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ODU Grad Leland Grant Hits it Big on NBC's "The Voice"

Leland Grant

The show business career of Leland Grant, a 2004 graduate of Old Dominion University, got a boost Monday night when he and a singing partner were tapped as potential big-time talent by the celebrity panelists on NBC's "The Voice."

Grant and South Dakota native Hailey Steele, who perform together as the country/popular duo The LiNE, sang Tom Petty's "American Girl" to win an invitation to compete on the show this season. All four judges - Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton - gave the duo the thumbs-up and lobbied to coach them during the season's music competition. Grant and Steele chose to work with Aguilera.

The ODU graduate, who once sang with the Hampton Roads-based band Butter, gained national recognition as a singer and actor in 2004 on the VH1 reality show "In Search of the Partridge Family." That show lasted for seven weeks, and Grant emerged as the winner of the Keith Partridge role - played by David Cassidy in the original - in what was to be "The New Partridge Family" series. Only one episode of the new show was made, however.

Nicole Kiger, director of the Office of Student Activities and Leadership, remembers Grant well from his college days. "He was a really involved student on campus, a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Even back then he was outgoing and knew he wanted a career in the music industry. He was so talented and sang in a local band while he was in school. He's a student I always thought would get famous, and I'm so glad it's happening for him on 'The Voice!'"

Even though the new Partridge Family didn't take off, Grant told ODU Magazine in 2005 that he remained optimistic about making it as a professional musician and actor, and that he planned to stay in the Los Angeles area. At the time he was playing in clubs and coaching soccer. His website (www.lelandgrant.com) says he met Steele while visiting Nashville in 2008 and indicates that the two of them are now based there.

The Partridge Family reality show "was a new experience," he told ODU Magazine. "It took me out of my element of being on stage with a band behind me. It was eye-opening to what goes on when they produce a show like this. With that under my belt, hopefully I can move on ... to other adventures in the film and TV industry."

A native of Suffolk, Grant said in the 2005 interview that his ODU education had already served him well in his quest. His degree in interdisciplinary studies - with a focus on music business and production technology - came in handy when the new Partridge cast went into the studio to record songs for the show.

"It's nice to be experienced," he said. "People notice if you're professional. My degree helps me with that. I go into a studio and I've been on both sides of the mixing board."

"The Voice" airs on Mondays at 8 p.m.