After being eliminated just shy of the American Idol semifinals in Season 12, David Oliver Willis and his wife opened a coffee shop in their home in Mount Dora, Fla.
But that didn’t mean David put aside his dreams of making it as a musician.
He was back before the Idol judges in Detroit, wowing them with a guitar-accompanied version of Alex Clare’s “Too Close.”
Keith Urban, who remembered David in a heartbeat, called his voice “beautiful.” Jennifer Lopez said his performance just “felt right.”
And so David breezed into Idol’s Hollywood round for the second straight year, hoping to go farther in Season 13.
The 22-year-old certainly has experience on his side. Last year, he told The Orlando Sentinel that he was just 12 when he started touring and performing with his mother, Hattie Willis, a motivational evangelical singer.
David also said he performed in six different choirs growing up and spent two years singing with an opera company in Orlando.
In his Road to Hollywood video, David said he entered the audition room determined to show he’d improved in the past year.
He points to Ray Charles as a major musical influence “because of the way he’s able to cross different genres and still bring who he is to each of those genres.
David says he hopes his ability to connect with cover songs as though he wrote them himself and his knack for taking older songs and making them current will serve him well on the show.
A year ago, he described his style as “a little bit folk, a little bit blue” and “an eclectic melting pot of new music and old-school music.”
For profiles of more than 90 other Season 13 contestants, head here.
“Folsom Prison Blues” (Johnny Cash cover)
“Tt Ain’t Me Babe” (with his wife)
“Skinny Love” (Bon Iver cover)