15-Year-Old Triston Harper, Once A Homeless Youth, Triumphs On American Idol On “Cover Me Up”

15-Year-Old Triston Harper shared his thunderous voice on American Idol last month, singing Jason Isbell’s heartfelt ballad “Cover Me Up”. The teen, who hails from the rural Alabama town of McIntosh, had quite a journey on his way to American Idol. At the age of 12, he and his mother were left homeless following their escape from a difficult situation with his step-father. For his audition, Triston played the acoustic guitar and showcased a powerful and soulful voice that left the judges hanging on every word.

Triston, who is a member of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians, has one of those unique voices that just touches your soul. Judge Lionel Richie was blown away, saying “Your voice, you got it. When you go into telling a story, you’ve got us right here. The purity of your verses… killer. Make sure we know what that story is, because your voice is a story-telling voice.”

Before performing, Triston shared the story of his escape from his step-father, saying “The lowest part of my life was when my mum and I became homeless and were sleeping on the sidewalk. I had just turned 12.” The teen said he asked God for help, and deliverance came when his papaw drove non-stop from Arkansas to come and pick the pair up. “I never thought I’d be able to tell my story to American Idol, ever,” Triston added. “It makes me happy just thinking about it.”

Judge Katy Perry was on her feet following Triston’s performance, giving him a standing ovation. She said, “You were so authentic, so connected to yourself, singing from your soul. It wasn’t perfect, but it resonated with me. I’m impressed for 15 – that’s the old soul. The old Alabama.” Below, you can hear Triston stretch his legs a bit with his guitar playing and singing on a blues number, which was picked up by Arkansas TV station THV11.

Country star Luke Bryan gave a frank appraisal of Triston’s audition, saying, “Anything that you’re doing technically-wise singing, is ‘cause you’re 15. I could have an afternoon with you and just say ‘Don’t do that anymore!’ And man, you’re just…” Perry finished for the singer, saying, “You’re a shotgun, just watch where you’re aiming it.”

The judges then invited Triston’s mother, Paddy Mae, onto the set. They weren’t bringing her on just to disappoint the proud mum. The judges swiftly gave her boy three yes votes, sending him all the way to Hollywood.

Listen to the powerful and soulful voice of Triston Harper that has left many, including American Idol judges, captivated. Make sure to follow his journey and hear more of his music on his Instagram.

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