5 Things to Know About Ian Flanigan

Ian Flanigan spent more than a decade on the road touring before he auditioned for The Voice in February 2020. The contestant was named third place during Season 19 of the singing competition and formed a friendship with mentor Blake Shelton, who collaborated with the singer on “Grow Up.”

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In the years since The Voice, Flanigan has continued to write and release music. Following his 2022 offering, Strong, Flanigan is working on an acoustic project. American Songwriter caught up with the singer/songwriter at Live In The Vineyard Goes Country in April to learn more of the stories behind his songs and what’s next for Flanigan.

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Below are five things to know about Flanigan.

He began pursuing music in his youth

“I basically started my musical journey as a kid. When I was 17, I started touring the country. At 24, I found myself living in Georgia with my second cousins. We were living a different life down there. At those times, I was a little more wild. I haven’t drank in about seven years now, but we used to have this drinking game with moonshine where every time a mousetrap would go off in the house, we’d take a shot. … I lived down there for only like six, seven months.

“I’m grateful that we got through all those bad decisions. And now we can look back and learn from all those lessons. So, for me, [‘Devil in My Hands”] is my early years of sobriety and getting on that path.”

He’s an advocate for sobriety and mental health

“I got in a bar fight one time down in Georgia. If you have disorderly conduct, you can’t leave the state. I have a line in [‘Devil in My Hands’] where it’s, ‘I’ll see you next spring before July.’ A lot of people wouldn’t realize that that’s actually for when that [disorderly conduct] passes.

“For the record, I didn’t start anything. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I got a disorderly conduct there. If you don’t pay it, it has a 12-month holding where you can’t go. It was like $700. … I’m actually a really big advocate for sobriety, mental health, and destigmatizing all that stuff. Everybody’s struggling through something, whether you gotta laugh about it or cry about it to get through it. I like to talk about that stuff because you’re only one step away from somebody who’s hurting. Those songs to me are my favorite because they’re real.”

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He visited Muscle Shoals for his next project

“In mid-July, we’re releasing a collection of acoustic versions off my latest record Strong. I went down to Muscle Shoals, got a nice acoustic band together that we released more of a gritty, raw performance of a few of the songs off Strong.”

His next chapter of uplifting music

“I’ve gotten through so many personal dark times in my life and low moments that I really am trying for this next chapter of my life to channel that in a way that is uplifting and empowering. Maybe from a first-person point of view or third-person point of view [in my music of] acknowledging, respecting the hardships and moving forward with gratitude for who they made me today.

“I know it’s kind of open-ended. I’m not in a chapter where I’m looking for validation from my own music as much as I’m looking for something real, that I feel like I can give to people, and we can share it together.”

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How he stays inspired

“You can always find a way to be more grateful. Whatever is going wrong, it’s gonna pass. So those are the things I like to focus on. But also, I write a lot of upbeat, a lot of happy [songs].

“‘Under a Southern Sky’ is much more of a feel-good, Friday night, small town celebrating the small things that make your life big, like your friends, community [song]. I’m working with some new writers, going back into the whole Nashville scene as well. I’m really excited to be playing shows and getting back in the studio.”

(Photo Credit: LITV/JETBLACK/Ryan Waneka/Courtesy of Aristo Media)

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