Cameron man looking to be next American Idol
A Cameron man earned his golden ticket to Hollywood on American Idol a few weeks ago and will be gracing that stage on March 21.
Cecil Ray Baker, 20, auditioned for the show in Oaji, Calif., and was featured on the Feb. 28 episode of the show for his chance at fame.
He earned three yes votes from judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Ritchie during the episode.
“It was really life-changing,” Baker said. “It was a nerve-raking experience. I was beyond nervous for the audition. I am just so grateful for the experience, especially getting three yes votes.”
During the episode that aired in February, judge Luke Bryan called Baker “absolute perfection.”
Bryan gave Baker words of encouragement saying, “put your hands in your pockets -- front pockets -- close your eyes, [and] sing that chorus again. I think you are absolute perfection ... You are what we are about here at American Idol.”
Bryan told Baker his voice is really distinctive and interesting, and really good enough to potentially do really well in the competition.
Baker said he began singing through his family and his brother Kenny’s interest in music, saying it has always come natural to him.
He began singing at seven years old and falling in love with country music because of Kenny.
Baker auditioned with Morgan Wallen’s “Talkin’ Tennessee.”
During his segment on the show, Baker said he wants to give his daughter a life he never had, and he’s using his voice and determination to get her there.
“With American Idol, I feel like it was meant to be,” he said. “Everything in life I feel like was leading up to this moment. I feel like American Idol was what I need to put my daughter in a better living situation, despite what I grew up in. I used to be the little kid standing in front of the TV screen watching American Idol, watching Ryan Seacrest give golden tickets out. I knew ever since then... I was going to be there one day.”
Baker has also been dealt an enormous amount of loss, losing very important people to him by suicide and music helped him cope.
“At 11 years old I lost a childhood friend that I grew up going to school with in 2011, and then the very next year in 2012, I lost my brother, my mom’s oldest son, to suicide in June. The very next year in 2013, I lost my uncle to suicide,” he said.
Baker performed in a send off concert at T’s Bar and Grill in Cameron on March 10. He left for Hollywood on March 11 to chase his dreams.
American Idol airs on ABC at 7 p.m. on Sunday nights. Baker will be featured in the Hollywood rounds on the March 21 episode.