Former ‘The Voice’ contestant joins student body

Amanda Booth

Electrical engineering freshman Juhi Prathak didn’t know she was auditioning for “The Voice” until a week before her audition. But, after hearing her sing, judge Adam Levine asked to be her coach.

Prathak said the time she spent as a contestant on NBC’s singing competition was an amazing experience, but she hopes it is not the best thing she will be a part of. Prathak plans to graduate with an engineering degree and go on to design music software. 

“I’ve enjoyed the new fan base ‘The Voice’ has given me, but I don’t want that to be all that I’m known for,” Prathak said.

Aside from vocal lessons and stage rehearsals, Prathak also had to attend school on set because she was a high school senior at the time of filming. 

“What you see on TV is the tip of the iceberg,” Prathak said. 

Prathak said she particularly enjoyed getting to know the behind-the-scenes crew. She said the makeup artists are the reason she now knows how to use makeup, although she constantly pestered them about the amount of makeup she had to wear.

“I could never wrap it around my head why they needed to put so much makeup on my face,” Prathak said. 

As one of the younger contestants, Prathak said at times she was not sure she was mature enough to handle the press the way the producers asked.

“They wanted me to be serious about my interviews,” Prathak said. “I feel like I didn’t grant that to them. I made it hard for them to find good footage.” 

Prathak’s manager Eric Hurt said Prathak has always had a voice and a writing style that far surpassed her age. This, among many other factors, is why he decided to sign her to his management label, Zavitson Music Group. 

“[Prathak] was very unique and had a story to tell,” Hurt said. “She came into my office when she was 14 and started singing and playing rock music from the 90s. She wasn’t following trends.”

Hurt said at the time he signed Prathak, he was more focused on setting her up with experienced writers and producers than with booking live shows and releasing albums. After her time on “The Voice,” however, their focus quickly shifted to releasing an EP. 

As soon as Prathak’s contract with “The Voice” expired, she released her first EP, Stress Case, with her producer and co-writer, Adam Smith.

“[Prathak’s] a different writer with a different voice for her age,” Smith said. “She’s not just a singer. She’s an actual musician.”

Prathak is currently working on a new EP and regularly returns to her hometown of Franklin, Tennessee, to do live shows. She said once she gets settled in at UT, she’ll most likely do live shows in Austin as well. 

Whether she is performing in Texas or Tennessee, Hurt is confident that Prathak will stay true to herself and her style. 

“She’s one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with,” Hurt said. “She knows where she wants to go as an artist.”