Dillon James on ‘American Idol’: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Dillon James American Idol

ABC/Eric McCandless

Dillon James is one of the Season 18 American Idol hopefuls. The musician and songwriter is from Bakersfield, California. The audition will air on March 1, 2020.

James auditioned for Idol judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry alone with his guitar. He performs country and alternative music.

He is a guitar lover, as referenced on his Instagram. James recently visited Taylor Guitars with his dad. “It was always a life long dream of mine to see where and how they are made,” he wrote. “Some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve ever seen.”

Heres what you should know about Dillon James:


1. He won a songwriting competition in New York in 2012

In 2012, James won the International Modeling and Talent Association’s inaugural Songwriting Competition at the IMTA New York Convention.

The competitors performed their original compositions for consideration from industry professionals. After the competition, James was able to go to Nashville to meet the CEO of Capital Records and the CEO of RCA Records.

According to the press release, they would fast-track in-studio and cut a demo within the following 30-60 days after the competition. He was sent to the competition as a songwriter but also as an artist.


2. He Appeared in a Lifetime Movie

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A song I wrote about my life.

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In 2013, James was cast in Lifetime’s A Country ChristmasThe movie stars Dolly Parton and follows a teenage chorister from a small Appalachian town who has dreams of become a country music star.

James was cast as Jamie Warner, a teenage country singer though he had very little acting experience at the time. The casting directors changed the age of the role from 16 to 19 to fit James.

James told IMTA that recording at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and then filming in Los Angeles alongside Dolly Parton was a great experience.

“Oh my gosh, it was the most fun I’ve ever had,” he said. The film premiered on November 9, 2013.


3. James Released an EP in 2019

In January 2019, James released his first EP, which is available on Apple Music, Spotify and other streaming platforms. It features six songs and is titled Good Ole Boy.

The track list includes songs “Alone,” “Burn,” “Open Roads,” “Shooting Doubles,” “Third Eye,” and “Getting High.”

The most-streamed song on Spotify is “Alone,” which has over 1,000 streams. He has promised a full record coming sometime in early 2020.


4. He Has Many Tattoos

James has a full Instagram feed full of his many tattoos. They cover his arms, hands and much of his chest and include references to religion and pop culture. They can all be seen here.

James had tattoos on display during his audition for American Idol since he wore a not fully buttoned button-up shirt while performing.

The tattoo artist who did much of the work on James was Hai Low, of Cryptic Tattoo in Los Angeles, according to many of James’ Instagram stories.


5. James Has Struggled with Drugs and Alcohol

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RANT ALERT LOL let me start off by saying. I NEVER WOULDA thought in a million years I’d Be singing in front of @katyperry @lionelrichie @lukebryan on @americanidol ! As many of my close family and friends know, as well as many don’t, I have had a very brutal last couple years fighting drugs and alcohol, I definitely realize through this almost 7 year journey “I’m” really nothing special and have problems just like everyone else, I’m only human like we all are. But Nothing in life no matter how good or bad, will last forever.but learning from my own mistakes over and over, losing my best friend, Finding myself alone sleeping on the streets multiple times with wrecked family life and nothing going for me or to look forward too, i had nothing but time to learn to meditate to help progress my dreams of being happy again, To have my family again. To be me again. I saw that with perseverance and dedication anything is possible if I could invision it and justTrust the process. ??I’m so close to two years sober and I can truly say I love all you guys!! if you’re feeling alone you’re not!!! We are all one.?namaste friends, never been a preacher but if I even only help one person who was in my shoes by the mistakes I’ve made, then I’m truly blessed. Peep American idol this Sunday to see my journey if I made it or not to Hollywood! One love?‍♂️?

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According to an Instagram post about his audition, James has struggled with drugs and alcohol over the past seven years.

“As many of my close family and friends know, as well as many don’t, I have had a very brutal last couple years fighting drugs and alcohol, I definitely realize through this almost 7 year journey ‘I’m’ really nothing special and have problems just like everyone else,” he writes.

He said nothing in life ever lasts forever and “Finding myself alone sleeping on the streets multiple times with wrecked family life and nothing going for me or to look forward to, I had nothing but time to learn to meditate to help progress my dreams of being happy again.”

In the post, he said he is close to two years sober and no one is alone.

Followers commented on the photo to let James know he wasn’t alone and they’re proud of him.

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