GCU alum, wife of ‘Voice’ winner shines her own light
By Lana Sweeten-Shults
GCU News Bureau
It was her powerhouse vocal delivery that set Nashville labor and delivery nurse — and Grand Canyon University alumna— Brittney Hoyt down a path she never expected God would lead her.
Brittney grew up in rural Casa Grande, Arizona, singing in church and at county fairs with her sister, though her focus had shifted away from singing since graduating from GCU’s online Nursing program. So when her best friend asked her to sing at her wedding in 2013, Brittney was thrilled to fire up her powerhouse country vocals again and shine her own light at the ceremony.
Not that she was the only singer at the wedding that day. She shared vocals with Jake Hoot, who in 2019 would go on to win the 17th season of NBC talent show “The Voice,” thanks to help from coach Kelly Clarkson. He also would go on to marry Hoyt, now Brittney Hoot; the couple tied the knot in March at Saddle Woods Farm in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The oldest of seven children, Brittney found her passion in nursing.
“My mom had my last two siblings at home. … I was at my sister’s delivery, and I also watched my brother being born. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh! That is the coolest thing,’” she said.
After receiving her associate degree from Central Arizona College, she moved on to GCU for her bachelor’s and worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital in downtown Phoenix, where the Director of Maternal Child Services told her, “I feel like you’re a labor and delivery nurse.”
It’s where Brittney has been ever since.
“I still am a nurse. … I love it as much as I did as when I graduated.” Labor and delivery, Brittney said, “It’s the happiest part of the whole hospital.”
Nursing led to her other passion — missionary work and bringing light to the dark corners of the world.
Brittney was still a nursing student when she first embarked on a medical mission trip to Nicaragua in 2009 with her cousin, a pharmacist.
“I’d never been to a Third World country,” she said, and saw how people were not only hungry for basic-needs items but that they were hungry for Jesus. “… After my first trip, the Lord put it on my heart to build a home for this family down there.”
She successfully raised money to build a house, then, “every year after that, I would go down with money to build more and more homes,” recruiting family and friends to help.
Although she had been leading mission trips since 2012, it became clear to her that she needed to start her own nonprofit. She founded The Radiant Initiative in 2019, launching the organization’s first trip to Nicaragua in March 2020.
It’s been amazing to her how her passions have converged — how her professional work as a nurse, when she comforts people at the most vulnerable points of their lives, complements her life as a missionary.
It was a mission trip that brought her old wedding singing friend back into her life.
Missionary work wasn’t anything new to Jake, the son of missionaries. He and his family moved when he was 9 years old to the Dominican Republic, where he spent many of his formative years.
When they first met at their friends’ wedding in 2013, he was living in Tennessee and she was attending ministry school at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California.
“We had feelings for each other, but I thought, I live in California, you live in Tennessee. It could be the right person but not the right circumstance,” said Brittney, though the two remained friends for many years.
Not long after reconnecting with Jake through their shared love of missionary work, Brittney decided to make a move to Nashville.
“I saw a nursing assignment down in Nashville and I thought, how fun. So, I went on a contract and really loved Nashville,” Brittney said.
A second missionary trip brought the two friends closer together, but it wasn’t until after Jake competed on “The Voice” in 2019 that their relationship grew into something more.
Ironically, Brittney said, she didn’t have television at the time so couldn’t watch his performances.
“I’d go back and watch him on YouTube,” she said with a laugh. “It’s funny, because you would have thought I was watching every single episode.”
Then the world stopped.
“All of his shows got canceled,” Brittney said of COVID-19. So did her missionary trips. But that time of reflection brought the two closer together.
“I always preached that God’s timing is everything. I had the right person in front of me all of these years,” she said.
Music, of course, was a central part of the couple’s wedding. Her siblings sang “When God Made You” by NewSong, which Brittney and Jake sang together as wedding singers.
And music – and missionary work — continue to be a focus of their lives.
The Hoots have posted several videos of them singing together: “I stopped singing for a while, until my husband and I got together,” said Brittney from the road as the couple headed to Orange Grove, Texas, where Jake was scheduled to perform and to attend his grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Brittney also has contributed backing vocals to one of Jake’s songs.
A missionary trip, no doubt, is in the future, too.
Thinking about those missionary trips, she says, a spark in her voice: “Wow! We get to impact the world,” then asks, “How do I get in touch with who’s in charge of missionary trips at GCU?”
Powerhouse that she is, she continues to shine her light.
GCU senior writer Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-7901.