Tennessee contestant on "The Voice" chasing a delayed dream

Oct. 3, 2016: At 57, Dan Shafer is the oldest contestant on this season of NBC's "The Voice." The Nashville-area singer is chasing his dream of a music career.

NASHVILLE - The oldest contestant on this season of NBC's "The Voice" is a Tennessee man chasing his dreams.

Nashville-area singer Dan Shafer wowed the judges in the first week of The Voice blind auditions.

Even though country singer Blake Shelton was the only judge who turned his chair around, Adam Levine told Shafer, "that was the hardest I'd ever deliberated over anybody before."

WBIR 10News met with Shafer in Nashville.

"I was humbled and grateful," he said.

Recalling his performance, Shafer said he got nervous toward the end of his song, when no judge had yet chosen him.

"And then all of a sudden, I felt a peace. 'Okay,' I said, 'This is it, then,'" Shafer said. "Then all of a sudden - bam!"

That's the moment Shelton hit his buzzer and turned his chair, as a look of amazement came over his face.

That's because at 57 Shafer is, notably, the oldest contestant on The Voice this season.

"It's an honor, more than anything, to represent not only my age group but those that are older than me," Shafer said.

RELATED: Tennessee singer captivates 'Voice' judges with youthful singing, courage

Shafer played in rock & roll bands while growing up in Connecticut. That's where he met the love of his life and now wife of 32 years, Shari.

"To Shari and I, being a mom and dad was always first," Shafer said.

Life, however, presented challenges for the Shafers and their three boys.

"It was when we moved here that my oldest son, Jaime, was diagnosed with Crohn's disease," Shafer said.

"It is a disease that doesn't have a cure," his wife, who joined him for the Nashville interview, said.

A budding music career went on the back burner, with expensive medical treatments and a family of five to feed.

"Kept our chin up and we just moved forward, because that's all you can do," Shafer said. "I mean, what's the alternative, really?"

Now, though, Jaime's Crohn's disease is in remission and all three sons are grown.

"He's had to take care of us for so long, and this is quite an opportunity for him, so I'm very excited," Shari Shafer said.

With age comes experience and humility.

"We're not here to be stars, you know. We're just average," she said.

"It's not about me," Shafer agreed. "It's about me providing for my family, using my gifts, talents and abilities."

The couple carries deep gratitude rooted in a higher place.

"It was faith that really carried us through all of that," Shafer said.

No matter the outcome on The Voice, Shafer said, faith and family - not fame - make him who he is.

Shafer will appear in an upcoming "Battle Round" episode of The Voice.

RELATED: Three Tennessee contestants advance on 'The Voice'

Blind auditions continue this week. Watch The Voice Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on WBIR.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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