Coffee Shops and Corner Music: Nashville American Idol Contestants

I wrote in a previous post about interviewing contestants that auditioned for American Idol in Nashville in the summer of 2014. Riley Bria and Kory Wheeler were two of those contestants featured on the Jan.…

I wrote in a previous post about interviewing contestants that auditioned for American Idol in Nashville in the summer of 2014. Riley Bria and Kory Wheeler were two of those contestants featured on the Jan. 7 American Idol episode on FOX. If you were watching, you know that both received a golden ticket to Hollywood.

Both are unique, not only in their genre of music, but also with their IDOL stories, and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with them. Below are excerpts from my interviews with them, in which they talked about their American Idol experiences and — our favorite NowPlayingNashville.com topic — their favorite local places to go in Nashville:

AI14_Nashville-Auditions_0219_fRiley Bria (17) Spring Hill, Tenn.

What or who convinced you to audition for American Idol?
My Mom. She’s always pushing me to grab a hold of these experiences and take advantage of them. Plus it was in Nashville and I live only 20 minutes away.

Which song did you audition with?
I sang “Georgia Woods” by Keith Urban in the cattle call and “Whatever She’s Got” by David Nail in the audition.

Who was your favorite judge and why?
Keith Urban. The audition was the second time I met Keith. I played the American Country Awards (ACA) with him. When I went to the audition, Harry Connick Jr. started asking all of the normal questions. Then Keith remembered him and told the ACA story to J Lo and Harry.

So tell me who influences your genre of music.
I am a country artist, probably the biggest influences are Keith Urban, and Rascal Flatts with some other country rock influences.

Being that you are local to the Nashville area, tell me one of your favorite places to go.
Little guitar shops. I love Edley’s Bar-B-Que in 12 South because Corner Music is just right across the street.

How did it feel getting that ticket to Hollywood?
It was the coolest feeling ever! All of my hard work is paying off.

 

AI14_Nashville-Auditions_0639Kory Wheeler (26) Nashville, TN (Originally from Jamestown, Tenn)

What or who convinced you to audition for American Idol?
I work at Bongo Java in the Omni Hotel and they happened to be filming across the street. They ended up calling me at 10:00pm to audition for some producers and it all happened within the span of 20 hours.

Which song did you audition with?
The first song I chose was “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison. Then in the live auditions I picked “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Rait.

Who was your favorite judge and why?
They are all culturally recognizable, so I can’t pick just one. The whole day was so surreal. It didn’t really register with me. I was kind of lucky and didn’t get any negative feedback. It was really validation for me, as I had given up on music as a career. It was cool to have that validation and give this whole thing a shot again.

So tell me who influences your genre of music.
I like the folksy side of things. Some of my influences would be Ryan Adams, Bonnie Vare, Damien Rice, and Ray LaMontagne.

Being that you are local to the Nashville area, tell me one of your favorite places to go.
I really like Fido, being that I work for Bongo Java. I also love Pinewood social a lot.

How did it feel getting that ticket to Hollywood?
I was pretty elated! One day I’m making coffee and the next day I’m going to Hollywood. To be able to say those words, just feels really good.