Blake Ellege, “the hardest working tenor in show business,” performs in eight different bands and started his singing career in church as a toddler.
Ellege is performing in overalls on “American Idol” during the televised auditions in Savannah, Georgia on March 1. The episode airs at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
Ellege has decades of performance and recording experience. The North Carolina man started singing with his parents as a young child and released his first album when he was only 6 years old. He is a member of country, gospel and blues associations and performs throughout the country.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Blake Ellege Began Performing at Age 4 With His Parents in a Trio Called ‘Chosen’ & Was Signed at Age 6
Blake Ellege first started singing when he was only a toddler. During a church service, he told his mother he wanted to sing. She was amazed that he was able to sing all three verses of a hymn, he wrote on his website.
“Blake Anthony Ellege started performing at a very early age. When he was 2 years old, during a church service one Sunday, he looked at his mother and said: ‘Mommy, I want to sing,'” his website said. “She stood him up on the piano bench, and to her amazement, he sang all three verses and choruses of a hymn. It was then that she knew that he was destined for greatness.”
While it’s not unusual for parents to be sure their children are talented, Ellege quickly proved himself. He became the third member of his parents’ singing group, “Chosen,” and performed with them globally. He was signed to a record label at age 6, when he released his first album. He set a record in the North Carolina Gospel Singing Championship, which still stands.
“At the age of 4, Blake began traveling all over the world and singing in the Southern Gospel trio: ‘Chosen’ with his parents,” his website said. “Just a few years later, Blake was signed to a gospel music record label and released his first album at the age of 6. Blake started competing in the North Carolina Gospel Singing Championship, in the youth division and placed 1st in the category for 5 consecutive years until he turned 11. It was at that time that his age prevented him from competing in the youth category anymore. His winning record is one that still stands to this very day.”
2. Blake Anthony Ellege Also Goes by the Nickname, ‘Papa Bear’
Blake Anthony Ellege also goes by the nickname, “Papa Bear,” according to his Facebook page. He doesn’t discuss how he earned the nickname, but it’s used enough that he decided to make it a part of his page.
His Facebook page includes information on his tours, bands and personal musings.
“2:00 am mind wanderings…..,” he wrote. “Your fingers have fingertips, but your toes don’t have toe tips. Yet you can tiptoe but not tip finger.”
He even shared a moment when his iconic overalls were on backwards.
“I knew today was going to be rough when I struggled getting dressed this morning,” he wrote on Facebook. “I was putting on my overalls and I couldn’t figure out for the life of me where the suspenders were. I kept looking and reaching behind me…..spinning in a circle trying to chase down and grab at least one of the suspenders. Finally, somewhat dizzy and pretty frustrated, I walked up to the mirror to see what the problem was. Y’all…they were on backwards. I put my overalls on backwards. The suspenders were hanging down in front of me and the bib was at the middle of my back. Today was a rough day from the start, but it definitely got better. Onward and upward! Tomorrow is a brand new day!”
3. Blake Ellege Earned a Degree in Music & Is an Ordained Minister
Blake Ellege has a diverse skill set. He performs in eight different bands, works as Santa Claus and landed his first record deal at age six. He has a range of singing skills, performing in gospel, country and blues bands. Ellege can even officiate weddings.
Ellege is an ordained minister, according to his Facebook page. He was ordained in Brevard, North Carolina in 2011.
“Officiating non-denominational weddings and marriages in a completely customizable ‘choose your own ceremony” format,'” his Facebook page said.
Ellege also holds a degree in music. He graduated from East Henderson High School in Hendersonville, North Carolina in 2009, his Facebook page said. He went on to study music at Brevard College, where he earned a degree in vocal performance in 2014.
“In 2014, Blake graduated from Brevard College with a BA in Music with an emphasis in Classical Vocal Music Performance. He was presented with numerous awards during his course of study there including being named ‘Most Outstanding Music Performer,’ being awarded the Asheville Lyric Opera Guild Scholarship and receiving an award nomination from The Kennedy Center for: ‘Best Sound Design in a Collegiate Theater Production’ in 2013,” his website said.
4. Blake Ellege Also Performs as Santa Claus With Appalachian Santa
When Blake Ellege isn’t donning his overalls, he’s sometimes donning a red suit. Ellege performs as Appalachian Santa, along with Larry the Elf and Mrs. Claus.
His website says:
Appalachian Santa is a Professional Santa Claus service provided by Blake Ellege that serves the Southeast with all of its Santa and Christmas Entertainment needs.
With over 20 years of professional experience in the entertainment, theatre and television industry, Appalachian Santa offers services that no other Santa can provide.
Blake is a graduate of the International University of Santa Claus and a student of The Santa Claus Conservatory.
He is also a member of the following Santa Organizations:
The International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas
The Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas
The Clan Claus Society
Appalachian Santa is a fully insured service provider and background checks for all performers can be provided upon request of the client.
His services include tree lighting, community singalongs, home visits and storytelling.
5. Blake Ellege’s Professional Experience Includes Celebrity Impersonations & Singing on Cruise Ships
Blake Ellege has a unique set of skills. He performs in eight different bands and has a wide range of vocal talents. He is known for gospel, blues and country performance, although he traces his roots to gospel singing in church in North Carolina, according to his website. He toured globally with his parents as a young child and was signed to a record label at age 6.
“As years passed, his horizons were broadened to many more different styles of music,” his website said. “He began to work with numerous bands of contrasting styles and genres from all over the north and southeast. He also began delving into character work and celebrity musician impersonations; as an Elvis Tribute Artist (ETA) and as a “Jake Blues” Tribute Artist in a Blues Brothers Tribute show. Due to his vocal prowess and character work as an Elvis Tribute Artist, Blake was given the honor to headline at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Memphis, Tennessee for 5 years, performing at Graceland (the home of Elvis Presley) and was featured in LIFE Magazine in 2007 on the 30th Anniversary of Elvis’s death.”
He began traveling the world as a child, and his visited dozens of countries and performed on TV shows long before “American Idol.” He even performed on cruise ships and on international broadcasts.
“In addition to his extensive time spent performing in the United States, Blake has performed in countries all over the world including performances in Italy, France, Russia, The Czech Republic, The Bahamas, Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with various chorales, chamber groups and bands,” his website said. “He has performed at sea for Carnival, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean Cruise lines as well. Blake has also performed for television programming in 12 different countries and has performed on countless International radio broadcasts based out of the United States.”