Bryce Vine, Alex Newell & 13 More 'Glee Project' Stars Who Launched Music Careers
Those who hadn't heard Bryce Vine's sultry hit "Drew Barrymore" before the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards were introduced to the rising singer-songwriter's smooth voice and slick style as he performed on the pre-show Monday night. But with or without "Drew Barrymore," those who were Gleeks back when the musical series Glee was on Fox may recognize Vine for a different reason: The 30-year-old got his start on The Glee Project.
Vine was one of 12 hopefuls vying for a spot on Glee through the reality competition series, which launched on Oxygen in 2011. Though The Glee Project only lasted two seasons, it helped land several of the show's contestants a guest star or semi-permanent role on Glee, but Vine was not one of them -- in fact, Bryce (who at the time went by Bryce Ross-Johnson) was the first to be booted off season 1. But that didn't stop him from pursuing his dream, and he went on to attend the Berklee College of Music, where he met his now-producer Nolan Lambroza, aka Sir Nolan, who has worked with Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and more -- and now Vine has his first Billboard Hot 100 hit, as "Drew Barrymore" just debuted at No. 91 on the Aug. 25-dated chart.
But Vine isn't the only one who has proven successful since his Glee Project days: His season 1 castmate Alex Newell has had hits on our dance charts, and season 2's Shanna Henderson's project Harper Grae was just named to CMT's Artist Discovery initiative.
Below, check out what 15 Glee Project alums have been up to in the music world since their days of trying to impress Ryan Murphy.
Prior to "Drew Barrymore" garnering attention, Vine released two EPs (2014's Lazy Fair and 2016's Night Circus) and three singles that now have more than 20 million combined streams on Spotify. In 2018, the New York City native re-released "Drew Barrymore" with Wale featured on the song, a full EP of "Drew Barrymore" remixes and another new track titled "On the Ball." He's now prepping his debut album with Sire Records and was recently named Pepsi's latest Sound Drop artist. This fall, Vine's fellow Sound Drop buddy MAX will bring him on the road for 12 shows across North America.
Glee fans may know Newell better as Wade "Unique" Adams, the transgender teen he portrayed for three seasons of the show after finishing as a runner-up on the first season of The Glee Project -- one of the first transgender characters on a prime time show. Newell signed with Big Beat Records in 2013, releasing his debut single (a cover of Sigma's "Nobody to Love") in 2014. He delivered disco-tinged covers of Clean Bandit's "Stronger" and "Robin S's "Show Me Love," also teaming up with electro-pop acts Blonde and The Knocks for a pair of collaborations.
Following the release of his debut EP, POWER, in February 2016, Newell joined Adam Lambert on tour, then released three more tracks, including a song with Nile Rodgers, DJ Cassidy and Jess Glynne called "Kill the Lights" that earned him a No. 1 hit on the Dance Club Songs chart. Though he hasn't released any new music since, Newell has had other musical success: The now 26-year-old made his Broadway debut as Asaka in the revival of Once on This Island in 2017.
After winning season 1 of The Glee Project (along with co-winner Samuel Larsen), McGinty -- an Ireland native -- earned a seven-episode role on Glee as an Irish exchange student named Rory Flanagan that was extended through the end of season 3. After his time on the show, McGinty returned to Celtic Thunder for another run with the popular Irish group after spending four years in it as a teen. McGinty had been writing his own music amid all his ventures, and he officially launched a solo career in March with the debut EP No More Time, which was followed by an intimate-venue North American tour through May.
Like McGinty, Larsen also won a seven-episode arc on Glee but was extended through the end of season 3 and into season 4. He's channeled his smoky tone into funky guitar-driven tunes, releasing a five-song EP called Vices in 2014. He put out another four-song EP called You Should Know (as well as the single "Education") in 2016, then two more singles in 2017: a romantic '60s-esque rocker "Blue" and a bluesy bass thumper "Give In to Me." Based in LA, Larsen plays shows around the area and filled in on bass for Palaye Royale on Good Charlotte's Youth Authority Tour in Canada last year.
The season 1 contestant had already released an EP titled Love Can Wait when he was on The Glee Project under his own moniker, releasing a Christmas EP and a full-length LP (The Mystery That Is) the year after his time on the show. But in 2013, Mitchell ditched his birth name and his power-pop sound for RVRB, an alias that has seen him channel a wavier, more electronic vibe. Two years after his psychedelic first single "Lost in the Wild," RVRB released the six-song EP Faded in 2015, followed by a pair of singles in 2016 ("Need You Still" and "Think It Over"). In July, Mitchell declared that RVRB was "starting over" on July 13, when he released his new single "Ex," a synth-laden track that puts emphasis on Mitchell's breathy vocals.
Three years after her time on season 2 of The Glee Project, Henderson also took on a new name for her music venture. The Nashville-based singer now goes by Harper Grae, sticking to her Southern roots with country music. Henderson's big voice and heartfelt country songs like "Good in Your Goodbye" and "Bloodline" have garnered her a lot of attention in recent months, earning her a spot on the CMA Spotlight Stage at CMA Fest in June and CMT's Artist Discovery initiative earlier this month.
The season 2 contestant has spent most of 2018 promoting her critically acclaimed new movie Some Freaks, but she has also been in the studio pursuing a solo music venture as Lily Harrington. She has spent the last few years maintaining the acting/singing balance, posting videos of covers and original songs to her YouTube channel, along with some songs she made with two friends as Lily Mae & The Exes. She released a passionate indie-rock tune "21 Weeks" in February, which followed an original track she wrote for Some Freaks called "Something Warmer."
After staying rather quiet in the first few post-Glee Project years, Bonds tried out for American Idol in 2016 (season 15). Though his audition for Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. didn't get him a ticket to Hollywood, Bonds didn't give up and just released a new single -- a piano ballad titled "Steel" -- in March, in which he declares, "I vow to show the world what I am truly made of."
The Nashville native returned home after his elimination from season 2 and got to work. He has since been featured at several artist showcases in Music City, also writing songs with aspiring artists like Endless Summer and Private Drive. Now going by Max Camp, he recently performed at CMA Fest on the Nashville Acoustic Corner Stage and at the famed songwriter event Whiskey Jam, despite having not released any official music. And if you've watched Florida Georgia Line's music video for "Simple," you'll see Mr. Camp: He landed a lead role in the '40s-style clip.
The co-runner-up from season 2 released her debut single "New Years Eve" in February of last year, introducing a dance-pop sound. She has teased that there are more songs in her arsenal, but has yet to release anything else.
Though the season 2 hopeful hasn't officially released any music, she shares videos of herself singing original songs and covers on Instagram fairly often. She also performs at open mics in the Los Angeles area from time to time, recently posting on Instagram about a particular experience that lit a fire and inspired her to start a new chapter in music. "I've been working in a secret way," she wrote. "By the end of this summer I hope to have something more concrete to share with those who are still following me from years ago."
Come Here, Vs. 2 ——————————————— Where do you go when it’s only been ten days? How can anything be measured by the smile on your face? As I drove away in the morning rain... I’m not sure of the weather but that’s the picture that I paint. You had bare feet, breathing out a hand rolled cloud. I was feeling extra clean from the amount of times we showered, I’d hoped to wrap it up real nicely. A whimsical illusion a present to my dreams nightly. But instead then said: Come here to me... ——————————————— I have two shows in April! The 5th and the 27th, check my bio for info.
Like Veitenheimer, Lubeck hasn't officially released any music but performs around Los Angeles. For those who have caught him at venues like Hotel Cafe or simply just wanting to hear tunes from Lubeck, never fear: As he recently revealed on Instagram, "New music coming soon."
The season 2 contestant had released two albums prior to competing on The Glee Project, but hasn't released anything since. According to her Instagram, though, new music is on the horizon: "Recording my next album," reads her bio. As she works on the pending project, Shay is currently playing the lead role in a musical called The Civility of Albert Cashier in Chicago. In between her Glee Project days and now, though, she caught attention for being a Justin Bieber look-alike on season 6 of America's Got Talent.
Aside from occasionally singing on cruise lines and at theme parks, the season 1 alum is devoting more time to musical theater than her own artistry. She recently landed her first national tour, touring with Beautiful: The Carole King Musical as Janelle Woods.
Similar to Abraham, Pearce -- a season 1 co-runner-up -- is focusing more on musical theater, most recently starring in a show called Naked Blue Angel. Currently living in LA, Pearce has also appeared in local adaptations of Spring Awakening, American Idiot and Jennifer's Body.