After belting out the words "Where do we go now" to the song "Sweet Child of Mine" during a practice session, London native Brooks Kidd sat down with The Kentucky Daily to discuss his experience on American Idol and what his future may hold.
Kidd is only 19 years old and remembers watching American Idol at a very young age. Although he loves the show and loves to sing, he admitted that some dreams seemed too big to reach.
“Doing one of the shows is something I always wanted to do, but it just felt like it was so out of reach," Kidd said. "I saw people from around here doing it, and I just thought, if I never try, I never will.”
Kidd tried out for the hit reality show on a zoom call for the chance to perform in front of the judges. He was shocked when he made it to the live auditions.
“It felt insane,” he said. “I didn’t think I would go anywhere with it. During the whole zoom process, they were like, 'you're going through,' and I was like, ‘what?”. It was very surreal.”
American Idol turned out to be more than just a chance for Kidd to be discovered. It also gave him an opportunity to share his story of suffering through depression. On the show, he talked about being overweight as a child and how he was made fun of for it, which led to having suicidal thoughts. He was able to not only share his story with the world but also with his parents for the first time.
"It was a little difficult because it was going to be airing on national TV, so that's something that everybody had, but at the same time, it was a very easy choice. I wanted to tell my story so other people that go through similar experiences can see that and see where I am and not be discouraged."
Kidd's father, Bobby Kidd, admitted that hearing about his sons' struggles was hard. He found out before they made the trip to the live auditions.
"It was hard to hear that because when you're in the middle of it, you don't necessary see all of it," Bobby said. "Some of it was a shock to us, believe it or not. We knew it before it aired, so we had a lot of talking back and forth. You think you're right in the middle of everything, but you don't see it as well as you think you would sometimes. It was very tough to hear it."
Brooks wanted to pick a song that meant something to him, so he decided to sing “Mad World” during the live auditions. The song uses powerful lyrics like, "Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow, no tomorrow," and it goes on to say, "I find it kind of funny. I find it kind of sad. The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had."
“I was real nervous,” he said. “I wanted to pick something that I had a personal connection too. Something I had known for a while. I have a really emotional connection to that song. It just felt right to sing that one. I practiced it 18 hours a day.”
Brooks stated that music is what helped him through his depression, and it saved his life. Now he is committed to paying that back in some way.
“Music is home for me,” he said. “It’s when I feel most alive. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else for the rest of my life. If it’s performing, helping other people make music or training, or something like that. It saved my life, so I feel like I should give something back to it."
Bobby feels that his son has been blessed with talent and is proud of him for sharing his story.
“The Lord has blessed him with a voice and with his talent,” Bobby said. “Who knows where the Lord is going to lead him and what’s going to come out of it. If his story can help just one person, it’s worth every bit of it.”
Brooks talked about how three words from Lionel Richie managed to calm him down before the live audition.
“It was the craziest experience,” he said. “The best way to describe it is very out of body. Before I went into the room I was shaking nervous, I was scared out of my mind. As soon as I walked in I made eye contact with Lionel Richie and he was like ‘come on in’. I was like, ‘oh okay!’ It felt very dream-like. Once I sat down at the piano, I was in my element and I felt very comfortable. I was like, ‘I’m just doing a performance for a couple of really cool people.’
Brooks said that he will never forget the feeling of hearing those famous words, “You’re going to Hollywood.”
“Just hearing that was insane,” he explained. “I have watched the show since I was a kid, and I was thinking, I'm that person that's on the TV now. I thought that was so out of reach. Being able to achieve that was so fulfilling.”
Brooks is currently busy writing his first album and touring with his band. His bass player, Johnny Coscia spoke about the talented young artist and didn’t hold back.
“He has surrounded himself with talented musicians, but when he sings, we are just in awe,” Coscia said. “When God was handing out talent, he must have found a way to get in line twice. It’s hard to put into words how talented he is. He is just unbelievable.”
After making it through to Hollywood, his journey on American Idol came to an abrupt end and left many viewers wondering what happened to the 19-year old from London, Ky. His second performance didn’t air, but he sang the song, “Drivers License.”
“I didn’t do real good that time,” he admitted. “I ended up cracking on the high notes. I hadn't done a lot of vocal preparation that day, and I was one of the last people to perform. It had been a really long day. It happened, but at least I got the experience, and I got to meet a whole lot of really cool people. I got to perform in front of three of the biggest judges of all time. I never saw it as a bad thing or a disappointment.”
He hopes his time on national television will help boost his career.
“I think it’s definitely a game-changer,” Kidd said. “The publicity that comes from that is really cool. I hope to use it as a springboard, but we’ll see what comes from it.”
Brooks just released his first single, "I Wonder," and it can be found on all streaming platforms.
“It’s about coming from a place of losing something or someone that you really love,” he said. “Something that you felt like you could never lose and being in danger of that. The whole song is like an analogy to the love between Jack and Rose from Titanic. There is that instant connection and that instant lose at the same time."
Kidd takes inspiration from smaller artists like Lizzy McAlpine and Dodie but also takes from bigger names like Harry Styles and Billie Eilish. He says that his style varies from song to song. He has several events scheduled across Kentucky, and you can keep up with where he will be performing by checking his website, www.brookskidd.com.
He had these words to say for anyone that is too scared to chase their dreams.
“If anyone is thinking about going to audition, just go out and do it,” he said. “I didn’t want to, I was scared to, but if they say no, they say no. If they say yes you’ve got a ticket to go to Nashville and be in front of the most incredible people. So if you want to, go for it."
Tim Branstetter, Sports Writer for The Kentucky Daily