Houston Matters

Stephanie Rice: ‘If I Didn’t Perform I Would Die’

The UH alum and former contestant on The Voice performs some new music and discusses coming out to her parents, how music helped her deal with their rejection, and about quitting her job to pursue music.

Stephanie Rice At The Piano
Stephanie Rice performs at Houston Public Media.


When Stephanie Rice came out to her parents ten years ago at age 18, she received the one response she was most afraid of: rejection. They told her "they couldn't choose their daughter over God," and they’re estranged to this day.

And, as she later recounted on her blind audition for season 12 of The Voice, she finds music is the best way for her to channel her emotions over that painful moment in her life.

Rice graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in biology and worked for a time as a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine. She would often work 50-60 hours a week and then play a couple gigs each week.

“It was a really crazy time in my life where I would go into work with a lab coat on and be running out and changing into my leather pants and going to a gig,” she said.

Since then she’s gotten married, and her wife encouraged her to try music full time. Until then, she’d always been working simply to survive and pay the bills while doing music on the side. So, she quit her job and sent in an audition video for The Voice. She got a response the next day.

Ever since, she’s been focusing on something she’s always wanted to do: sharing her story through music.

“Music has always been the sustaining force in my life — the thing that I know that saved my life,” she said. “And I felt like if I didn’t perform I would die. It was that intense.”

While in town for a lecture for the UH College of Education, Rice stopped by Houston Public Media’s Geary Performance Studio to play some new songs she's been working on and to talk with Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn about her experiences on The Voice and dealing with the rejection from her family.