updated 06/19/2013 AT 6:30 PM ET
•originally published 06/19/2013 AT 9:30 AM ET
The Voice coach Blake Shelton has always been wildly supportive of the artists on his team, but he puts Danielle Bradbery in another category after her big victory on the season 4 finale Tuesday night.
“I think it’s the most important win we have had so far on The Voice because Danielle is the first winner of The Voice that had no professional experience in the past,” he told PEOPLE Tuesday, after she beat out her teammates, the Swon Brothers, and Usher’s singer, Michelle Chamuel. “Her biggest performances ever were for her family at Thanksgiving.”
“People are just wrapped around her finger for a reason,” Shelton said, praising her professional debut on the show. “God sprinkled just a little bit more on Danielle Bradbery than he did the rest of us and I’m just glad to call her a friend.”
The bond between country superstar and his protégé is mutual, and Bradbery praised her supportive coach for sticking by her and pushing her to own her potential.
“Blake is a really smart and caring person,” she said after the show. “He does not give up and he pushes you to do what you love.”
Stardom seems on the horizon for Bradbery, a Texas native who was the show’s youngest contestant this season at 16, but who covered songs by veteran country artists like Patty Loveless and Sara Evans with ease. After some time soaking it all in with family, she said she is pondering her next step including a possible move as her career takes off.
“I definitely got the feel of everything throughout this whole journey,” she said of what it takes to succeed. “I am ready for whatever gets thrown at me. I am bracing myself and I am really excited.”