Paxton Ingram says he felt high on life while competing earlier this year on Season 10 of the NBC singing competion "The Voice." Ingram had country singer Blake Shelton as his coach and pop star Gwen Stefani as an adviser. After his performances, Ingram was often praised by the other coaches, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams and Christina Aguilera.
After being eliminated in the semifinals in May, he felt as if he were going through withdrawals.
"From one day to the next, it's all done. That's the wildest feeling," Ingram, 23, says. "It was a lot of emotions going on. I was so happy that I got to live this dream. But then, it's over now, back to normal. I was like, 'Man, how do I recover? How do I sustain myself with what I have now? And how do I make sure I rise to the occasion?' "
When Ingram returned to his home in Doral, he had dozens of ideas for new songs. He moved to Los Angeles a few weeks later to work on his first album "Recover," released Oct. 28. In a smooth, airy voice, Ingram sings pop songs about returning to his normal life after leaving the show.
He'll perform these and other songs Saturday, Nov. 5, at Ali Cultural Arts in Pompano Beach. The show is part of the first anniversary celebration of the cultural center, and will be Ingram's first performance in South Florida since he left "The Voice."
"It's just so great to see my dreams kind of unravel. I waited so long for people to hear what I had to say," Ingram says. "That's been my passion ever since I was a kid, writing my own music."
Ingram began his career a few feet away from the microphone, working as backup dancer. He appeared in commercials dancing behind Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez. He danced on Univision's former variety show "Sabado Gigante," and on the first season of Telemundo's "La Voz Kids," the Spanish version of "The Voice Kids."
"It took complete control of my life. I started getting jobs, working professionally, right out of high school," Ingram recalls. "But then, being surrounded by music and artists, and seeing them creating music. I was like, 'Oh, my God. I want this for myself. I want to be an artist, and have my vision come to life onstage.' "
He quit dancing in 2012 and joined the music group at his church, Metro Life, where he performed during services.
"I just felt I wanted to sing, I felt like I did what I wanted to do as a dancer, and my time was done," he says.
The videos from his performances with Metro Life Church gave him a spot in the blind auditions for "The Voice."
"That really shaped me," he says. "It shaped my voice. It shaped me to get ready for the show. It shaped me to have durability. I can last long. It was great training."
His coach, Shelton, finished what Metro Life Church started.
"He taught me how to be a monster and go out there and give it all you've got. I take that with me every day," he says. "I'm a different person, a different performer than I was before."
Paxton Ingram will perform 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Ali Cultural Arts, 353 Hammond Blvd., in Pompano Beach. Admission is $20. Call 954-786-7876 or go to AliArts.org.