The third season of The Voice boasted a strong slate of contenders, but none were as accomplished or as singularly unusual as Saint Paul, Minn.’s Nicholas Mrozinski. By the time Mrozinski made the cut to appear on the 2012 edition of the NBC vocal competition program, the soulful hippie had already put out several releases on his own label (including his 2004 debut, Four Legged Light, and 2008’s The Sacred Play of Life) and earned the nickname “The Feelin’,” also the name of his longtime band.
Further distinguishing himself among the field of young hopefuls, the early-30s Mrozinski was married with two kids (plus a third on the way), and was taking a break from his active gigging schedule for a shot on The Voice. Winding up on CeeLo Green’s team, Mrozinski (who started going by “Nicholas David,” his first and middle name, when he made the show) told America about his battle to maintain sobriety, his weight issues and his spiritual journey. After providing some of the season’s most memorable moments (a stirring spin on Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On”; a tearful rendition of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” sung to his pregnant wife), Mrozinski notched a third-place finish.
After The Voice, Mrozinski returned to his working-musician career; his TV exposure led to him performing the national anthem at a Minnesota Vikings home game and playing at one of Barack Obama’s many inaugural balls. In the summer of 2013, Mrozinski issued an iTunes-exclusive EP called Say Goodbye, which was described as a cross between Mumford & Sons and Maxwell and landed in the Top 50 on Billboard’s album chart.
Last year, Mrozinski dropped his seventh recording, the well-received six-cut Make Hope. Perhaps most importantly, Nicholas Mrozinski uses his raised profile to work with a number of children’s charities — he was recently named Ambassador of Love for the humanitarian Smile Network International organization — and he runs his Wake the World label as a green business. And that’s how you make a local/global difference with folksy Soul Pop and an appearance on an innocuous talent show.
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