Grayson County native Elvie Shane Payton auditioned for American Idol in 2015 and his episode with the results of his audition is expected to air on national TV this Thursday, Jan. 14 on Fox.
A 2006 graduate of Grayson County High School, Payton, now of Monticello, was raised in Caneyville, and his journey to American Idol began in mid-2015 when his mother started a Facebook campaign to raise money for him to travel to Los Angeles, CA to audition for The Voice.
In a little over a month, they raised about $3,000, and Payton travelled to Los Angeles for the audition, but he was not selected for The Voice.
When he returned home, Payton said a friend recommended that he travel to Little Rock, AR to try his hand at American Idol.
About a week after returning from Los Angeles, Payton was at the Verizon Arena in Little Rock for the American Idol auditions where he performed before judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Jr.
Payton said he wasn’t nervous about travelling to Little Rock, but when the time came to actually audition, he was slightly unsure of himself.
“You may be good, but you never know if you’re going to be what they’re looking for that day,” said Payton, adding that he has always preferred performing in front of larger crowds where there are more opportunities for listeners to enjoy his music.
Since Payton was a child, music has played a major role in his life.
Payton wrote his first song at age 15, and his roots go back to the gospel music he performed while attending church with his mother, as well as the rock n’ roll he listened to with his father.
Payton has performed music for most of his life and helped form the first chorus group that Caneyville Elementary School ever had. He even sang the first ever Caneyville Elementary School chorus solo performance at the city tree lighting ceremony in 1998.
Payton quit chorus prior to high school and formed his first band, Cornerstone, with Jeremy and Caleb Carnes, alongside a few other musicians from Breckinridge County, and performed with that band all throughout his high school career.
After high school, Payton moved to Bowling Green and formed the band 88 with Seth Stewart and Chad Lindsey.
Since the dissolution of that band, Payton has performed primarily as a solo artist and currently travels to Nashville, TN at least once a week to work with songwriters there.
After meeting his wife four years ago, Payton quit playing music for a couple of years before the members of a band called Borrowed Blue, who had graduated with his wife, inspired him to start playing again.
“They played a bigger part in getting me where I am today than they probably even realize,” Payton said of Borrowed Blue.
Finally, in 2015, Payton decided to devote his life to music.
“If you stay persistent at something you love…good things will come from it,” he said.
The results of his audition are yet to be seen, but, Payton said, he is grateful for and humbled by the outpouring of support he has received, especially in his hometown where he is looking to play a “come back home” show this year.
“If I make it through the auditions, I will be looking to take my best song to Hollywood week,” Payton said.
“I’ll ride the American Idol train as far as it will take me,” he said.
American Idol began its 15th and final season last week on Fox and will air every Wednesday from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. CST and Thursday from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. CST.
In addition to the judges, American Idol also features host Ryan Seacrest.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.