Brandon Elder of Arab auditioned in Monday night's episode of American Idol.
“I played a lot of sports in high school, too, and so kind of just didn’t think it was the cool thing to do, so all of my singing was just in the locker room," said Union Grove native, Brandon Elder, about the start of his musical career.
“Eventually, some of my friends were like, ‘Hey, man, you can kind of sing pretty good,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, cool, whatever.’ I thought they were lying to me," Elder said.
But he decided to pursue music anyway. And others are glad he did.
“I was like, ‘Who is this guy?’ and then I started listening and I found out more about him, and I was like, ‘I’ve got to listen to him more,'" said fan, Chastyn Kilgo.
He told me he didn’t expect this popularity, saying the only reason he stuck to music was because of his mom’s encouragement.
“She got me a guitar two Christmases ago and I absolutely hated it," Elder said. "It was the worst thing I’ve ever tried to do in my life.”
He kept on, not knowing it would land him on ABC’s American Idol.
“My girlfriend kind of signed me up and didn’t tell me about it," Elder said.
The song he chose to sing for his audition is a special one—a tribute he wrote for his mom called “Gone.”
She adopted him before he was even a year old, and passed away from cancer two years ago.
“I wrote it as like, ‘Hey, this is what she did for me, this is why I am who I am today,'" Elder said.
Elder said there’s no way he’d be at this point without the support of the woman who raised him as her own.
But he also gives credit to his fans.
“Any of our fans are like family to us," Elder said. "If we go and play and there’s nobody there, then there’s really no point in us being there.”
One fan says she goes to every show she can make—not just for his music, but for the way he treats her.
“There’s never been a show that Brandon hasn’t taken time out of the show to make sure that I’m talked to," Kilgo said. "He doesn’t make me feel any different because of my disability. He’s just a really good person on and off stage. And he just really means a lot to me.”
Kilgo says he deserved the shot at stardom on American Idol.
“Big-hearted, he’ll do anything for anybody, he’s very good with people," she said.
With Monday's show as a launching pad, Elder told WAAY 31 he’s looking forward to the futur
“I don’t expect anything. I don’t feel like I necessarily deserve anything, but I can say that I’m going to keep working hard and try to get to where I want to be," he said.
Elder tells WAAY 31 he’s grateful for the opportunity to be on American Idol and is excited to see where his music takes him, but he says he will always be tied to his community.
Elder first auditioned for the show back in September 2017, along with thousands of other people at an audition held in Tuscumbia.