Jake Hoot Shares Both Parenting and Musical Advice Coach Kelly Clarkson Gave Him on ‘The Voice’

Celeb Secrets chatted with the singer just days after being crowed the winner for Season 17.

THE VOICE -- "Live Finale Results" Episode 1720B -- Pictured: Jake Hoot -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Congratulations are in order for Jake Hoot!

The 31-year-old Cookeville, Tennessee resident was crowned the winner for Season 17 of The Voice on Tuesday (December 17) and not only was it a milestone win, but it was also a full circle moment for the contestant.

Jake was born in Texas, but his parents are missionaries and relocated the family to the Dominican Republic when he was 9. While living there, he began singing and playing guitar while also becoming fluent in Spanish.

At 20, he moved to Tennessee where he began gigging and attended Tennessee Tech University as a walk-on football player. Jake later got married and now has a 4-year-old daughter. After getting divorced, the single dad auditioned for The Voice in hopes of a fresh start and achieved what seemed to be impossible. Only receiving a one chair turn from Kelly Clarkson at auditions, Hoot says that winning was “an incredible feat.”

“Honestly, I didn’t really focus on it,” Hoot tells Celeb Secrets over the phone yesterday. “I know it is a massive deal to call myself the first one chair turn to win The Voice. It’s an incredible feat, however, the whole time I was apart of it I was just grateful to be there. Whether one person turned or all four turned, I was going to show the same amount of work and dedication and drive no matter what.”

“I’m very grateful that Kelly did turn and am very grateful she continued to push me throughout the competition so yeah, I didn’t really think about it too much until everybody, you know, kept saying, ‘you’re a one chair turn to win it!’ It’s just a great feeling.”

THE VOICE — “Live Finale Results” Episode 1720B — Pictured: (l-r) Kelly Clarkson, Jake Hoot — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Hoot’s win marks the third victory for coach Kelly Clarkson, who first won season 14 with contestant Brynn Cartelli and then went on to win season 15 with contestant Chevel Shepherd. He beat out team Gwen Stefani’s Rose Short, team John Legend’s Katie Kadan and team Blake Shelton’s Ricky Duran.

From working with Kelly Clarkson and receiving love from his biggest supporter and muse — his four year old daughter — to advice for future contestants and life after the show, Hoot gave Celeb Secrets the inside scoop on what his full experience was like being on The Voice. Take a read at the full Q&A below and make sure to follow Jake on Instagram at @jake.hoot.music.

Celeb Secrets: First off, how did it feel performing your original song “Better Off” in front of such a large audience?

Jake Hoot: “It was really special. It was a moment of vulnerability to take something that I helped create and something that meant a lot to me in my personal life and get to play it on live television to a national audience. I’m glad it was well received. I got a lot of messages from people saying that they relate to the song and that’s all you can ask for as a songwriter; that you helped touch people’s lives. I’m very happy with it and so grateful they allowed me to sing it on there.”

CS: What is your creative process like in regards to songwriting?

JH: “It varies. That I co-wrote with a guy named Dave Pahanish. Obviously his style and my style are very different but that song honestly started with a phrase that I had written and had been in my head for over a year. When I sat down with him, I pitched him different ideas and then I said, ‘well I do have this phrase and maybe we can write around that?’ And it was the phrase in the first verse that says, ‘I can see the thunder and I can hear the dark’ and we just wrote the song based on and around that. But you know for everybody it’s different. I’ll think of lyrics throughout the day and type them into my phone and then whenever I’m around a guitar and I can sit down and write I’ll pull up all those lyrics and ideas and just try to write. But I love co-writing, I’ve co-written with a lot of good writers.”

THE VOICE — “Live Finale Results” Episode 1720B — Pictured: (center) Jake Hoot, Little Big Town — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

CS: How was performing with Little Big Town!?

JH: “That was legitimately a dream come true. They are one of my favorite bands of all time. I respect what they’ve done for so long and the fact that they still sound amazing is unreal. So to not only share the stage with them on live television, but the fact that I got to hang out with them for just thirty minutes the night before was amazing. They are just the sweetest, most genuine people you will ever meet and knowing that people who are on their level that have seen that kind of success be down to earth was just incredible. It made me love their band even more and hopefully I can share the stage with them at some point again in the future.”

CS: What about performing with Kelly! That Christmas song you picked correct?

JH: “I did, yes m’am.”

CS: Where did that song come from? I had never heard it before!

JH: “Surprisingly a lot of people haven’t heard it. Kelly had never heard it, the band had never heard it and our vocal coach had never heard it. I’ve said this a few times, but I almost went to school for opera music. They used to be the Canadian Tenors, Il Divo, Pavarotti, Bocelli, all of them. And the Tenors had done a version of the song — it was originally a Sarah McLachlan song — but they had done a version of it with her and Kelly had asked me, ‘we’re going to be doing a duet and it has to be a Christmas song.’ And that instantly popped into my head and I said, ‘what about this!?’ And she had never heard it but said, ‘I haven’t heard of it but it’s beautiful and I’m so shocked that it’s coming from you.’ And it did work in our favor that not a lot of people had heard of it because it was a beautiful rendition of it. And obviously getting to share the stage with Kelly Clarkson was absolutely unreal. I will always cherish that moment and that song and getting to share that with her.”

CS: That’s amazing! It seems like you and Kelly have a really great natural chemistry and can relate on a lot of aspects given that you’re both parents. You had brought up in a press conference that Kelly gave you the advice that a good way to balance a successful work and family life is just to be present. I loved that advice and I wanted to ask how has that been difficult throughout this process. Because I am sure when you’re on stage it’s hard not to think about your girl at home.

JH: “Absolutely, that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t try to pursue music years ago as a full time job is because I wanted to be a dad first. And I would have a hard time being a dad while trying to chase this dream and so I had asked [Kelly] about that and she talked about being present, in the moment and not letting outside distractions take away from time with your loved ones. Moving forward, I hope I can continue to pick her brain on that because she is amazing at what she does. She does a million different jobs but is also present and involved in her kids’ lives. And that to me speaks volumes about who she is as a person just because it can be tough. And those moments I got with my daughter when she was out here were everything to me. I got to put her to sleep when she was here, and went by and kissed her every morning before I left just to make sure I got to see her a little bit more. And you know, ultimately, music is a great thing but at the end of the day, my daughter is always going to be what my priority is. And if I can be a better dad while trying to chase this music thing, then I’m going to do it and Kelly’s advice really put it in perspective.”

THE VOICE — “Live Finale Results” Episode 1720B — Pictured: (l-r) Jake Hoot, Kelly Clarkson — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

CS: Right, and your daughter must be so proud of you! I mean being able to watch her dad on stage, she will have the videos for the rest of her life and be able to show them off to all of her friends which I’m sure she’ll do forever.

JH: “I hope so! I hope it knocks me up on the cool spectrum. She’s been a huge motivator for me saying, ‘daddy you’re the best.’ She’s only four so I don’t think she understands the gravity of everything but hopefully later on she will look back and appreciate it and be able to use it as motivation of her own.”

CS: Right! I’m sure going to inspire her to chase her dreams. If she saw her dad could do it, she could too! Your story is truly inspiring to so many people around the world. So thank you for choosing to go on The Voice. What prompted you to go on the show actually? What prompted you to take the leap of faith to go on the show?

JH: “I think it was everyone around me who encouraged me to do it. Obviously we are supposed to keep it under wraps when we are invited to come out but I still went to some my closest friends and family and my girlfriend and obviously our girls. And it was one thing I thought, ‘I don’t think I should do it.’  I was very skeptical about the whole process and everyone told me the same thing — go out there, have a good time, get some exposure and try to advance your career a little bit in music. So ultimately it was just my support group that really pushed me and I was at a good point in my life where I was happy with everything. I looked at it like as an opportunity to further my career a little bit and it ended up completely changing my life. So definitely always having the right support system around you and always praying about every decision and making sure it was the right thing to do was definitely the motivating factor in everything.”

CS: Right, letting your faith guide you in everything, that’s awesome.

JH: “Absolutely!”

THE VOICE — “Live Finale Performances” Episode 1720A — Pictured: (l-r) Jake Hoot, Kelly Clarkson — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

CS: So I have a couple of fun questions left for the end. So we are Celeb Secrets. Do you have a secret whether it be about yourself or about the show you want to share?

JH: “The first thing that came to my mind was that Alex Gunthree and I were roommates from the blinds all the way to when he got sent home in the Top 20. And every night as roommates, it started as a joke, he world say, ‘good night my sweet prince’ and I would say, ‘good night my champion.’ So now every time we greet each other we call each other champion and sweet prince. I know that’s weird but we’re best buds and I think the world of Alex.”

CS: So last but not least is there anything you want to want to share with your fans and friends.

JH: “I’d probably tell them what I’ve been saying for the past few days. To the Hooters and to all the fans out there, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Me winning this thing was more of a win for them then it was for me. I just stood up there and sang songs and did what I loved to do, got to hangout with celebrities and sing with Kelly Clarkson and Little Big Town. And [the fans] were the ones who sent it home, voted and put the work in. Winning Season 17 was more of a Hooters victory rather than a Jake Hoot victory so I’m eternally grateful to everyone who made it possible.

Reporting by Caroline Renezeder

Juliet Schroder

Written by Juliet Schroder

Juliet is the founder and executive producer/host of Celeb Secrets and Celeb Secrets Country. When not reporting on the latest news in pop culture and country music, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and exploring the latest fashion trends.

Juliet holds a B.S. in marketing from St. John's University.