By Kevin Greer, Lakeside Communications Manager

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Girl Named Tom (GNT) is on a tour that will last until a couple days before Christmas. One of the stops siblings Caleb, Josh, and Bekah Liechty will make is Lakeside.

The winners of NBC’s “The Voice” were kind enough to take the time to do an exclusive interview with the Lakesider while on the road before their originally scheduled June 24 Hoover Auditorium show. The topics covered included their lives before and after the show, their visit to Lakeside last season, their father — who passed away in January, just a few weeks after “The Voice” ended — and his influence on them, and other career possibilities, among others.

Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.

Lakesider: Did you ever visit Lakeside before you came here last year?

Bekah: None of us were there before. It was our first time and it’s so beautiful there.

Lakesider: When you were here, what did you do?

Caleb: We stayed at the Hotel Lakeside and it was really nice. It has a beautiful screened-in porch. We liked the cool, old funky pianos in the lobby. We played mini golf, that was fun. We had ice cream and went to eat with our family. The ice cream was amazing.

Lakesider: What are your thoughts about coming back and performing in Hoover this time?

Bekah: We played at the Pavilion last year and it was really awesome. We had a great crowd on the lawn. (Lakeside Director of Arts Programming) Shirley (Stary) said, “Next time I want you to be in the auditorium.” And we were like “No way!” Now it’s happening and we’re so excited to be in that auditorium. It’s beautiful.

Lakesider: What made you decide to start a band?

Josh: We were all at different levels in education and we were all at a break. We had a year off kind of thing. That was our mentality. It was our mom’s idea to start a band. For the first year, we just traveled around the country. We sang songs to friends and family and we fell in love with it. So, we haven’t looked back since then.

Lakesider: Tell us a little bit about the name you picked for your group.

Bekah: People wonder why we are called Girl Named Tom. The story is that when I was a baby, Josh called me “Thomas.” So, nobody understood why he was calling his little sister “Thomas.” But then years later when we started the band, we thought, that is our band name, Girl Named Tom.

Lakesider: Were you talked into going on “The Voice” or did the three of you decide to do it?

Caleb: Kind of a little bit of both. Our very first show was at a winery, and people came up and said we should be on “The Voice.” We never took that very seriously because we know that “The Voice” tends to be a solo (singer) show. But then, as we thought about it more, and actually, a couple years later, our vocal teacher sent us an email saying that tryouts are ending the next day, so why not just do a virtual tryout and send an audition tape. And so Bekah convinced Josh and I to do it with her. That’s how it started. It was a last-minute decision and we’re like “OK, sure. We’ll do it.” And look at it now. It’s crazy.

Lakesider: Of all the talent shows out there, why did you pick “The Voice”?

Caleb: That’s the only one we ever really thought about.

Josh: Well, we grew up watching it. We watched the first number of seasons and we really loved it back then. And we heard that it’s more of a supportive family-style competition show rather than like “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent” or whatever. So that attracted us to it. Trios were having success on it. And in fact, we just really wanted to do one of the shows, so “The Voice” was an option.

Lakesider: You start performing, then all four judges turn around. Was it hard to concentrate when that happened?

Bekah: Oh, definitely. It was really hard to keep going and from bursting out into laughter. It was really, really crazy. But we practiced that song (“Helplessly Hoping”) probably 1,000 times before we sang it on that stage. And I think at that point, it was kind of just muscle memory.

Lakesider: How did you prepare yourself for when the judges turned around?

Bekah: They do a great job of making sure you’re prepared. If nobody turns around, just keep singing your song regardless of whatever happened. We were ready to do it, and it was the best we could do. Even if no judge turned around, just take it through to the end.

Josh: There was a box at the back that they told us to look at. I just didn’t move my gaze from that spot. I knew the chairs were turning in my peripheral vision. But I was like, “All right, stay focused don’t look at them or I’ll lose it.”

Lakesider: As the season went on, did you guys become more comfortable, more stressful, or a little bit of both?

Caleb: A little bit of both. One amazing thing is by the end of the show, how at home we felt with the staff and the crew on and off stage. We knew everyone by name. They knew us and we danced together to other contestants’ songs. We laughed together and had inside jokes with some of the bandmates. All that made us more comfortable. But then the stress came along as well, just because there were fewer and fewer contestants, and our friends were leaving the show every Tuesday. It was both more comfortable but also more stressful. Just a weird, weird time.

Lakesider: What was it like being coached by Kelly Clarkson?

Bekah: She was great. She’s made a career for herself out of the out of a competition show (“American Idol”). And so that’s exactly where we’re sitting right now after “The Voice.” The past few months have been very full of writing and performing and getting our stuff out there and that’s what Kelly said, “Do not let “The Voice” be your peak. You are bound for greatness. Don’t stay there and don’t idolize that timeframe. Real work begins now.” In February we hit the ground running and it has been so fun to share our original music with crowds from all across the country. When we performed in Columbia, Tennessee, that was live streamed all across the world and we did a lot of our new songs that have just been written and we’re so excited. Winning “The Voice” was awesome, and while we are so grateful for that experience, it really positioned us for what we’re doing right now. And now we’re back to the grind.

Lakesider: What advice did she give you that really stuck?

Caleb: Just how much work it takes. No matter what level you are at if you’re choosing to be a musician with your life and making that a career, you have to work super hard every day.

Lakesider: When your name was called as the winner on the season finale it was quite the life-changing moment for you three, wasn’t it?

Bekah: Oh, absolutely. We would not be sitting on this little minibus, then testing the soundstage at Memphis, Tennessee, across from Elvis’ mansion for our next performance. Every opportunity we get to sing for people and sing directly to their hearts, we’re so grateful for the support and love we felt not only from our family and friends but strangers and people who are becoming friends. Fans from all over the place are telling us how our music is really meaningful to them. And that’s the goal.

Lakesider: Has winning “The Voice” sunk in yet or are you still trying to process it?

Josh: The goal is for it to never really quite soaked in. Always stay hungry, because I think there’s an attitude where we’re, like what Bekah was saying, we don’t want winning “The Voice” to be our peak. We want to keep growing. We want to keep getting better at what we do. So yeah, keep the attitude of humility but also really, really trying to push ourselves for greater things.

Lakesider: Do you still keep in touch with Kelly Clarkson or any other judges from the show?

Caleb: Yeah, we text Kelly every once in a while and she texts us every once in a while. We’re just supporting each other from afar. We’re both doing a lot of things and on a daily basis. So, we can’t talk a lot but it’s so special to have that relationship.

Lakesider: You have had some ups and downs over the past few months. How have you handled that?

Josh: It’s really special to be able to do this with each other and have three of us kind of share the burden and share the heartache and the highs to keep each other accountable. We don’t let any of us get our heads too big.

Caleb: I would say having the community of the three of us siblings, our family, and then the community of our hometown, we have a lot of people who are supporting us and holding us up. To have these crazy experiences that we’re having, it’s cathartic and it’s really meaningful to be able to do that for our career.

Lakesider: How much of an influence did your dad have on you?

Caleb: Last time we were at Lakeside dad was with us.

Bekah: We have a beautiful picture of him sitting on the lawn, listening to us, and his expression, you can read it and it makes us so proud. He was in a lot of pain at that time, and for a lot of the last four years, he lived with pain. We’re so glad he’s free of that now and he can have the best seat in the house every night we perform. He is a huge inspiration to us because he was in a band in high school, and he worked at his dad’s John Deere dealership. He always kind of knew that he would have to settle down and take the reigns over for his dad. That’s something that our dad never put on us, that we had to take over his reign. He really set us free to do this dream and just go for it and having his belief in us. It means everything and is very close to our core. We love him so much.

Lakesider: With all that you’ve gone through, did you have a chance to just sit back and take a break?

Josh: We’ve had a couple of crucial weeks where we’re able to take a deep breath. That’s super important to not burn ourselves out. Our management and everybody who’s on our team is understanding of that. They’re going fill all the days that we don’t ask off, so it’s up to us to really set those boundaries and say, “OK, these are going be days for us to recover mentally and physically and get some rest and have some fun.” But it is such a joy to do what we’re doing. So that helps, too.

Lakesider: Are you working on an album while on tour?

Caleb: We’ll definitely have new music coming out. We’re working on it as we speak. That’s like half of what we do, put music out for everyone to listen and we haven’t been able to do that. So that’s one thing that our whole team is really excited about, but there are so many steps. Because we’re so busy touring, finding time to get in the studio has been a little bit difficult. But we’re prioritizing it and can’t wait to get the music out.

Lakesider: What can we expect at your Hoover show?

Caleb: It’ll look a lot different than last year, that’s for sure. We’re going to have a bassist and a drummer with us. We’re going to be singing new songs that we literally just wrote in the last month. We’re also going to be singing songs that people have heard ever since “The Voice” or even before. It’s just exciting to be able to share all this music. It’s going to be a great time.

Lakesider: Do you guys have any pre-show traditions that you do before going on stage?

Bekah: Yeah, we circle up and we kind of do a little pep talk. Josh gives us a little speech. It’s a really good centering time to focus and get our heads together. We’re a team on stage and we’re there for each other. The energy starts there and the fans give us so much support. That’s a cool circle.

Lakesider: What is your favorite song to perform?

Josh: It’s a new song. It’s not really anywhere yet, but it’s called “Asking for a Friend.” It’s super high-energy. We’re all playing instruments and it’s kind of a jump-up and down song and a lot of fun.

Lakesider: What are some other artists that you’re inspired by when you’re writing your own music?

Caleb: First of all, our dad was a big inspiration. John Mayer and Harry Styles are huge influences.

Josh: I really like Phoebe Bridgers and Adrianne Lenker.

Bekah: I think my biggest inspiration is Joni Mitchell. I like a lot of her folk writing.

Lakesider: Caleb and Joshua both have biochemistry degrees and Bekah’s start to college has been put on hold. Does this mean you’re not going to become doctors?

Caleb: Not for the foreseeable future, that’s for sure. Never say never. The degrees aren’t doing us a whole lot of good at the moment, but we’re glad to have them anyway.

Lakeside marketing interns Lindsey Bonte, Hadyn Burrell, and Martina Martinez contributed to the interview.