear yet what songs he'll include, but he tells Taste of Country it will likely focus on material that the public has not yet heard.

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