Alisan Porter is a singer and former child actress who found the international spotlight with her title role in the 1991 film Curly Sue. A Star Search singing champion in childhood, Porter pursued music as an adult, releasing her first album in 2009 and winning another TV talent competition with her first-place finish on the U.S. edition of The Voice in 2016.
Alisan Leigh Porter was born in 1981 in Worcester, Massachusetts to musician/songwriter Ric Porter and dancer Laura Klein. While visiting Los Angeles, where her mother prepped a dance duo for their appearance on Star Search, a show producer overheard Alisan singing the hotel lobby and booked her for the next episode. Just five years old, she became the youngest winner in the history of the TV talent show. After spending the next five years building an acting résumé, which included a regular role on the short-lived Lynn Redgrave TV series Chicken Soup (1989), playing a family member in Ron Howard's Parenthood (1989), and a part in the Lawrence Kasdan-directed I Love You to Death (1990), she landed the title role in the 1991 John Hughes family film Curly Sue. She was ten years old at the time of its release. Porter continued acting through her teens, though nothing quite as high-profile, focusing on her studies and school theater productions.
Upon graduating from high school, she moved to New York City with her sights on Broadway and landed a part in the musical Footloose. She soon began playing in area rock bands and founded the Alisan Porter Project before spending a year as Bebe in the 2006 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line (she appears on the cast recording). Open about struggles with alcohol during her time in New York, the performer became sober in October 2007 and went to work on making her own album. Porter self-released her eponymous debut in 2009. She then found work as a lifestyle columnist, among other ventures, before marrying actor and longtime boyfriend Brian Autenreith in 2012 and starting a family. What began as a Facebook group for mothers called Lil' Mamas turned into a blog and business for the new mother.
After relocating to Los Angeles in 2015, and stating that singing had always been her true passion, Porter's blind audition for the tenth season of The Voice aired in February 2016. Her performance of "Blue Bayou" got unanimous approval from the coaches -- Christina Aguilera, Adam Lambert, Blake Shelton, and Pharrell Williams -- and the clip went viral. During her run on the show, she would appear on various Billboard charts with "Blue Bayou" as well as covers of Aerosmith's "Cryin'," the Eagles' "Desperado," and Patty Griffin's "Let Him Fly." Porter went on to take the title that May, which came with a contract with Universal Music Group. ~ Marcy Donelson