Nora Canfield Wendy Moten
One day after celebrating her 57th birthday and mere seconds after an electric performance of The Four Tops' classic "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch," The Voice Season 21 finalist Wendy Moten tripped over a floor monitor, falling straight down on both of her arms, and leaving coach Blake Shelton standing there in disbelief.
Now, nearly 10 months later, Moten still is recovering from her injuries… and she too can't quite believe it.
"I've never been broken before," Moten, 57, admits quietly during a recent interview with PEOPLE. "And so, it's a new experience, but I remind myself that there are people dealing with far more serious things. I'll be OK. I'll just keep working at it."
Nora Canfield Wendy Moten
The injuries, in fact, were many. Not only did Moten suffer a broken right elbow on the November 23rd live episode of The Voice, but she also broke a little piece of bone on her left hand while also fracturing her left wrist.
"I couldn't use my arms at all," she remembers. "It was a unique situation."
Moten ended up staying on The Voice for the next three weeks, returning home on Dec. 16 as the official runner-up on the much-loved singing competition show. But the very next day, the accomplished vocalist from Memphis found herself in surgery.
"They put a titanium piece in my elbow to keep my arm together," notes Moten, who currently goes to physical therapy three times a week. "Right now, my elbow is still crooked, and my fingers are crooked, but with the occupational therapy and the physical therapy I'm currently undergoing, I'm hoping everything gets back to normal soon."
Of course, hard work has always been a part of Moten's DNA, both on stage and off.
Leesa Richards Wendy Moten
"I do the work," explains Moten, who has shared the stage with greats such as Michael McDonald, Tim McGraw and Martina McBride. "I do the work to maintain a certain level both personally and professionally. I'm expecting these things to keep coming because I enjoy what I do, and I don't mind working hard."
And it's this work that has landed her in the spotlight for over 35 years, despite being once known as a "super shy" kid.
"I'm child number five out of six," chuckles Moten, whose father was a pastor. "As a kid in Memphis, everybody was a great singer. It didn't even matter nationality or race or anything like that. Everybody was great. All my friends were great singers and because of that, I never really thought I had anything to offer because I felt like they were all so great. I really didn't figure out that I really had something until I was in my forties."
Currently, the vocal powerhouse is out on tour with the legendary Vince Gill through the end of August as part of his highly anticipated summer tour.
"I only met him in 2016," remarks Moten, who is also a treasured member of the 10-piece, Grammy Award-winning ensemble, The Time Jumpers, which Gill formerly played with himself. "The chance to be on the stage with him is just a gift."
And it is the audiences that have been coming out to these shows that gives Moten the drive to continue to chase her dreams.
"I would say 90% never heard of me before and the other 10% saw me on The Voice," admits Moten, who is currently working on a new project with producer extraordinaire Paul Worley. "Nevertheless, I've been blessed to get these standing ovations every show. So, obviously they are listening, and I am just so moved that they stay on their feet. I'm making that connection with them. That's always been the dream … to move people and do something to their spirit and keep them listening."