Four Belmont alumni made it to Hollywood week on “American Idol” season 14, and one alumna shared her story of how she went from singing on campus to national television.
“The ‘American Idol’ experience pushed me to work harder at my own career, to keep going and keep grinding. It solidified that I’m a contender,” said Piper Jones, a 2012 Belmont graduate and commercial music major with vocal performance emphasis.
Jones made it to the very last round of Hollywood week– or the solos round– where she was cut.
Other alumni, including Cody Fry, Cameron Bedell and KellyeAnn Rogers, made it to the Hollywood week but were later cut.
Former Belmont student Rayvon Owens is still competing on the show.
Belmont’s music program prepared the alumni for the show, Jones said.
“My education from Belmont was invaluable, it just put me in a different category than the other people there. There was a difference between professionals and people who sing because it was their hobby,” she said.
During group rounds, Jones wasn’t intimidated. She collaborated with three other Belmont alumni and performed “the judge’s favorite performance of that day,” she said.
Although others in the “American Idol” process thought group rounds were the most challenging part of the experience, the lack of sleep and demanding schedule made competition more strenuous, Jones said.
For any Belmont students looking to compete, the key to the competition is remaining genuine to one’s artistry, Jones said.
“It’s really important to have some knowledge of who you are as an artist and not who you think what they want you to be. It’s important to be authentic,” she said. “Being authentic will draw them to you.”
Her experience on “American Idol” also made her realize what artistic route she wanted to follow, Jones said. She’s now entering into Christian music.
“I finally realized that I wanted to sing music for Him and minister to people,” she said. “My heart was to lead people to God and to have them experience God in a real way, because that’s real to who I am.”
With this new sense of purpose, Jones set up a GoFundMe account in support of financing her new EP that will come out this year.
With her development of the EP, Jones remains optimistic despite her rejection in the “American Idol” solo round.
“Every ‘no’ brings you closer to your ‘yes’,” she said.
Although Jones’ journey on “American Idol” ended, students can still watch alumnus Rayvon Owens as he competes with the top 10.