Holland America habitués may recognize a familiar face on the smash NBC show, The Voice, as cruise ship musician Stephanie Anne Johnson steps into the spotlight.
On the fourth night of the show’s blind auditions, Johnson wowed judges Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green with her soulful rendition of a KT Tunstall song, “Black Horse & The Cherry Tree.”
“I’m so taken with your energy,” Aguilera said to Johnson, who described her style as “indie soul music.” Despite pleas from Green, the 29-year-old Tacoma native went with Aguilera, a former Disney diva, by joining her team.
“You haven’t had a winner yet,” Johnson told Aguilera, “and I’m going to fix that.” As part of Team Xtina, she’ll receive one-on-one coaching from the superstar before going against other contestants in the “battle rounds.”
After studying classical voice in college, Johnson spent several years as a contract singer and guitarist, working on Amsterdam, Westerdam, Zaandam and Zuiderdam, as well as Seabourn Quest. In her audition video, she’s shown in Seattle on Westerdam, performing in the Crow’s Nest and strolling on deck.
“You grow as a musician quite a lot,” Johnson said about her time on ships. She estimated that she had given over 1,000 performances – not only in the Crow’s Nest at night, according to the cruise line – but during the day in various lounges and in the atrium when passengers boarded.
Still, she said that spending eight months at sea at a time has its drawbacks. “I miss Christmas, friends getting married” and especially her family (Her Nana – the adorably supportive Freddie Mae – appeared backstage to cheer her on, along with her mother and stepdad).
“I’m ready to get back on land.”