'American Idol' Chris Sligh's Rise to Fame

CBN.com ONLY CLASSICAL MUSIC         Chris grew up in Germany where his father was a chaplain to American troops. His dad, a conservative guitarist and songwriter, banned all non-classical music from their home. For bedtime music he would play Mozart or Beethoven. When Chris was five, he would listen to the music, pick out the individual parts and sing along until he fell asleep.

In high school, Chris got involved in music and theater. In college, Chris started out in pre-law at Pensacola Christian College in Florida. Then he transferred to Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.

Chris wanted to major in music. His parents thought music was the most unmarketable degree to get.

''I don't need jobs! I'm going to be a singer!'' Chris said. 

He progressed in his school's vocal performance program despite having no previous formal instruction and was invited to the Julliard School and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In December of his senior year, Chris was expelled from college for attending a Christian rock concert. 

Looking back, Chris believes it was the best thing that could have happened. Four months later, Chris recorded his first solo acoustic album. He played in coffeehouses and through word of mouth. Over the next several years, he put together several groups, one of which stirred major label interest and elevated him toward a breakthrough in the mainstream pop market.


In 2006, Chris auditioned for American Idol on a whim. He made it to the final rounds.  Though he didn't win, Chris captivated millions of American Idol viewers. 

The day after he was voted off, Chris got emails and calls from numerous record labels.  Chris was just trying to figure out where he needed to be. One label put $250,000 on the table and it was scary for Chris to walk away from it. 

“It just wasn’t the right deal for me,” says Chris, 29. “The way I look at it is this: I don’t have to be rich; I don’t have to be famous for the rest of my life. All I want to do is be able to be at peace with God, be a good husband and make a living doing what I love.” 

Several months after American Idol, Chris started thinking that God was calling him to Christian music, which was odd. 

“I was doing a mainstream thing before, with my band and American Idol is a mainstream venue,” Chris said. By going through what he went through, Chris believes it allowed him to be more realistic and have realistic expectations. 

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