Jackson County

A Moss Point construction worker could turn in his hard hat for a spot on 'The Voice'

Every time Rod Stokes' phone buzzes with an incoming call or text, he jumps.

His stomach turns a bit. Nervous energy and excitement surges through his big frame.

By day, the 34-year-old Moss Point native is a construction worker in the family business.

That could all change if he ends up emerging from a group of four finalists in "The Voice's" Snapchat contest. Voting ended 6 a.m. Tuesday, so now Stokes must play the waiting game.

"It's wild. I do construction work, so I'm driving a dump truck today. I'm like, oh my lord. I'm waiting on a phone call; I'm waiting on a text; just waiting on any little thing," he said. "I know it's a Snapchat ordeal, but it's life changing.

"If you get the yes, it's truly life changing."

Stokes got here by submitting a song back in January when he found out Kelly Clarkson was a judge.

"I sent my video in Jan. 11, the very last day of the cutoff. I got a call and it was like a snowball effect from there," he said after he was selected from thousands of submissions.

Heading to Hollywood

"The Voice" flew him out to Hollywood, where he got to meet Clarkson, along with Season 13 winner Chloe Kohanski and song writer Julia Michaels.

"It was a really neat, really cool experience," he said.

Since then, the Vancleave High graduate has survived a number of votes and "battles" to land in the Final 4.

“I have an enormous family. I won off my family's votes in the battle round,” he said, laughing after pointing out his dad is the baby of 18 kids.


Speaking of babies, when Stokes told his parents he had made it into the early stages of the competition they brought a cookie cake with #TeamClarkson scrawled in icing as a sweet surprise.

"They had no idea I even submitted a video. Well my mama was beside herself. She thought we were having a baby," Stokes said. "They just couldn't put it together. Finally we said 'KELLY CLARKSON', and, look, my daddy has been the happiest old fella you've ever seen.

"He supports me. He said, you go. I told him I might have to miss work to go to Hollywood. 'Go ahead. Go!' "

Stokes grew up in a family gospel group alongside his two sisters, two cousins and brother-in-law. Nine years they traveled the region. He said he didn't take singing seriously, however, until he was 20. Now, he's got a chance to represent the Coast in Hollywood.

What's next?

If Stokes wins America's vote, he said he'll land a spot on next season's show, skipping through the blind auditions and going straight before the judges.

Stokes expects to find out later Tuesday or Wednesday whether or not he won the contest, but he won't be able to divulge the results until next Tuesday's show airs.

However, if he doesn't show for work on Tuesday, don't be alarmed — there's a good chance he's hanging with Kelly Clarkson in Los Angeles.

"If the Lord blessed me and allowed me to have something great like this I'm hoping my daddy would never have to work again," he said.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2326, @patrickochs