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Chayce Beckham made quite the first impression with judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie when he performed his rendition of “What Brings Life Also Kills” by Kolton Moore and The Clever Few. After hearing his soulful singing, Katy declared that he sounded like "the heart of America." Just like that, his journey on the ABC competition show began.
Now, three months later, the 24-year-old Apple Valley, California resident has made it all the way to the top three with a chance at being crowned the champion of the 2021 season this Sunday.
Here’s what to know about the American Idol contestant:
Chayce began playing guitar as a toddler.
Chayce recalled to the Victorville Daily Press that he first started playing guitar after finding an old one at his grandmother’s home. “I was 3 years old when I started messing with it, so that was my earliest memory of music,” he told the newspaper. “I’ve been playing guitar ever since.”
Although he instantly picked up the musical instrument, it took him much longer to find his voice. He admitted to the outlet that his four sisters weren’t fans of his initial tunes. “I used to sing in my room and my sisters would be like, ‘Shut the door! That sounds terrible!’” he told the Daily Press. “Now, you know, it’s a little bit different … They pushed me to be better.”
Chayce was in a band.
Before performing on the American Idol stage, Chayce was the front man for the Sinking Sailors, a punk-reggae-funk band from L.A. The group of friends released their first EP Take It Easy in 2017 and also made a music video for the title track. The following year, they came out with their second EP. But Chayce says being the band’s lead singer came to fruition on its own and he never took it too seriously.
“It just turned into a thing,” he told The San Bernardino Sun. “Never anything where I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to be a great singer.’ It was just having fun and running around and playing shows and getting free beer. It was a good time. I didn’t ever have a moment where I didn’t feel comfortable on stage and singing for people.”
The group continued playing together up until the coronavirus pandemic impacted their schedule.
Chayce’s parents pushed him to audition.
In the fall of 2020, Chayce experienced significant changes in his life. After not being able to play music with his band for months, he and his girlfriend of seven years broke up. He subsequently moved out of their shared home in Huntington Beach, leaving his dog behind, and moved back in with his parents. But it all came to a head when he was involved in a near-fatal, drunk-driving car crash that left his truck on the side of the highway upside down.
After the incident, his mother, Windie, and stepfather, Terry, tried their best to keep his spirits high, and they decided to sign him up to try his luck on AI. "He was on a dark path for a little while with drinking and his self worth, whether or not he was good enough," Windie said on Idol.
“I think that they really just saw that I was kind of giving up on my dreams a little bit,” Chayce told The Sun. “So they strongly encouraged me to audition … I would not be doing it without them. They’re just as big a part of this as I am.”
Chayce released his first single and he’s planning on touring.
Ahead of the American Idol finale, Chayce performed his original single “23” and it quickly topped the U.S. iTunes charts as no. 1, including all genres and country. Fellow judge Luke Bryan’s new song “Waves” isn’t too far behind in the 26 and 7 spots, respectively.
But whether he’s crowned the next American Idol winner or not, Chayce wants to keep the momentum going.
“I’ll record a record, put the record out, and go on tour to meet all my fans in every state that I can,” he told the Daily Press. “I’ll keep my name relevant, and I won’t stop doing what I’m doing. I think it’s a pretty simple formula, but there are so many variables to it. It just depends on your consistency and your drive, which will determine the outcome of your success.”
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