Waco native shows out on “The Voice”

Waco local and “The Voice” participant Aaron Konzelman encourages following passions. He takes life in journeys and expresses his passion through his faith and music. Courtesy Photo

By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer

Born and raised in Waco, Aaron Konzelman has worked in almost every trade available in town. Although growing up in a strictly musical family, Konzelman has found himself in multiple different trades throughout life. Now with his own family, having a band, running a pie business and being called up by the “The Voice,” it shows how life can go in a million directions.

Konzelman said he started playing around with music when he was around six or seven. His parents were part of a popular contemporary Christian band within the “Jesus movement” in the sixties and seventies. Consequently, Konzelman was always surrounded by musicians. During his teenage years, Konzelman played with different bands all across Waco before getting a degree in audio engineering from McLennan Community College.

“We had a ranch north of Waco where my dad had a large recording studio, he did productions for a bunch of record labels,” Konzelman said. “So, I grew up in the recording studio editing music for albums with my dad and learning to play music.”

His journey to California started in 2016 when he was called by NBC for a pilot of “Songland,” a show where songwriters showcase their music to well-known artists. However, the show was pushed and Konzelman took it as a sign that reality TV wasn’t for him. With that previous contact in April of 2020, a producer of “The Voice” called Konzelman and said they wanted him for season 20. By sending in just a few videos of covers and never having to audition, Konzelman was ready to say, “Here we go again.”

“They called me and said, ‘Hey your name was given to us by one of the other producers. We went and found one of your videos on Instagram and we all would really like you to be on this next season,’ and I was just like, ‘Wow,’” Konzelman said. “They called me back in the summer and said ‘Yep, you’re on the show.’”

He performed Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” for “The Voice: Blind Auditions 2021” and turned both Blake Shelton and John Legend’s chairs. In the YouTube comment section of his audition video, Konzelman gathered support for his singing voice, unique rasp and signature beard. He made it onto Team Blake but was later eliminated during Battle Rounds.

Prior to joining the show, Konzelman could be found all around Waco doing something with music, spreading his faith or working with his hands. In the nineties, Konzelman said he consistently performed at Common Grounds when it first opened. After college, he helped build and design their backyard and later, ran sound for the backyard shows. While also being in a music duo with his wife, Konzelman ran a handmade leather business that would soon catch the eye of Joanna Gaines. And in the early 2010s, Konzelman’s family went around Texas planting churches before settling down in Waco once again.

Waco senior Kate Moffatt said that Konzelman has been a longtime family friend and it was exciting to see him on such a large stage as “The Voice.” He taught Moffatt and her older brother guitar, along with having church friends in common, their friendship was able to grow in many ways. Moffatt praised Konzelman’s journey.

“He’s definitely one of those people that my family will always support because we do think the world of him,” Moffatt said. “It’s been fun getting to follow him, and honestly I just think he’s great and such a good guy.”

Since coming back from the show, Konzelman shared how he’ll sometimes be called a “local celebrity,” but emphasized that he doesn’t do music to become famous or a household name. Konzelman said he values building connections with those around him more than being in the public eye.

On the other hand, Moffatt shared how Konzelman is worthy of the title.

“I definitely see him getting there, and I want that for him. I think with the people he knows, he’s a local celebrity, but I think he’s getting there with strangers [too],” Moffatt said.

His career on the “The Voice” is another road for Konzelman to venture down, she said, throughout his many journeys, his love for music has been a firm foundation. Konzelman said he and his wife are learning how to balance putting their passions first and incorporating them into family life with their singing duo. He said knowing “your ethos” and letting that drive what you do has always been his concept to follow.

“I always tell younger people to figure out what your passion is, not what you love to do, but what you want to be, what kind of person you want to be, your personality, your desires, what lights your candle. What just literally makes you come alive, let that inform what you do,” Konzelman said.