King Judah Kelly recounts his journey to The Voice crown
FOR Judah Kelly, being named winner of The Voice 2017 was about much more than just securing the $100,000 in prizemoney and recording contract with Universal Music.
His crowning glory at the grand finale last week marked the pinnacle of a journey that allowed him to find himself as a young man, just as much as it did as an artist.
Count On Me, his winner's single, was not a song he wrote but it was one that instantly touched a chord with the 20-year-old, who has struggled with self-belief both on and off the stage.
Dubbed 'King' Judah well before he claimed The Voice crown, the Laidley singer has not had much of a chance to catch his breath since the show finished up.
In the past week, he has been busy recording a music video for his hit single and started work on his debut album, which is set to drop at the end of the month.
But it has yet to seem like anything more than a dream.
"I'm not sure something as big as this ever does sink in, if it does I'll let you know," Mr Kelly said.
Having moved to the Lockyer Valley in November of last year, he doesn't expect to be back home any time soon and will spend at least the next month in Sydney.
"I'll be honest, I can't wait to sleep in my own bed," he laughed.
Making that very first step into the blind auditions was a daunting one and he didn't expect to progress much more than that.
Instead he caught the eye right from the get-go with all four judges eager to add him to their team.
He chose to be mentored by the "amazing" Delta Goodrem who did anything she could to help the young performer, even when the cameras weren't rolling.
"Realistically I thought maybe one coach would turn around and then not I wouldn't get much further than that," he said.
"It's crazy even saying I won The Voice and just to know that there are people that appreciate what I'm doing. I'll happily say that I was wrong."
Every success was a sharp confidence boost, bolstered by the support of people from around the country, including from Lockyer locals who were quick to adopt Judah as one their own.
"That's always welcoming, it's always nice to know people are willing to accept you even though you're new in town," he said.
"It's quite crazy to know how much I've changed, in my confidence levels and in my belief in my talent, simply because people took the time to send messages and to vote."
He believed the reason Count On Me has resonated so deeply with the public was because it touched on issues that so many others, just like himself, struggled with.
"It's about going through those dark moments and having someone there with you," he said.
"It's always good to know that if you support me then I'll be there for you. That's something I like to live by."
Judah will soon return to an old stomping ground to perform at the Gympie Music Muster, which runs from August 24-27, where he was named as the runner-up in the 2011 Muster Talent Search.
"I've played there a few times but I was playing for other people," he said.
"I can't wait to get there... it's going to be an awesome show."