Lindsey Pavao crumbled onto a couch in a Los Angeles hotel hobby.
She was wearing a giant, off-white, marshmallow-like princess dress. And she stayed there, in that dress, sipping Manhattans, for three hours, thinking.

What now?

It was the night of May 1, 2012, and Pavao had just been kicked off NBC’s singing competition show The Voice, then the No. 1 show in America.

Under the bright lights on that huge stage, the Sacramento resident sobbed and thanked The Voice for making her dreams come true. She says it felt like getting fired on national television—more than sadness or regret, she felt panic.

As soon as Pavao stepped off camera, she was escorted into a trailer with a psychiatrist to make sure she could handle real life again. As a parting gift, the wardrobe staff gave her the over-the-top, Björk-style dress she was supposed to wear for the finale the next week. She now calls it her “loser dress.”

Still, Pavao had made it far, narrowly losing in the semifinals. For much of the season, fans downloaded her songs on iTunes more than any other contestant. She sang privately for Lionel Richie and, another week, on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. Her national fan base grew from nothing to enormous.

Since then, she’s tried to relate meaning from the experience and all of its fallout. She struggled with depression, online harassment and the task of putting out a long-promised album to an impatient following. It’s taken nearly four years, but now she’s ready to come out of hiding with a debut record from her new duo, Trophii. Will it find an audience?

“It’s very alternative and it’s going to turn a lot of people off,” Pavao says. “I had to let go of that idea of creating an accessible record for people who liked me on The Voice. The truth is, people who watch The Voice might not like this record. And that’s cool.”

Read the full story here in Sacramento News & Review.