Local American Idol contestant spills the beans

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Courtesy ABC

Rachel Curtis, a graduate of Waverly High School competes on the rebooted American Idol.

Lansing area native Rachel Curtis, who will be featured on the American Idol reboot that begins March 11, shares intimate details about what life was like before all the lights, camera … action!

Although her face is not all over billboards Curtis will get some measure of stardom on ABC. Her journey with music is pretty notable — and lengthy — for her age. Curtis’s story could inspire budding artists from small towns to follow their dreams. It is easy for a young musician to believe that living out their dreams as a famous artist is a long shot, but Curtis is showing that with the right attitude and motivation, much is possible.

“Music has always been in my life,” said Curtis. “I do remember my mom playing music for me in my crib.” Most would never think that nerves are an issue for someone who appears on American Idol, but Curtis has had to come a long way. In her elementary years at St. Gerard’s Catholic School, she tackled her stage fright by joining the church choir program and entering numerous school talent shows. “My parents were and always have been very supportive of me performing.”

The most resonant and assuring memory she has of performing is from this time, in the beginning of her career, when her mom took her to sing at a local retirement home. “My mom told me that ‘they’re very understanding and not gonna judge you if you mess up,’ because I was still very nervous [to sing in front of people] at the time,” Rachel admits.

“I began singing and saw an old man tapping his spoon on the table. The joy that music brought to his face made we want to do it, and keep doing it as long as I can.— Rachel Curtis

Rachel continued singing at Waverly High School, where she started the “Reflections” group. It is the more elite choir group at the school, audition required. This gave her the confidence to start performing at local bars and restaurants around town. Soon enough, she was discovered and hired for local gigs. It was all uphill from there! From the Palace of Auburn Hills to the American Idol judges, this pop/folk/indie songstress is inspired by artists such as Florence and the Machine, Alabama Shakes and Vance Joy.

“I’m just an artist thriving to inspire and be inspired, is my motto,” she said. Above all, Curtis is very grounded in her faith and credits God for these opportunities. The all-new season of American Idol, which will have Curtis up before the largest audience she has ever played before, will begin at 8 p.m. March 11.

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