It’s always inspiring when I encounter someone that opens my eyes a little wider.
I want to share a conversation that I had with a brilliant singer by the name of James Durbin. His name may ring more bells than the noon hour at Ss. Peter & Paul for those that have watched American Idol in the past. Durbin finished in fourth place during the 10th Season of the television juggernaut and made deep impressions on everyone that was involved with the show. There are many reasons that James left such an indelible impact. Sure, he has amazing range and Herculean strength that propels his voice, but it’s his life journey that makes it all a triumph.
James Durbin lost his father to a heroin overdose at the age of nine. Soon after the loss of his father, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s and Tourette’s Syndrome. James was bullied in school because of his facial tics and social awkwardness. He never finished high school, instead he attended a music school where he performed lead roles in theater productions of things like Grease and West Side Story.
He began to find solace in theater and found a voice and a home in heavy metal music. James has done voice overs, concerts, and a number of recordings since his appearance on American Idol, and will be releasing a new record, The Beast Awakens, under the name Durbin on February 12.
James overcame the same hurdles that have crippled or killed so many others. His spirit, tenacity, and courage to keep going and make his dreams a reality are qualities that we can all learn to employ.