The 16-year-old singer from Team Kelly Clarkson is looking forward to creating an album with her "classic country" sound

By Brianne Tracy
December 19, 2018 08:35 PM
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As The Voice‘s new winner, Chevel Shepherd has a lot to look forward to — including spending the $100,000 grand prize that comes with her title.

While the 16-year-old singer from coach Kelly Clarkson‘s team doesn’t know exactly what she’ll put the money towards yet, she does have an idea.

“Maybe a car,” Shepherd tells PEOPLE. “We had to postpone getting my permit because of The Voice so when we get back [home], I have to get it.”

Chevel Shepherd
| Credit: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

When asked about what her dream car would be, Shepherd gives a very fitting answer.

“I would love to have a Chevelle because that’s my name,” she says. “So me and my dad are probably going to get one and build a ’72 [Chevrolet] Chevelle together.”

Now that the show is over, Shepherd is planning to spend a bit of downtime at home in New Mexico being a “normal teenager” again. But then, it’ll be back to work while she decides if she’s going to move to Los Angeles or Nashville for her music career.

“Me and Kelly are going to work on a country album, and I’m going to put it out and hopefully tour the world and go to the Grand Ole Opry,” she says. “I have a lot of things I want to do.”

Along with the prize money, Shepherd also received a Universal Music Group record deal when she won. If her song choices week-to-week on the show didn’t make it clear, Shepherd confirms that she wants her album to have a “classic country” sound.

“I [want] to really bring back the older Loretta [Lynn], Dolly Parton country vibe,” she says. “I feel like that would be really cool to start out with, and then I wouldn’t mind doing some contemporary, modern country as well. But I just want to bring back the older country because not many people are doing that nowadays.”

And, of course, she says she’ll incorporate the yodeling talents on her album that she has become known for.

Growing up, Shepherd says she’s been inspired by artists like Lynn, Parton, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. She says she has now gotten to a similar place as those artists in that she’s been getting messages from people of all ages saying that they look up to her.

“[People have told me] that I’m the reason they sang,” she says. “It really feels awesome because I love to do that, and I want people to follow their dreams.”

When Voice host Carson Daly announced Shepherd as the winner on Tuesday night’s finale, she says she was truly just as shocked as she appeared on TV.

“I had no clue what was going to happen, but I knew whatever happened, I was going to be happy about it and that whatever happened would be God’s plan,” she says. “So it was crazy and once Carson called my name, I was like, ‘Wait, what? Oh my goodness.’ ”

“For some reason I didn’t cry — I almost cried,” she continues. “I somehow held my composure together.”

Chris Kroeze, Shevel Shepherd and Carson Daly during The Voice finale
| Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

Shepherd’s family, including her grandpa, were all seen running out on the stage following the exciting announcement to hug her, and she says they told her they were “so proud.”

“They were all just super happy that I got the opportunity, and they were super glad to be there and to see me be crowned the winner of The Voice,” she says. “It was really cool.”

In addition to getting support from coach Clarkson, 36, Shepherd says she also got some kind words of congratulations from Adam Levine.

“Adam came up to me after and he told me that he was super, super proud of me and that he secretly had been rooting for me this whole time and that he loves me and he has loved me since the beginning,” she says. “It was really cool hearing that from Adam.”

Chevel Shepherd’s winning Voice moment
| Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

Shepherd says it’s “crazy” to think that her journey on the show almost didn’t happen this way since she originally auditioned a year ago to be on season 13, which Clarkson wasn’t a coach on. It wasn’t until the following season that Clarkson joined the team.

After attending her first open call in Las Vegas, Shepherd ended up not getting a Blind Audition because the teams were already full. The show then contacted her again to audition for season 15, and the rest is history.

“God has a plan for everything,” she says. “It was really cool just to get this whole experience and do it with Kelly.”

Chevel Shepherd and Kelly Clarkson
| Credit: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

Of her funny moments with Clarkson behind the scenes, Shepherd says there has been “lots.”

“Whenever she checked me to see if I had a fever, that was really funny,” she says. “She’s such a mom, and I love it. She’s like a big sister to me and it’s really cool just being able to bond and create memories together and being myself around her because she’s so authentic and down to earth.”