Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gaylord News

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gaylord News

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gaylord News

Rising stars on music scene credit nurturing from Oklahoma

OK3 members Sierra Sikes, Courtney Hooker and Kenna Fields. Photo provided.

Two Oklahoma artists appeared on this season of NBC’s “The Voice,” showcasing the talent they’ve built upon while living in the Sooner State.

The Oklahoma City-based trio OK3 secured a four-chair turn, which is when judges select an artist to join their teams, after performing “Made You Look” by Meghan Trainor during the season premiere on Feb. 26. They joined Grammy-winning R&B artist John Legend’s team.

Singer-songwriter AJ Harvey of Norman made his debut on March 11, landing a two-chair turn from Chance the Rapper and duo Dan + Shay with a performance of Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country.” Harvey moved on as part of Dan + Shay’s team.

OK3 began when Sierra Sikes, 24, Courtney Hooker, 26, and Kenna Fields, 22, met through their vocal coach. At the time, Fields was 12, Sikes was 14 and Hooker was 16. They attended nearby schools in the Oklahoma City area, allowing them to foster a friendship that would continue into their careers.

“We were together all the time,” said Hooker. “Probably six days a week, whether or not it would be us actually practicing or rehearsing for something, or if it was just us having sleepovers or hanging out.”

In 2017, the members of OK3 went their separate ways. Hooker said they always aspired to come together again in adulthood.

“We came back together because of this opportunity,” Hooker said. “It was so quick, and it just felt right.”

Hooker graduated in 2020 from the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma with degrees in vocal performance and commercial music. Sikes also attended UCO, graduating with a degree in musical theater in 2021. Fields is a senior at the university studying contemporary music.

Harvey, 25, grew up in Wichita, Kansas, and moved to Norman in 2020. A member of the Ponca Tribe and Pawnee Nation, he attended powwows as a child and developed an interest in  traditional ceremonial music.

Harvey said he keeps the contemporary music he performs and the powwow songs he grew up around separate, but draws connections between his own chords and the emotion found in traditional Native tunes.

“You might hear a song that makes you choke up,” Harvey said. “We always were told that that’s a good thing, that maybe the spirit of that song and hearing that drum (is) medicine for us.”

Harvey said having a Native background and relatives in central Oklahoma gave him an opportunity to move to Norman and become involved in its local music scene. 

“A goal of my moving here was to make a name for myself, in whatever way that was,” Harvey said.

Harvey has a residency at The Deli. He takes the stage every Thursday night with the band Biscuits and Groovy and has performed at venues around Norman and Oklahoma City such as Beer City Music Hall and Ponyboy.

While living in Wichita, Harvey performed in local businesses such as coffee shops and bookstores. Norman has provided him with an array of venues as well as connections with artists in the local music scenes.

“After I moved here, I really wanted to develop songwriting that I thought was me,” Harvey said. “I’ve gotten to see other aspects of people (in Norman) who really take to that craft.”

Scott Booker, manager of the Grammy-winning band The Flaming Lips and founder of UCO’s Academy of Contemporary Music, said the opening of venues in central Oklahoma has played a key role in its flourishing music scene.

“One of the things we didn’t have when ACM first started was what I like to call a venue ladder,” Booker said. “We had very small venues and we had bigger venues, but we didn’t have very many in between.”

Another factor lending support to musicians in central Oklahoma is its abundance of universities with music programs. Among them are UCO, Oklahoma City University and the University of Oklahoma. UCO is Oklahoma’s only university with a contemporary music program.

“If you look at before ACM and then now, you’ll notice that there’s so many more venues,” Booker said. “There’s all these venues that have opened up, and I think it’s a direct relation to more people focused on music.”

ACM provides opportunities for students to work with local and touring professionals. Faculty members have worked with Grammy-winning artists such as Miley Cyrus, Elton John and Reba.

“All of the professors there are in their own projects,” Hooker said. “Now that I’m out of college, and I’ve grown and been in the industry for a bit, I’ve played gigs, like with my old professors, which is so cool.”

Because Fields is a student at ACM, she said, having professors in the music industry was helpful as she balanced academics while competing on “The Voice.”

“At the school, all the professors understand, you know, they’ve been in the industry, they’ve done this,” Fields said. “They offer any help and advice, and I can use the facilities when I need. So that’s really nice, because I feel like a lot of other majors wouldn’t necessarily be as understanding.”

Harvey said when he received an Instagram message for casting in December 2022, he thought it was a scam. Once the new year rolled around, he responded, beginning the audition process that led to his nationwide emergence.

“This was a whole other ballgame for me,” Harvey said. “You’re out there in front of these excellent musicians and performers, and you get to see what they think of you. Overall, it was an incredible experience.”

During his blind audition, Harvey said he was trying to keep himself centered.

“All I kept saying to myself was ‘this is just another show at The Deli,’” Harvey said. “I look up and see Chance the Rapper and Dan + Shay looking at me and I was like ‘alright, we’re good.’”

Fields said OK3 spoke with other contestants on the show about Oklahoma’s reputation for country music.

“I think what we wanted to show is that there’s a lot of versatility in the Oklahoma music scene that people aren’t aware of,” Fields said.

OK3 and Harvey were eliminated from “The Voice” in their respective battle rounds, which are when two artists on the same team perform one song together, with their coach deciding who will move on to the next round.  Harvey was defeated by 17-year-old Anya True in a performance of John Mayer’s “Half of My Heart.” 

Legend chose 20-year-old Zoe Levert after her battle with OK3, describing her as the “underdog” against the trio.

Having gained exposure from “The Voice,” Sikes said, OK3 wants to continue to build their platforms locally and nationally. Hooker said OK3 is hoping to release original music, and released her own original song “Then I Met You,” on March 21.

“We’re really trying to build off of the momentum from the show,” Sikes said. “Now it’s not just Oklahoma people that know us, (but) we’re getting people from the north and west, and all that, that are telling us that they’re rooting for us.”

Harvey said his goal as a musician is to establish an audience for himself, and his experience on “The Voice” gave him a chance to hone in on this aspiration.

“I hope to have a following of people that like what I do and like what I have to say, musically,” Harvey said. “At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing, and to make the music that’s most me as much as I can be.”

Harvey released his original song “If You Wanted To You Would” on April 5, and will headline Norman Music Festival on April 27.

OK3’s and Harvey’s performances can be viewed on NBC’s “The Voice” YouTube channel. “The Voice” airs every Monday and Tuesday at 7 pm.


Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more stories by Gaylord News, go to

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