Addison Agen, second place winner on Season 13 of NBC's "The Voice," was looking for a break from the chaos of life last year when she came to Mount Carmel Family Camp and Conference Center in Alexandria.
Her pastor knew Jonathan Swenson, program director at Mount Carmel. Swenson invited Agen to unwind at the camp for a week of rest.
"It is just such a place of peace and you can do whatever your heart needs. You can spend actual quality time with God," she said.
This year, the 18-year-old recording artist from Fort Wayne, Indiana is back at Mount Carmel and she's performing a concert at the end of the week, hoping to give back to the camp. Held in the chapel on the Mount Carmel grounds, the show will start at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 13. Proceeds from the event will go to Mount Carmel.
Agen said she experiences God through music, even when the music isn't necessarily for worship. Last year, she was so inspired during her time here that she wrote a song at Mount Carmel.
"She's really good," Swenson said.
He watched Agen on the show before he knew of the connection with her pastor.
"Even from the first audition I thought she had a phenomenal voice ... it stood out to me as very unique and beautiful."
During Saturday's show, Agen plans to share some personal stories. Also on the repertoire are songs set to be released in the fall on her new album. These songs are going to be sandwiched between covers of country tunes and worship songs. Her brother, Korrigan, and mother, Kristine, will be opening for Agen.
Agen's mother is a music therapist. As a young child, she followed her mother in her office, observing how music was changing people's lives. That's what inspired her to follow her own musical path.
"Singing came really naturally to me," she said. She picked up piano and guitar and started songwriting when she was nine or ten, she said.
Since "The Voice," she's received national attention and increased performance opportunities. She recently opened four concerts for Bob Seger in Detroit.
Growing as an artist
Agen first created an album when she was 13, and for the one she's releasing this year, she focused on honing in on her sound, she said. The main genres explored include folk and soul and the lyrics are centered around storytelling: finding peace among chaos, feeling calmness and feeling love.
She said her second album is a lot different, because she has grown significantly. Her first album was entitled "New Places" and was about seeing the world, which she said in that area she feels she has changed.
"I feel like I know a lot more about who I am, through my experiences," Agen said.
She even physically has a new look, which she said has caused some people not to recognize her as the star they saw on TV two years ago. "I have glasses now, I don't wear makeup," Agen said. "I don't spend six hours in the hair and makeup chair every day."
She's studied songwriting on her own, and so far going to college is not in her future plans. She will graduate from high school in December and plans to tour in the Midwest after graduation. She also plans to write more music.
"As odd as it sounds, going to college is not the smartest thing for me right now," she said. However, college may be something Agen pursues later.
Agen said she is excited to perform at Mount Carmel. She has been a camp counselor for the past week and is eager to share the musical part of herself with the other counselors.
"It's been very cool to watch her serving others," Swenson said. He said she blends in with the staff. "There's no ego. She's just wonderfully one of them."
If you go
• What: Addison Agen concert
• When: Saturday, July 13, at 7 p.m.
• Where: Mount Carmel Family Camp and Conference Center, 800 Mt. Carmel Dr. NE, Alexandria
• Tickets: Adults 18+: $15, Children under 18: $10