Ian Flanigan Releases Video for “Grow Up”

Ian Flanigan Releases Video for “Grow Up”

Ian Flanigan has been playing music and writing songs since he was 11 years old, so it should be no surprise that he was immediately chosen by Blake Shelton on his blind audition for The Voice’s 19th season and placed third in the competition. For Flanigan, it was a blessing that he landed a spot on the popular television show that year, as the pandemic was just sweeping the nation and all his gigs had been cancelled.

“To be honest I didn’t know that there was a scout from The Voice in the audience when I was performing at The Mercy Lounge that night in Nashville,” Flanigan says. “The scout came back to the green room and asked if I would like to submit a video for the show. I did and was called to go to Los Angeles.  I was originally going there as an alternate, but when I got there, I did my blind audition and Blake (Shelton) turned around and I was on the show. It was as quick as that.”

Flanigan says being on The Voice was a great opportunity for him. “I didn’t have a lot of complaining in me, I was pretty grateful. It was hard on the family for me to be away and have all these unknown variables that controlled life, but I looked at it as an opportunity to learn from great talented people further along and wiser than me, that could help me get to where I wanted to be. Sitting in a hotel room, having room service and playing my guitar was not bad in the middle of a pandemic. I have to give the kids who are on the show a lot of credit because it’s not easy. It helps prepare you for the work ahead of you. The hardest part is on your family, really not knowing where we’re going. We were there for six months and we had one break where we could come back to see our family.”

Flanigan was fortunate enough to record his current single, “Grow Up,” with Shelton, who was not only his coach on the show but is now his friend. It was a thrill for the singer/songwriter as well because he had been a Blake Shelton fan before he ever met him on the show. “The Voice turned out to be a huge blessing in my life. I’m grateful for friends I’ve met through the show. Blake saved me multiple times during the show and has been a great friend afterwards.

DiIan Flanigan; Photo Credit: Nightcap Entertainment

“When we were working on the single, we thought it would be great if Blake would be a part of it. We reached out and asked him if he would be interested and he was. You know he has helped other contestants before and I’m grateful that he was interested in helping me.”

Flanigan learns at every step of his career, and the same was with the video for “Grow Up” which was directed by David Abbott of Powwow productions. “I was performing in the video, so my role was not acting as much as performance. There was not a lot of sitting around during the shoot and I always take advantage of learning when you are watching people do what they do best.”

As a young man, Flanigan traveled around the country by myself, living in Orlando when he was 18 and playing in bars, then moving to Colorado to continue to play music. “My family was not a musical family, but they were fine with that life style for me,” he explains.

He and his fiancé Ayla continued that lifestyle, selling everything they owned and created a path in music living in a Winnebego.

“We were going from state to state, working in parks in order to stay for free. We always had gigs booked ahead of time – we did a lot of songwriting festivals, fairs, any place that would have us. Ayla is really great in all sides of the music business. She managed me for a long time and handled all of my social media. It takes a village to do all of it.”

“It’s comical looking back,” Flanigan admits. “There we were raising our daughter, playing all over the country. I remember when she was five, we were playing this biker bar in Arizona and I look down and she’s sitting there eating hot wings. It is the adventure of a lifetime to raise a kid like that. 

“One of the places we played in the Sonoran Desert was at Boyce Thomson Arboretum in Superior AZ. We were home schooling her and we were doing tours and she was explaining desert plant life to the folks on the tours we were doing. That doesn’t translate into a normal education. But my wife had been home schooled, and she was great at teaching Kamea.

“Kamea is eight now, will be nine this fall, and for the first time in her life we will be settled in one place. We moved just north of Nashville a few months ago. I signed a deal with Reviver Publishing, and they’ve been hooking me up with writers here in town. I’ve already grown as a writer, it’s an amazing community. The house has been a big change for us but it’s awesome. And we wanted to get Kamea into school so she could be around other kids.”

Ian is glad to be back on the road touring, playing and greeting old fans and meeting new ones. “We have a pretty rockin’ live show,” he admits. “My favorite part of the business is the live aspect. We do all the other things to get to the stages and bring the energy to the people. That’s why I make music, is to perform. I like to have a nice guitar set as well as something that sounds like the record. I tell a lot of stories. I have a folk songwriter background, and the reason I love country is the stories. I try to connect people to the stories behind the song. I try to do each show differently when I’m on stage, and not have the same show every time someone comes to see me. I want to let people have a great time and be together for a little while before we all go back to our day to day lives.”

Flanigan has been working on an album of 11 songs, most of which he co-wrote. “Just to work with these amazing producers, engineers and writers to make this thing happen, it’s just an honor to be bringing it home. It’s been a learning curve for me. I think the album will be out in the early fall. Coming off The Voice, it’s been nothing but a blessing. I’m real excited for people to hear the album. For me to write and record and tour, I hope that is what I do for the rest of my days.”