American Idol returns to ABC on Sunday, Feb. 19 for its Season 21 premiere.
Here’s more about Austin.
* He’s another of the Season 21 contestants who has already released music. In his case, it came in the form of a 2021 four-song EP called “Me.”
* Austin grew up in a small town in northeastern Oklahoma. He moved to Nashville in 2021.
* He credits his mom for throwing “me into every lesson a kid could go in” when he was young. After learning he had no talent for karate or drums, singing stuck.
* He says he started singing at age 6 in church and recalls being summoned on stage to perform with an artist in 2007. “There has been a hunger inside of me for music ever since that nervous, probably off-pitch performance,” he said in a 2021 interview.
* Austin also credits his mom for delivering a “simple, yet profound” message to him when he was about 15. She made a sign for him that read: “Why are you trying to fit in when you were born to stand out?”
* He’s performed at Carnegie Hall and sang Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” for his high school graduation calls. Bieber and Ariana Grande are among his musical inspirations.
* As for his original music, Austin says it blurs the line between pop, R&B and soul.
* He co-wrote the songs on that debut EP and says his goal was “raw, unedited, unfiltered lyrics that would be unapologetic, that would show that I’m not perfect and that no one else is called to be perfect. It is okay to not be okay.”
* Austin adds that he’s not inspired by perfection. “I’m inspired by the ones (artists) who show their true self.” Check out “Not Okay” from his EP below.
* Austin also has a popular TikTok, to the tune of more than 239,000 followers and 1.8 million likes.