FORT KNOX, Ky. (WAVE) – His rendition of a Stevie Wonder classic had stars Kelly Clarkson and Nick Jonas fighting over him.
Sgt. First Class Sam Wilco, a Fort Knox soldier, told WAVE 3 News family and faith built his love for music, but it took a push from his wife to get it him to try out for “The Voice.” The Army recruiting instructor finally listened and it paid off in a big way.
“The Voice” fans in Kentucky can thank Wilco’s wife, Veronica.
He said, "I finally took her advice and tried out.
She convinced Wilco to put his vocals in front of a national audience and four of the biggest names in music: Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, John Legend and Blake Shelton.
As much as Wilco loves Kelly Clarkson, he picked Nick Jonas as his coach.
"Well, that's my kids, they're really the choice, the reason why," he explained with a smile.
Wilco’s teenage twin daughters Jea and Jene and 12-year-old A'Layah love the Jonas Brothers.
"When we found out he was the new coach, I was like, ‘If he turns his chair, I have to choose him.’"
Wilco said his daughters' reactions were priceless.
"The girls were screaming," he smiled, "it was a really wild, chaotic response, but it was beautiful."
Wilco teaches recruiting at Fort Knox and said some of his students were surprised to see him on the big stage.
"Some of the students were like, ‘Hey, we watched you on TV the other night," he laughed, "So, that was pretty cool."
While the Army sergeant loves every moment spent with music, the soldier of 21 years knows where home is.
"I love the Army," he said.
It’s a love that is all in the family; Wilco’s three brothers are branched out in the service as a supply specialist, a financial specialist and a military police officer.
However, as for the talent that led to the celebrity coaches’ chair turns, Wilco credits his faith. He said he sang in church as a boy and continues to do so at Southeast Christian Church in Elizabethtown.
The 40-year-old says he had to stay true to his soulful roots in “The Voice” blind auditions, confident with Stevie Wonder's 'Lately' instead of a recent pop song.
"If I try to do what somebody else does, I'm not going to be good at it,” he explained. “So, all I can do is stay true to myself and they like it or they don't."
However, Wilco isn’t afraid to step out of his musical box. He is excited to work with Nick Jonas and try a little of everything. He loves country crooner Chris Stapleton and is already working on writing his own music. Wilco described it as soulful rock with an inspirational theme.