Natchez Early College@ Co-Lin senior auditions for American Idol

by Morgan Groover

The seventeen-year-old said he has always been a fan of the music competition and was recently contacted by a producer of the show through social media.

“During the summer, I began building a YouTube channel and trying to put myself out there,” Lewis said. “I only have about three videos up, but I had a few different producers reach out to me and I decided to go with American Idol.

Lewis said he chose American Idol because he has seen more contestants and winners go on to have successful music careers after being on this show than any of the others. He mentioned, specifically, Fantasia.

While the people he looks up to in the music world, who are names most people would recognize, Lewis said his main source of inspiration comes from people in his family. In fact, two of his uncles work in or are closely associated with the music industry.

“One of my uncles is a recording artist and another uncle works in music and film production,” Lewis said. “Music is just in our family.”

Lewis said he feels good about the audition process because he has gotten such positive feedback on his videos and other social media postings.

“I am not setting my hope too high,” Lewis said. “I am still young and I am treating this as a learning process. No matter what happens, I am excited to have this opportunity.”

Lewis said his family is keeping him grounded amid all of the hype.

“My parents are supportive, but they keep reminding me not to get too wrapped up in the whole thing,” Lewis said. “They want to make sure that I remain focused on finishing my education and securing a stable future.”

Lewis said one of the most iconic individuals he follows, as far as an entertainment career goal, is P.J. Morgan.

“All of his music is feel-good music and there is a message in his music,” Lewis said. “If I had to say I looked up to anyone, outside of my family, it would be him.”

Lewis said he has been blessed with many people in his life who have poured into him; however, he attributes most of his “no-quit” attitude to one educator in particular.

“Ms. Zandra McDonald was our principal the first year of Robert Lewis Magnet School,” Lewis said. “She, more than anyone, instilled something in every student there that made us believe that we could do anything if we set our minds to it and it was meant for us.”

His advice for any other student looking to pursue a similar path is to learn from everything.

“Learn from all of it,” Lewis said. “Everything we experience, good or bad, is a learning experience. The moment we stop learning is the moment we stop progressing.”

Lewis said it was suggested he prepare two audition songs. He has selected, “Stand By Me,” by Ben E. King and “A Change is Gonna Come,” by Sam Cooke.

Lewis is a Business Administration and Marketing major who plans to attend The University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg after graduation.

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