As the forerunner throughout most of American Idol season 9, Lee DeWyze has become a favorite personality and entertainer. His shy demeanor and beautiful personality has brought him many fans from around the globe. But just who was Lee DeWyze before he became an American Idol contestant?
Singer and acoustic guitar player Leon “Lee” James DeWyze, son of Lee Jr. and Kathleen, was a hometown boy from Illinois. Born April 2, 1986 in Mount Prospect, DeWyze’s simple life changed when he auditioned with the Marilyn Manson song “Beautiful People” for American Idol in Chicago.
He taught himself to play guitar and released his first album in 2008 titled “So I’m Told”. His second album “Slumberland” was released in 2010 just prior to appearing on American Idol. WuLi Records that produced “Slumberland” released DeWyze from his contract so that he could appear on the reality show.
Some of what is known about Lee DeWyze was given in snippets during his American Idol appearances. Prior to making it as a finalist for the show, DeWyze worked as a clerk in a paint store. Paint store owner Bill Lagattolla has said that DeWyze was known to jam on his guitar during down time at work. Outside the store, a sign reads “Mt. Prospect Paint congratulates its very own American Idol Lee DeWyze. Vote for Lee.” Inside the store, customers can purchase “Vote 4 Lee” shirts. It’s clear that the former paint salesman has become a local celebrity.
During his time on American Idol, it was revealed that DeWyze was kicked out of school as a teenager but he did later graduate. After being thrown out of Prospect High School in Mount Prospect, he attended an alternative school in Arlington Heights, Illinois. What viewers saw on American Idol was an adorable face with a humble attitude but maybe DeWyze has a few skeletons in his closet not yet revealed. However, it’s no secret that he has a tattoo on his arm bearing the lyrics to a Cat Stevens’ song.
Although DeWyze appeared humble and shy on the American Idol stage, he isn’t a stranger to performing. He has been singing and playing guitar since he was a teenager. His rocker twang could be heard each week on the American Idol stage no matter what style music he was performing. Only a versatile singer can hold back that rocker attitude when performing a classic Frank Sinatra melody.
Whether American Idol made Lee DeWyze a star or not, truly he had the looks, voice, and marketability to become a star all on his own. American Idol may have just given him a quicker boost to stardom. His future looks bright; Lee DeWyze is one of the few American Idol contestants that many feel will have a long-lasting career in the music industry.