For the first time American Idol history, the show is heading to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, where they will narrow down Season 17’s 40 remaining contestants to its Top 20. While judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie listen to everyone sing, one contestant is sure to stand out: Uche Ndubizu.
The 24-year-old, who’s full name is Uchechukwu Walter Ndubizu-Egwimis, is not new to the music scene. The R&B singer and songwriter has released an EP entitled “My Generation” and once opened for superstar Demi Lovato and rapper B.o.B.
The Nigerian-American contestant from Texas is also an actor and a model. He won the Acuvue 1-Day contest and got to shoot an ad in which he was personally mentored by Joe Jonas. So, if the 6’4 singer doesn’t continue on through the American Idol season, which is unlikely considering Nbudizu’s high energy performances, there other avenues he can take his talents.
Here’s what you need to know about Uche Nbudizu:
1. Uche’s EP is a Biopic Record
While Uche will be singing covers like George Michael’s “Faith” on American Idol, he also writes his own music, and the singer’s recent EP, “My Generation,” is based on his on life’s experiences. Uche wrote on his website, “[It] speaks of the issues I have with my own generation. I meant it to be a musical vehicle that provides fiercely honest social commentary on my generation’s dulled social conscious.”
He said the album “is very honest, which is scary, because you’re putting your personal life out there, but the songs are lit, so the message sneaks up on you.” His single, “Mob Luxuries,” was inspired by a friend of his that overdosed after taking too much molly and drugs at a party. “It’s about the luxuries of being with your squad, your crew, and the feeling of euphoria you get when you start turning up and you do more drugs than you would than if you were by yourself.”
The album’s message, as he told to the Austin Chronicle, “I’m not saying don’t have fun anymore. I’m saying let’s have some moderation.
2. Uche Shot a National Commercial with Joe Jonas
In 2013, Uche won the Acuvue 1-Day contest and go to shoot a national commercial with singer Joe Jonas. In the spot, Jonas is asked what the one word is that describes Uché, and Joe says, “Energy!”
The acne brand also promoted Uche as a singer, and helped release his single “Shoo Fly,” and sponsored the music video for the track in 2014.
3. He’s a Proud Texan
“Houston, pay your phone bill because, if we need to start voting at some point, I need y’all to be ready,” the Sugar Land, Texas native said, speaking with ABC 13. The singer was born in Houston, and spent two years attending college at Southern Methodist University, where he performed in the college’s acapella group, Southern Gentlemen.
In 2014, Uche transerred to Texas State University, and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology. Uche held his album release party in Austin, and regularly performs at popular venues around the city.
4. Uche May Not Listen to the ‘American Idol’ Judges’ Critiques
Uche is not the kind of singer that just stands there with his mic, he’s admittedly inspired by David Bowie, George Michael and Prince. And while the American Idol judges have asked him to done down his moves to concentrate on his singing, it’s dubious as to whether or not Uche will take the advice. “I feel like I’m my truest self when I’m on stage,” he said. “I can be as extra as I want to be and you can’t say nothing, because you bought the tickets and you wanted a show.”
His secret? Never second guessing himself. “Kill it, rock that confidence! Rock all the things that stand out and make you different,” Uche said. “How are you going to lead if you’re just like everybody else?”
5. He Works as a Professional Wedding Singer
Before auditioning for American Idol, Uche cut his teeth singing iconic cover songs by becoming a member of one of the top Wedding Bands in Texas, Drywater Band. The singer performed with the band at events, weddings, and galas all over the state.
Founded in 2004, The Houston based band includes four different group variations in order to best match the music to their client’s taste. On Drywater Band’s website, their video collection includes performance of Uche singing Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man,” Bruno Mars’ “24K,” and Cannibal & the Headhunters’ “Land of 1,000 Dances.”