23-year-old Christiana Danielle is prepping for her graduate-level social work studies (with a specific focus on mental health) at Rutgers University. And she’s learning to talk to her mother, Carmen Hicks, as her manager, her “mom-ager,” for her new singing career that began when her journey ended on the “The Voice” on May 8, 2018. 50,000+ hopefuls auditioned for Season 14; Danielle made it to the Top 10.
“It’s kind of mind-blowing knowing that the only performances she did prior to the show were three talent shows at Huntington University,” Hicks said.
It’s the summer of transitions and consistencies for Christiana Danielle. She will be traveling soon for “songwriting purposes,” but she’s currently living back home in Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne Ink Spot (FWIS): What has life been like since you left the show?
Christiana Danielle: Life has been kind of a whirlwind. When you’re on the show, you’re super busy, but someone makes your schedule for you. When you come off the show, the ball’s in your court, and it’s really all on you and the moves that you make. I’ve just been adjusting to all of that, this new kind of lifestyle.
FWIS: Your mother told me how you were at peace during your elimination round compared to some of the other contestants because, unlike yourself, they didn’t necessarily have a back-up plan. Their back-up plan was the show, but you were accepted to Rutgers. What was it like having a back-up plan while competing?
Christiana: It was intimidating being around such experienced artists but realizing that no matter what happened before now we are at the same place. I think I was a lot happier because there wasn’t as much pressure for me. At the end of the day, there can only be one winner. This isn’t the end all be all. This is just the beginning. I’m grateful to God for the opportunity.
I don’t want to say I didn’t believe in myself because I absolutely did. But it’s a TV show. After every time I went on an elimination show, after every round, you have to make peace [with yourself]. I was proud of myself that [performance] Monday, and I was proud of myself that Tuesday.
FWIS: So were there times when you were nervous on show?
Christiana: Oh yes, definitely, all of the time. [Laughs.] It was always before and after [I performed]. Once I get on stage and open my mouth, I sing and I feel the words. But it was definitely before and after when you go crazy. It’s definitely a rush. The crowd was so live and so loud in their support. It was an easy environment to make you feel comfortable. But those nerves never really go away.
FWIS: What’s your interest in social work?
Christiana: Honestly, I think I’ve been doing social work throughout my whole life. Originally, I was very interested in biology. Then it was physical therapy. But I really felt God was calling me to do social work. Biology and physical therapy was fun and I knew that. And I was an athlete so it all made sense. But when I got to my social work classes, I felt a sense of fulfillment there. I realized that’s where my passion was. I’m very passionate about social work and I’m very passionate about mental health.
FWIS: Your “mom-ager,” Carmen Hicks, was a dope Christian rapper back in the day. Describe your musical relationship with her.
Christiana: My mom has always been very supportive of me, and has been very inspiring. I don’t know how many people can grow up saying that their mom is a rapper. And you know all of her lyrics.
She would invite me to sing background for her sometimes. She has always been creative so I feel like I definitely get that from her. She’s always encouraged me, and I was always super shy. If I had to sing a solo for church, we would be in the car practicing it over and over. She would tell me to fix that part or hold that note out longer.
FWIS: What are your summer plans?
Christiana: I will be singing on the STAR 88.3 Star Stage at the Three Rivers Festival. And we’re working on my first concert and solidifying the details and venue. I’m really excited about that. It will be my first show ever apart from me being on “The Voice” stage so I’m really excited. I also have various other engagements booked every month now through October.
I want to reiterate how thankful I am for the City of Fort Wayne showing me so much love. For them to stay tuned and to have kept supporting me. I just really appreciate them.