American Idol's Star Louis Knight Talks His Journey to Fame, Latest Song, and Upcoming Tours

Culture

Louis Knight is a 20-year-old British-born singer and songwriter that grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was one of the contestants in season 18 of American Idol that has later succeeded to become one of the 20 finalists. As a kid, he was always humming and singing around the house and not too late before he started singing. " Freshman year in high school, my mum got me a piano for Christmas and I began writing my first songs. That was when I really realized this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. "

Living now for 9 years in Philadelphia, Knight believes that moving from his hometown has helped him so much in his singing/songwriting career. He was always struggling to fit in but America gave him the opportunity to meet amazing friends - who he now considers family. "From my friend Ori who I first started writing/producing my first demos with at 14, to Danny Gervitz, an incredible friend/videographer who filmed my first videos pro bono just because he believed in my music. And then my producers, and managers. I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for them, " he said.

Photo by James Foley

During high school, Knight has had a pretty much ordinary life. He worked as a lifeguard and babysit and then later got a delivery job for his local pizza shop. However, as you can already tell, his life was turned upside down when he was asked to audition for American idol.

"One morning in September 2019 I received an instagram message from a casting producer, Shae Wilbur (now a great friend) asking if I’d be interested in auditioning. At first I wasn’t sure if it was real haha. And honestly I wasn’t sure if I’d want to because I had dedicated so much time to focusing on my artistry as a singer-songwriter. It turned out that Idol was actually becoming more open to having singer-songwriters coming on the show, and when I realized I’d have the opportunity to perform “Change” I knew I had to audition. That was a once in a lifetime opportunity. "

While auditioning, he actually blacked out for some of it. Being on stage in Hawaii was such a dream to him. In addition, his song "Change" has always meant so much to him that he strongly believes there was no other song to sing. "I wrote “Change” (my audition song) about going through the loss of one of my best friends to suicide. I wrote it as a tribute to him, and as a message of hope for everyone else out there suffering. If I could help save just one life from that song then that was all I could possibly hope for," he said, "Since then I’ve become a big advocate and ambassador for the ‘American Foundation for Suicide’. "

As highly expected, he claimed to have received so much support and love from everyone, including random people on Instagram. "It was so surreal for all of us," he said. Many people reached out to him saying that they have found peace in his song, and this is when his Instagram fanbase started increasing.

He considers American Idol an invaluable experience where he was constantly learning from it. However, there are always obstacles and challenges that a person might face in order to achieve such a success. Unfortunately, Knight experienced a panic attack due to the sleep deprivation and the constant pressure of trying to live up to the audience's expectations. As he recalled,

" The biggest obstacle for me was the last round of Hollywood Week. It is also my proudest moment. My roommate/friend had been sent home the day prior. With the combination of sleep deprivation, pressure, trying to live up to my audition, all while being surrounded by the most incredibly talented people I’ve ever met, as soon as I woke up I was overcome with a panic attack. I’d never experienced anything like it. I locked myself In my hotel room afraid of cameras, and began packing my suitcase. I was set on leaving. I called my family and my manager/best friend and told them I just couldn’t handle it, even if it meant giving up on my lifelong passion. Then some of the production team, along with my manager came to my hotel room to calm me down, taking it step by step - getting dressed, and tricking me into going to the theatre. By taking one little step/small victory throughout the day, I ended up giving what I believe to be one of my best, and most raw performances. I had two choices: to quit and go home, or to push through and see what happens on the other side. It’s much like sailing through a hurricane, you never know what it’s like until you do it. It was a moment of truth and perseverance that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. "

During lockdown, he has had a lot of time to self-reflect, which helped him with his songwriting. "It’s definitely been quite a transition coming off the show as Idol’s been nearly the last year of my life," he said, " I’ve never been more excited to get back to my original music though, as I didn’t have much time for it during the show." He hopes to record an album soon and start touring as soon as he can! Most importantly, he advises every singer to just stay true to who he/she is no matter what and not change to fit into a mold.

Towards the end of the interview, I proceeded with asking Louis some fun and random questions.

1. What is your favorite drink?

Fizzy water probably

2. What is your dream vacation destination?

Bora Bora

3. What is your biggest fear?

I have a bad fear of spiders hahaha

(I mean who doesn't, lol)

4. Who inspires you the most?

I’d say, my family and friends. In terms of contemporary musicians, I’d have to say Jon Bellion, and Lewis Capaldi.

5. What is something people don’t know about you?

My middle name is Christian.

6. Do you know how to cook?

I’d like to think so haha, I’ve been teaching myself to cook a lot during the pandemic! :)

(I must admit, this lockdown has turned us all into chefs haha.)

Last but not least, don't forget to check out Louis's latest song!

“One New Year’s Eve, I ended up hitting it off with my good friend’s older sister, which did not go down well with him. I wrote this song the next day inspired by the idea of having a strong connection with someone but not being able to act on those feelings and debating which path to go down.”

If you haven't already, go follow him on Instagram and Twitter to see more from him.

Mariam Ramzy
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Mariam Ramzy is a freshman student that is currently studying physiotherapy at the University of Hertfordshire. She aspires to achieve so many things in life, including traveling the world and becoming a certified scuba diver.