An Inspirational Memoir About Finding Your Voice and Finding Your Way
On Sale: July 10, 2007
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For the longest time, during some rough boyhood years in
Alabama and the grind of performing on the road, the odds
against me were discouraging. But there was always a voice
inside telling me it was going to get better.
Dad certainly started out with good intentions, but early
on, as their marriage went south and I went in whatever
direction was necessary to avoid the fallout, I realized my
life was going to be up to me.
Thinking back, my
first step toward singing for a living was stealing an Otis
Redding album when I was nine. What I heard on that platter
was life-changing, and pretty soon I was learning to play
the harmonica, which, I can assure you, didn’t attract many
female fans—in fact, any fans at all.
decided that not being taken seriously can be a good thing.
It stokes the fires. Maybe the reason I like soul music so
much is that it inspires with its pain. The best artists,
like Ray Charles, reach out and say, “You’re not alone,
In all my years on the road—trying to make
it in Nashville and those Southern honky-tonks known as the
“Chitlin Circuit”—I never thought it would take an act of
God to push my destiny into the right groove. But as you’ll
hear, it was nearly getting washed away by Hurricane Katrina
that led to my Idol tryout. And what happened next was a
little bit like when Alice dropped down that rabbit
hole—just substitute Simon Cowell for the Mad
In Heart Full of Soul, I share some
life stories that will hopefully inspire you—give you a
sense of my philosophy and how it drove me. For example, I
talk about my good friend who died in a tragic accident and
the prediction he made that tugged at my thoughts throughout
Idol’s qualifying rounds. I also discuss what it was like
when I realized Eminem has it right: when you only have one
shot, you’d better lose yourself in the music.
of great fans lined up behind me the night of the Idol
finale. This book is about the strange path that led me to
that pop-culture moment, and the sharp directional changes
that occurred after that phenomenal night, including touring
America, producing an album, and experiencing that two-sided
gig known as American celebrity.
I hope that some of
the lessons I’ve learned along the way will help you,
especially if the shot you’ve been yearning for is just
around the corner.
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