This week on NBC’s The Voice, we got to see the show’s Top 12 perform LIVE for the first time.

A local teenager knows what it’s like to sing on that stage. Emily Keener made it to the Top 12, last season.

Even before the show, the 17-year-old had gained a following in her hometown of Wakeman and surrounding communities.

Keener stopped by WKYC to talk with us about life after the show and her new album.

The high school senior admits it’s a thrill when people recognize her as a contestant from The Voice.

“When you’re going to the grocery store and just trying to get some things and all the sudden you’ve got people like, ‘You’re Emily Keener from The Voice!’ That’s pretty fun,” she said laughing.

Although she’s been performing for six years, she says the show boosted her belief in herself.

“It’s raised my confidence to the point where I can walk on stage and I know what I’m doing and I know what I want to get across to the audience, so I think that was really helpful.”

For now, she’s back in Wakeman, a town of about 1,000 people in Huron County. She says there’s a calmness there that helps her create.

“It really allowed me to have a place to grow in a quiet atmosphere,” Keener said of growing up there and developing her own voice.

She’s finishing high school at home, still performing and promoting her new album – Breakfast. It comes out Friday.

“It’s an emotional record and I think it’s a great listening experience for people.”

The 11 tracks address change, getting older, emotions and heartbreak. She’s had quite the adventure for a 17-year-old from rural Ohio. She encourages other young people to pursue their dreams, too.

“Your passion is not something to just brush aside. Find what it is you care about and work toward it, because it’s worth it. It’s really worth it.”

Visit Emily's website for information about her album and upcoming shows.