Reaching for the Stars

Senior Mary Kate Connor joins team Blake on The Voice

Concluding the fourth episode of blind auditions off strong, Stone Bridge’s own senior Mary Kate Connor excelled during her performance on the hit show, The Voice.

Connor originally tried to audition for The Voice back in 2020, but received a positive COVID test and wasn’t able to follow through due to the guidelines. However, three years later, Connor was able to turn two chairs by the end of her audition with her performance of the song “Stars” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

“When Kelly and Blake turned I literally had to catch my breath,” Connor said. “I’m sure there was a moment in the song where a note was wrong because I was literally in shock. It was absolutely insane.”

Country singer Blake Shelton and pop star Kelly Clarkson pitched the reasons why they believed they’d be the better coach for Connor, but ultimately, she chose Shelton and is now a member of Team Blake.

“A lot of people have asked me this question of why I chose Blake over Kelly, and it’s hard because [sometimes I] don’t even know the answer,” Connor said. “It was totally just like an in-the-moment thing and I felt very called by the Lord to choose Blake. [Shelton also] talked to me about Nashville [and that’s] one of my dreams [so] I got really excited over that and all of the opportunities he has out in Nashville.”

Connor found her love for music early on, as she recalls watching her father practice for their church’s worship band when she was little, which inspired her to develop her own vocal skills. From then on, she’s participated in numerous school plays and is now learning how to write her own music.

“My favorite part of my music journey as a whole definitely is The Voice, but also has just been the amount of people that I’ve touched and the people that have reached out to me and told me that my performances moved them and caused them to feel something, which is really my goal,” Connor said. “I just want to touch people and I want people to feel loved through my music.”

In the fall, Connor is planning on attending James Madison University, where she will major in music industry. She aims to develop her songwriting abilities and hopefully land herself in Nashville, Tennessee.

“My dream is to live in Nashville, and, you know, learning how to produce my own music, learning the ins-and-outs of the industry at JMU will definitely push me to my goals,” Connor said.

I just want to touch people and I want people to feel loved through my music.

— Mark Kate Connor

Make sure to tune into The Voice every Monday and Tuesday to watch Connor compete against other musicians as the Battle Rounds begin March 27.“Mary Kate’s probably not completely aware of what she’s even capable of,” Shelton said. “She has like a cool Appalachian sound and I love that. I think America is gonna love it.”