One year after finding success on NBC's "The Voice," Worcester's Ricky Duran is ready to share his own voice.
The Grafton, Massachusetts, native, who finished second on Season 17 of the televised singing competition, is releasing his new single.
"I’m really excited to show this song to the world," Duran said in an email Thursday night. "And I’m anxious to see the reaction of my fans."
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Duran garnered local and national attention with his spectacular journey on Season 17 of the song competition, in which he finished second.
His blind audition, a soulful rendition of Leon Bridges’ “River," was a four-chair turn performance. Duran ultimately chose country star Blake Shelton to be his mentor for the season, and he emerged as a fan favorite singing songs such as Ray LaMontagne's "You Are the Best Thing," Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream," Tom Waits' "Downtown Train" and the Beatles' "Let It Be."
Duran says he hopes his fans understand that his love and passion for music goes beyond his time on "The Voice." He seemed poised to have breakout success in the months following his exit from the show, but then COVID-19 put a pause to everything.
Now, the Berklee College of Music graduate, who lives in Austin, Texas, is ready to release a new single called "She Closed Her Eyes."
Duran wrote the song for his late mother, Odette Duran, who died from breast cancer in 2018. It will be available on all platforms at midnight on Friday, Dec. 4, and Duran will also release a music video with it, which was shot and filmed at his mom's old house in Shrewsbury.
While performing on "The Voice," Duran says his fans got to him personally because he shared aspects of his life with the world that he says he was used to keeping very close to himself. He feels like because of that, his life story has become a part of who he is as an artist to his fans.
"This song is very honest and personal and for this reason, I know my fans will appreciate it," he said.
Above all, Duran hopes his fans hear the sincerity in his music and in his songwriting, and that it can help someone else who has lost a loved one, like he has.
"I remember listening to this song with my producer after we had finished recording it and him saying 'this song is gonna save lives' and that stuck with me," Duran said. "I hope the message in 'She Closed Her Eyes' speaks to anyone who has gone through the pain of losing someone and shows them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel."
While Duran is focused on this moment and says he is so excited for the world to hear his music, it wasn't an easy road to get to here. The coronavirus pandemic added extra, unforeseen challenges for him, with travel restrictions, shut down studios and no in-person concerts.
Duran had shows booked across the country for this year, including a sold-out show at the Hanover Theater in his hometown of Worcester, but of course the coronavirus put all that on hold.
"There is no doubt that Coronavirus has been a huge hurdle in my career. Me and my team were thinking 2020 would be a big year for me," he said.
While performing live shows is how he has made his living -- something he's been unable to do since the pandemic began -- Duran says looking at it from a positive standpoint, this time has given him the opportunity to reflect and perfect his songwriting.
He says he has been in the studio throughout most of the pandemic, recording and developing music to bring to his fans. He's hoping to be able to tour these records next year.
"I can’t wait for this pandemic to be over. This is the longest I’ve ever gone without performing live and I gotta say it hurts," he said. "I’m really looking forward to the next time I can get on stage for a huge audience and sing and play my heart out. It’s about time I get back to doing what I love."
Until then, Duran is set to perform his first full-scale concert since his time on “The Voice.” It will stream live online Dec. 9.