Idol returns to ABC on Sunday, Feb. 19, for its Season 21 premiere.
Here’s more about Kenley.
* She’s Kenley Rose Brown, has sometimes gone by Mikenley, and is a 17-year-old student at Heartland Christian School.
* She describes herself as a “real and relatable” artist who prefers to sing pop, rock and indie-ish music. Check out her impressive vocals on a cover of Cage the Elephant’s “Cigarette Daydreams” below.
* She also has a heck of a backstory to share about her struggle with anorexia, which began back in 2019 when she was being bullied “for how I looked, dressed and my beliefs.”
* Kenley outlines that struggle in a July 2020 Instagram post, writing “I lost all my friends, sat at lunch by myself, cried in the bathroom multiple times a day, and started starving myself.” She dropped from 180 pounds to 118 and wound up in the hospital multiple times because she kept getting sick.
* Things are better now. On Jan. 3., she proclaims in an Facebook post: “From anorexia to the happiest I’ve ever been.”
* The moral of her story, she says, is simple. “WORDS HURT!” she writes in that Instagram post. “I almost killed myself bcuz of ‘words’ people said to me. This is extremely hard for me to share because I’m NOT a vulnerable person at all. But this is not okay! Treating people w kindness goes such a long way — trust me.”
* Kenley also says music helped her through that struggle “and ever since I realized it was the only thing I wanted to do and it was my biggest dream!”
* As for that music, Kenley says she grew up in a musical household and wanted to be like Hannah Montana when she was young.
* She’s led worship at her church with her mother and father and said church was the only place she had performed before starting to do small gigs this year.
* Kenley doesn’t have original music yet, but says she’s working on it, writing songs with her father and one of her best friends.
* Her musical inspiration, she says, is her great grandfather. “He was in a band and played with Conway Twitty and Dottie West and many more,” she explains. “Music was his passion, but he gave it up for his 13 children! He always told me to chase my dreams and that I have a real gift. He is one of my biggest motivators.”