The second season of NBC's "The Voice" is over, but Laurel native and show contestant Moses Stone isn't showing any signs of slowing down.
A week after the NBC vocal competition aired its season finale and a month after Stone was eliminated from the show, the rapper is back in the area, visiting family and performing.
"I timed out my trip to match up with Mother's Day," said Stone, 25, a 2005 graduate of Laurel High. "I spent the day with my mother, my sister and my nephews; and I've seen my dad and my best friends. ... That's the hardest part about being away, missing them and not seeing (my nephews) growing up."
Stone — the stage name used by Moses Haughton — now lives in Los Angeles and is pursuing a music career.
His trip home has been a busy one. On Tuesday, May 15, Stone was scheduled to perform at Liv nightclub in the U Street corridor in Washington. Earlier in the day, he spoke to students at Oxon Hill Middle School.
"That was really good," he said Tuesday about speaking at Oxon Hill. "It's always hard to reach kids at that age, 13 and 14. You're trying to figure out your life, and what you want, and you're figuring out so many things. My goal was to go there and spread a positive message, and show kids you can be from this area and still make it out. You can be whatever you want to be."
Stone said it all relates back to something his mother tells him: "If you can touch one person, you've done your job."
Stone had the opportunity to touch a wide audience when he was selected to pop singer Christina Aguilera's team on "The Voice" in February.
The NBC reality competition features aspiring musicians performing in blind auditions, where the coaches — Aguilera, country singer Blake Shelton, R&B artist Cee Lo Green and rock musician Adam Levine — select contestants to their teams based solely on the person's voice. Contestants progressed through battle rounds and eventually live shows, but Stone was eliminated by Aguilera on April 3.
"Moses, you make me so excited," Aguilera told Stone after his performance of a medley of the Kanye West songs "Power" and "Stronger," a day before he was cut. "I love seeing you up there; I do. I think the great thing about you and the type of vocalist that you are is the fact that for your type of genre, the people on the radio and doing it are all auto-tuned … that was no auto-tune. I heard you … you started it out singing, and you closed it out singing. You're an all-in-one. You do it all."
Stone said he still keeps in touch with Aguilera through email and dreams of one day making a record with her.
"It was so impactful to work with her," he said. "She is, in my eyes, a legend of my generation; and to work with her, and for her to be so hands-on, was amazing. She really cares about your craft, and she shaped and molded me into a better artist, a better singer. ... I learned so much from her, from the other contestants. I learned a lot about show business, about the behind-the-scenes business and politics, and the whole aspect of how things work."
Stone was the first rapper to compete on the show, and said that now when people see him on the street, they say he broke boundaries.
"The show was a platform," he said. "I could show people all that I do. It made me strong, and it changed the way I am as an artist, pushing me vocally."
Stone said he has more fans than ever, and many of those fans want to hear him sing as well as rap, and he's working on doing just that. His first original single, "My Moment," is available on iTunes, and Stone said he is working on getting the song into radio airplay. He's also working on a record and said he hopes to work on a few projects with his fellow contestants.
"Expect big things from me," he said. "I'm working hard. ... People will get a whiff of my album soon, and we'll see what'll happen next."
Stone is also set to play the Sunset Music Festival in Los Angeles in August, with another former "Voice" contestant, Vicci Martinez. He'll be touring Europe, too, in addition to the United States, with shows in Italy in July.
"Going out there and performing for a completely different crowd, I'm always game for that," he said. "It's like I'm touching the world."