America's Next Top Model might not be your first port of call for breaking musical talent, but show alumna Courtney Paige Nelson follows in the footsteps of the late Johnny Cash, covering a Nine Inch Nails classic for her smoky debut single.
Following her stint on the 23rd cycle of Tyra Banks' reality TV behemoth, Nelson's jazz-infused cover of "Hurt" sees her reveal another string to her bow. You might find it takes a minute or two for the skeleton of Nine Inch Nails' original or Johnny Cash's legendary cover to peek through this subtle re-imagining; a clear intention of Nelson's creative process. Her rich, resonant vocal bleeds with utterly believable emotion that cascades over the restrained minimalism of the simple guitar and piano arrangment.
"I've always felt a very strong connection to Jazz/Blues music," Nelson explains of her choice to rekindle this modern classic. "I wanted to re-make a popular song whose lyrics I personally resonate with, using a different structure and chords that make me feel something and make it my own. My goal overall was to have people hear the song and feel my personal pain. While the lyrics to this song have always had deep meaning for me, they are not my own words.
"My challenge for this was to make something that was me, and create something using those same lyrics that struck so deeply in me on such a personal level – using my own soul to combine the connection to Jazz/Blues that I have always had."