By Ann Leach

Gospel singer and Season 9 winner of “The Voice,” Jordan Smith, will launch Connect2Culture’s new season Sept. 30. “We’re pretty excited to open the season with him,” C2C Director Emily Frankoski said. “We’ve got a great season planned and it’s our largest one ever. We’ve expanded each of the series and are offering lots of family-friendly performances and a variety of genres to the community that promises something for everyone.”

Smith, a singer, songwriter and musician from Harlan, Kentucky, began singing in his church choir and continued doing so throughout college. He found national recognition in 2015 when he competed on “The Voice” and won. Since then, he has been touring the country with concert appearances, recording music and adjusting to notoriety and travel.

“There were so many adjustments that happened in the beginning,” Smith said. “I went from being a college student to touring the world. Probably the biggest change was the attention. Pretty much everywhere you go, people recognize you and want to talk to you.” Smith described himself as a people person but said, “even for someone outgoing, it was a totally new experience that I had to get used to.”

Today, Smith is balancing a full touring schedule with some studio time as he records a new full-length album set to debut next spring. He most recently released a new song,

But Smith still remembers and gives thanks for his winning night on “The Voice.” “I kept telling myself to slow down and soak in those moments,” he said. “I got to perform with Adam Levine, Usher and my teammates. My favorite part, though, was when they brought my parents and family up to the stage after I won. It was so special to have my biggest supports right next to me in that moment. I’ll never forget that feeling.”

Smith is still in regular contact with a few friends from his “The Voice” season and keeps up with all of his teammates online. “The show itself is quite the bonding experience,” he said. “It makes me happy to see all the great things they’re doing now.”


And don’t forget ArtsFest at the Cornell Complex, produced by Joplin Downtown Alliance, Connect2Culture and Spiva Center for the Arts Sept. 15, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy over 40 artists with art for sale, live music, children’s activities, food and beverages. Learn more at


Want to Go?

Saturday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m.

Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex

212 W. 7th St., Joplin, MO


For tickets, call 417.501.5550, visit or visit the box office inside the Cornell Complex.