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Prestonberg’s Rachel Messer, a member of Kentucky Opry, described as ‘authentic country’ on The Voice

By Mary Meadows
Floyd County Chronicle Times

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (KT) – A member of the Kentucky Opry, based at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, is now singing on a national stage.

Rachel Messer sang “I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” complete with yodels, during the blind auditions of The Voice on NBC on Monday.

Judges Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson picked Messer for their teams on the show. They praised her performance, with Shelton describing her music as authentic country.

Saying his success shows there’s “still a hunger and still an excitement for traditional country music,” Shelton told Messer, “You’re the kind of artist that excites me because you honor the history of country music before you take a step forward with it. I would be honored to have a chance to work with you.” 

Messer, who chose Shelton as her coach on The Voice, tried out for the show in 2016 and received an email this year to be a part of the blind auditions. 

“I went to an open call in Chicago for The Voice and, you know, I didn’t make it past that and I just thought, well, you know, it wasn’t meant to be,” she said. “And then, here in 2018, almost two years later, they contacted me and said that they had seen me and would like me to come down and audition. So, it kind of all just went from there.”

She was nervous during the audition, but she’s thrilled be on The Voice.

“Oh my goodness. It has been such a journey,” she said. “Last night was the night that we waited for, for so long, and to finally get to share that with everybody, and, I mean, just to be, just to, you know, not only get to sing in front of four of the most talented vocalists and artists in the world, you know that was amazing, but just to be a part of an amazing, you know, Voice family, and with all the other artists, it was really great.” 

Messer grew up in a musical family in a rural town in West Virginia. Her audition included video footage of her playing music with family members on a porch. Messer, who plays the guitar, mandolin, and ukulele, said she started singing and performing when she was three years old. 

“I was just a little thing behind the piano in church, singing,” she said. 
Her website says she cut her first gospel CD when she was eight years old.

She won “Coalfields Got Talent” contest in 2015 and wrote and recorded her first single, “Jesus and My 6 String” in 2016.

She joined the Billie Jean Osborne Kentucky Opry as a vocalist last year, but could only perform in a handful of shows at the Mountain Arts Center this summer because of her work on The Voice. 

She said she joined the Opry because she admired the Opry, the community and the people.

“Everybody’s so talented, so to get to work with them, it’s very much worth the drive,” she said. 

She said being part of the Opry has been a learning experience for her.
“I feel like the Opry was a very big learning experience for me that kind of helped me grow into the artist I am now,” she said. “It definitely gave me some confidence to go out on a stage and sing to people, and it’s just really been great.” 

MAC Marketing and Programming Director Joe Campbell reported that NBC taped an Opry show in July as part of Messer’s journey on The Voice. Officials there were under a confidentiality agreement until recently. 

The Voice will continue this week with more blind auditions.

The Battle Rounds will begin Oct. 15, Messer said. 

She shared the following words of encouragement for young musicians and artists in the region: 

“Keep on keeping on,” she said. “I know that sometimes it feels that progress is very slow, but it slowly but surely adds up and you really can just get there. It doesn’t matter if you’re from a holler or a small town, or whatever. You just keep on doing it, and you’ll get somewhere.”

Kentucky Today

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