Exclusive: ‘The Voice’ Season 25 Winner Asher HaVon Talks Coach Reba McEntire’s “Validation” and Making the Next “Greatest Ballad”

Ever since his Blind Auditions performance of Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” Asher HaVon and landing Reba McEntire as his coach, Asher HaVon blazed through season 25 of The Voice to the win. Throughout the season, the 31-year-old Selma, Alabama native delivered flawless performances of David Guetta and Sia‘s “Titanium” during The Playoffs, “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men when he was in the Top 9, along with Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”

When HaVon covered Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable,” coach John Legend said “Asher, my dad texted me this week and said, ‘Asher is the Voice.’”

Born and raised in Selma, HaVon moved to Atlanta, Georgia in December 2023, but paid tribute to his hometown in an episode of The Voice on May 13. “I would not be here without Selma,” said HaVon. “Selma has given me a foundation that I don’t believe I would have gotten anywhere else. The people in Selma understand what it means to come from small beginnings and face the world. She’s a beautiful example of how to handle adversity gracefully and rise above it, and still stand.”

HaVon added, “As an artist, every time I stand on stage, I just feel like the strength that Selma has taught me always shows up and [will] catapult me forward.”

Videos by American Songwriter

McEntire said that HaVon deserved to win and was “what this show’s all about,” during the first night of the season 25 finale. “Finding talent that is so raw, they don’t even know what they’re doing,” said McEntire. “I would feel like a proud mama if Asher won ‘The Voice.'”

Before his win, HaVon shared his gratitude for his coach. “Thank you for giving me such a safe place to be my authentic self,” he told McEntire. “Thank you for making me believe in myself, and I promise I will never let you down.”

HaVon spoke to American Songwriter the day after his win about his journey on Team Reba, going to the big screen and Broadway, and why he’ll never button the bottom of a vest again.

American Songwriter: You’ve had quite the journey. I know the obvious question is “How do you feel?” But was there anything that surprised you during your time on The Voice?

Asher HaVon: I have lived in every moment of this experience, not thinking about a lot but just enjoying the entire experience. So I think every little moment has been a twinkle of surprise.

AS: Going into The Voice, you had uncertainties about yourself. Did all of that disappear the moment Reba turned her chair?

AH: Going into the show, I was broken. I was so broke, and I was lost. I was confused about what I was supposed to do, not understanding my destiny, even though for such a long time, I’ve been told “You’re such a great singer.” But when it doesn’t happen, you think “Maybe I’m not. Maybe I should do something else.”

The validation that came when Reba turned her chair solidified my purpose and what I felt I was supposed to be doing—and that is singing.

AS: On The Voice, there’s so much one can learn within a brief time, from stage presence to performing on TV, and more, but you seemed to have had this all down before you arrived there. What else did you pick up from the experience?

AH: Not to button the bottom of my vest. It’s like a TV thing. I would wonder why they were unbuttoned every time. I would button it, then a wardrobe person would walk by and unbutton it. I buttoned it all the way down and she said “On TV men do not button the bottom of their vest.” Don’t wear a vest if you don’t want the bottom buttoned.

AS: Your background is gospel. What did gospel music teach you about music?

AH: Gospel taught me how to stand in front of a crowd and allow them to feel the emotions that you’re feeling and allow them to react, and you react. It’s almost like a conversation being had without being had—all about feelings and emotions. Gospel music taught me to sing with feeling, to sing with emotion, and to think about what I’m singing.

Another big thing gospel music taught me was to get in touch with my “right-now” feelings. If I’m going through something, sing through that, and somebody else will feel it.

AS: Musically, do you know which direction you’d like to go?

AH: I can sing anything, but I really want to do some big ballads. I’ve always heard my voice in movies so maybe singing on soundtracks, which is why I love Celine Dion so much. Maybe my next greatest ballad is in the next greatest love movie. That’ll be amazing. And I would love to perform on Broadway.

AS: As far as songwriting, is that something you want to dig into more?

I love songwriting, but I also have a lot to give. I feel like my writing allows me to say and give at the same time. So hopefully, I’m going to be doing a lot of writing and a lot of recording.

The Voice Live Finale Part 2, Episode 2517B: Reba McEntire (l) and Asher HaVon (Photo: Griffin Nagel/NBC)

AS: You were also working on a short film called The Cure? Is that on hold at the moment?

We were working on that and then I won The Voice, so now The Cure, The Medicine—everything— done just pause. It now has to sit in the back seat.

AS: What does being the first openly gay contestant to win The Voice mean to you?

AH: I am so proud to be the first LGBTQ winner for The Voice. Anything is possible. And you can be your authentic self. You can show up however you want to show up. What’s for you is for you, and nothing could ever change that.

AS: So you won The Voice. What happens next?

AH: I feel like I’m already on to the next, and I’m enjoying it. Just like I lived in the moment on the show, I’m living in the moment now even talking to you, just embracing every moment of it.

AS: That’s a wonderful way to look at things. Being in the present, that’s very difficult for some people. How have you stayed in this mindset, especially while on The Voice?

AH: There’s a lot of chaos I’ve had to endure. I think one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my life is that time does not stop … for good, for bad. I’ve lost a lot. Time didn’t stop. I’ve celebrated. Time didn’t stop. So what I found out was even in those moments, I was missing time. Now in this time, I’ve just made myself feel everything so that my experience can be greater.

Photo: Tyler Golden/NBC

Beach Boys Members, Including Ailing Brian Wilson, Attend Hollywood Screening of New Disney+ Documentary

Beach Boys Members, Including Ailing Brian Wilson, Attend Hollywood Screening of New Self-Titled Documentary

The Story Behind “19th Nervous Breakdown” by The Rolling Stones and How the Tension Affecting the Band at the Time Informed a Classic