by Mike Mettler

Oh mama! Fans of NBC’s The Voice got a special treat Monday night (November 16) as Top 12 finalist and Gwen Stefani team member Braiden Sunshine tackled Styx’s indelible “Renegade” as his song choice for the evening, kicking off the show with a raucous reading of the band’s signature song at the top of the live 8 p.m. EST broadcast. (The song is currently #1 on the iTunes Rock Chart.)

“Well, that was certainly a nice surprise,” guitarist, vocalist, and “Renegade” songwriter Tommy Shaw told Styxworld exclusively, moments after Styx had finished its set at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium in Thunder Bay, Ontario by playing the very song Braiden had sung a few hours earlier. “I just got offstage, and I saw an email with a clip from The Voice with Braiden Sunshine singing ‘Renegade’ tonight,” Tommy continues. “I had granted license for them to use the song about 6 weeks ago, but it kind of slipped my mind because I’ve licensed stuff before, and they don’t always use it. So I had no idea if they were going to use it or when they were going to use it.”

Braiden, a 15-year-old high school freshman from Lyme, Connecticut, garnered much praise from The Voice judges after his rousing “Renegade” performance. “I’m a fan, and I love watching you perform,” said Adam Levine. “This kid can do anything,” added Blake Shelton. “You’re out here singing this rock record, infusing all of these cool runs in the middle of the song, hitting the notes and not missing them. I’m super-impressed. I think Blake is right — you can do anything you want,” noted Pharrell. Coach Gwen got the final words: “He came to me, and he really wanted to do a rock song. He was really confident about it, and I was scared. But vocally, you just nailed it. That last note was incredible. I’m so proud of you that you were brave enough to come out here, find your way, and find out who you are. I think you did an amazing job tonight.”

“Renegade” author Tommy also loves what he saw and heard of the 2015 reading of a song that first appeared on Styx’s triple-platinum 1978 album, Pieces of Eight: “Braiden Sunshine — bravo, my brother! You took our song, and you made it your own,” he says. “You took advice from Gwen Stefani, and the results speak for themselves. You got a great response from everybody on the show. I couldn’t be more proud. That’s a big song to take on, especially to do our band arrangement and my vocal arrangement of it. I still have to work at that every night!” chuckles Tommy. “And man, the band did a great arrangement of it too! I appreciated how enthusiastic everyone was about it. So, bravo! Thank you, The Voice. Thank you, Gwen Stefani. And thank you for the nice words, Adam Levine. Thanks for letting Styx be a part of it. The best to you all!”

You can watch Braiden’s official “Renegade” performance from The Voice here on YouTube.

And if you like what you see, you can purchase Braiden’s “Renegade” on iTunes by following this link:Renegade (The Voice Performance) - Single by Braiden Sunshine.