After almost giving up on her musical career, singer/song writer Juliet Simms is riding a wave of a success following her 2012 run on NBC's hit reality competition "The Voice."
The 26-year-old rocker from Clearwater is on track to have a banner year in 2013.
"Right now I'm working in an album that should come out in the spring and that inevitably will be followed by a tour," says Simms, the Season 2 runner-up on "The Voice."
It's a tour that she hopes will include the Tampa-Clearwater area where she has family and friends. Simms, a Scientologist, visits here often.
In early December, she made a triumphant return to the musical competition where she performed her first post-"Voice" single, "Wild Child," which was released on iTunes the following day.
"I thought I had graduated from 'The Voice' college but when I went back it felt incredible," Simms said in a telephone interview shortly after the show aired.
"I was out there getting to show my followers, my fans and America who I was and how I wanted to present myself," she says. "I got to go out and be myself and that felt liberating."
She says "Wild Child" is the "perfect first single" for her because it sums up her life.
"I've been performing since I was a little girl and I went on the road at age 15," she says. "The song is about being who you are and not having to change, living proudly and never giving up. It comes from my personal life as well as from letters from fans and followers who have shared their struggles with me."
Lyrics in the rock single, written by Simms, include several telling lines:
"I'm coming in hot. And those eyes keep looking at me;
"I'm over the top. And I like my chemistry.
"I'm a lot to handle. I do what I want. I ain't shy.
"I'm a wild child. Sitting on my throne."
An accompanying video has scenes of Los Angeles second-hand record shops, tattoo parlors and Simms performing on stage in tight shorts and stilettos.
Home schooled, the Clearwater native has spent much of her life alternating between Florida and California. Now based in Los Angles, she considers Clearwater her hometown. "I miss Florida, especially on rainy days," says Simms.
Her parents, Jeff and Natalie Simms, who live in Clearwater, have supported her dream to become a rock singer.
She got her musical start performing in area clubs and in California. She got the attention of the recording industry in 2006 after several of her songs were uploaded to MySpace and were licensed to MTV for use on "The Real World" and "Road Rules." Over the next four years she was signed to several labels but her career seemed to be stalled.
She and her brother bassist Tommy Simms teamed with Daniel Currier and Sean Noll, to form the Tampa-based band Automatic Loveletter, which debuted its first album in 2010. The group joined the Warped Tour that same year.
Simms says that after being signed to five labels without much success and traveling in vans, buses and by train to play small venues, she was getting weary.
"That kind of life is a hard road and I was beginning to rethink it," she says. "My experience on 'The Voice' could not have come at a better time. It was exciting and humbling at the same time."
Her renditions of The Beatles "Oh, Darling," The Police's "Roxanne," James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" and a duet with her coach and judge Cee Lo Green on "Born to be Wild" won her legions of fans.
Simms' recording of "Roxanne" reached the top spot on the iTunes Rock chart last spring. Many followers of "The Voice" were predicting that she would win.
But on the season finale, she came in second to Jermaine Paul, a former backup singer for Alicia Keys. During the final round, she struggled with a cold and missed some rehearsals.
"I'm not gonna lie; I wanted to win," she says. "I've always been a competitive person. When I was a little kid, I was the person in the family who wanted to win the games. But honestly, it didn't matter to win or lose because just being able to get out there and show who you are is important."
"Only a couple of times, I've thought it would have been cool to be the winner," she adds. "But Jermaine is really amazing and I'm happy to have made it to second place."
A prolific song writer, Simms is working on an album, collaborating with Green who has signed on to help manage her career and may be contributing songs to her first album.
"We connect in so many ways," Simms says. "He is a rebel who does things on his own terms. He's also an incredible artist who so many great ideas."
Simms says her goal is "to tour the world and keep putting out records."
"I want to be the symbol of female empowerment," she says. "I want to bring back the female rock star and make a statement for people everywhere that you can achieve what you set out to accomplish."
Occupation: Singer, songwriter
Experience: Vocalist for Automatic Loveletter; finshed second on NBC’s singing reality show "The Voice"
"My experience on ‘The Voice’ could not have come at a better time. It was exciting and humbling at the same time."