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LI's 'Voice' champ Carter Rubin thanks hometown fans

On Wednesday, Newsday entertainment contributor Frank Lovece interviewed Shoreham's Carter Rubin and talked to him about winning this season of "The Voice." Credit: Newsday; NBC

Carter Rubin, the Shoreham 15-year-old who on Tuesday became the youngest male winner of the NBC singing competition "The Voice," is set to return to Long Island Thursday, grateful for his supportive community.

"From the banners in their shops to Team Carter T-shirts, they really rallied behind me this entire experience," he told Newsday Wednesday morning, "and I'm just so excited to go back and see them and just thank them all for their support and their love and voting for me and everything."

Rubin, coached by pop star Gwen Stefani, was one of the five finalists who performed on the live two-night closer of season19 Monday and Tuesday. The contest narrowed to him and 38-year-old Bakersfield, California, singer Jim Ranger, who had delivered a powerful rendition Monday of The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends." But Rubin's performance of Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" proved strong enough for the home-viewer voters to clinch his win.

The two finalists had "talked beforehand," Rubin says. "We were like brothers throughout this entire experience, and he's such an excellent singer and an incredible role model for me. And I was just, like, 'Whatever happens, happens. I love you, brother. Like, I can't believe we're the top two. That's just insane.' And we were just so blessed to be on that stage together next to the trophy. It was just a surreal moment."

When the cameras stopped rolling, Alonna Rubin, 47, who had accompanied her son to the competition at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, "ran on the stage and gave me the biggest hug and she was just in complete shock and she was crying in my arms," Rubin says. "And I'm proud to call her my mom, because she sacrificed a lot for me to follow my dream," spending time apart from her financier husband, David, also 47, and their elder son, Jack, 19, who is on the autism spectrum.

Rubin spoke with his brother and father by phone after his win. He also talked to his maternal grandfather, the Valley Stream-raised Ric Mango, a former singer who for years fronted the nine-piece Ric Mango Orchestra and was briefly an unofficial member of the doo-wop group Jay and the Americans.

"I got my singing from him, and he's just so proud of me and everything I've accomplished," Rubin says. "And to say that I won 'The Voice,' he can't even put it into words. I got all choked up about it last night when we were talking to him."

The next step, Rubin says, is to heed the advice of Stefani and of songwriter-producer Justin Tranter, who worked with the finalists, and explore songwriting. Tranter told him "to start writing now because it might take you awhile before you find that perfect song." Rubin has already dabbled, he says. "I've tried. I have a few songs in the folder. But I'm going to definitely keep working on it."

He adds that once the coronavirus pandemic is over, "I can't wait to perform in front of live audiences again. This is just the beginning. I want to keep going and growing from here. And this is a very great boost."

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