What’s Next for Sundance Head?
Sundance Head won Season 11 of The Voice on Tuesday night. Now what?
Like the previous three winners, Head will be signed to Universal Music Group, likely the Republic Records imprint. Season 8 winner Sawyer Fredericks released his debut album six months after winning and is still on that label. Season 9 winner Jordan Smith released his debut in March, just three months after winning, and has since released a Christmas album. Season 10 winner Alisan Porter is no longer listed on the label's website and has not released any music.
Expect Head to begin working on a country album immediately, and if the recording and creative process go well, expect to hear a first single as soon as January, or as late as March during Season 12 of The Voice (it debuts on Feb. 27). A new album is also likely to drop during Season 12 — the show remains Head's best promotional vehicle because his radio prospects are fuzzy at best.
After the Season 11 finale, Blake Shelton called on Universal Records to step up and improve upon their track record with winners of The Voice. This has been a source of contention for coach Adam Levine as well — in 2015 he sounded off on the Howard Stern Show.
“This is the guy that I think can break the mold and become a star out of this show," Shelton said on Tuesday (quote via Yahoo). "And I give my word that I’ll put my work in, and I know [Sundance] will. This guy deserves to be a star, and there’s no excuses anymore. We need to make the record and put the work behind it that he deserves, to have this success that he deserves. And that has to start with Universal Records getting involved and behind him.”
There are no accidental hits on country radio. Airplay relies on a dedicated team promoting a song, and it's not clear where that team will come from. Previous country winners were signed by one of Big Machine Label Group's imprints, but a representative with that label tells Taste of Country Head will not be a Big Machine Label Group artist. While that may be somewhat old news — the last winner to go to Big Machine was Craig Wayne Boyd after Season 7 — it's important, because Republic Records' main country artist is Zac Brown Band, and they get promotional help from BMLG when it's time to release music and singles to radio.
So if not them, perhaps one of UMG's country labels will sign and/or promote Head? Sources there tell Taste of Country he's not a UMG Nashville artist, either.
Who is on Sundance Head's team? Independent promotion staffs often help an artist get country radio airplay, but their track record is spotty at best. If Head is going to become something more than just the Season 11 winner the onus is going to be on him to get creative with his marketing. Streaming, live shows, guest spots on country records and social media are all valid outlets in 2017, but an artist needs to have a lot of time and willingness to hustle. Moving to Nashville would certainly help if country music is his passion.
It's difficult to imagine Sundance Head topping radio airplay charts soon, but fortunately there are more ways than ever to define "success" these days. And fortunately fans can more directly impact an artist's level of success than ever.
See Photos of Sundance Head Winning The Voice