By Reginald Allen
For The Birmingham Times
Birmingham might just have another American Idol.
Dominique Posey, 26, is going to Hollywood, making him a contender for the coveted title. Ruben Studdard put the Magic City on the map after winning the second season in 2002. Hoover native Taylor Hicks, known for his signature grey hair and soulful croon won in 2006.
The popular singing competition, which ran for ten seasons on Fox, is back with a new network. But does that mean that there’s room for another Alabama winner? Posey thinks so.
“I’m trying to make sure I don’t disappoint anybody, that I do my very best and bring some pride back to Alabama, but also bring some pride to Atlanta,” said Posey, an Atlanta native, during his official watch party at 1st & 23rd in downtown Birmingham.
Due to the inclement weather, his audition couldn’t broadcast, but that didn’t stop friends and family from flooding phone and social media with words of support and encouragement the moment it aired.
Posey, who auditioned in November, joked that it wasn’t that hard keeping the secret for almost six months.
“I knew that people would get excited and the anticipation would build,” he said. “It would be good to share that energy with everyone else.”
Before coming face-to-face with judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie in Nashville, the contestant had to pass the tour bus preliminaries in Tuscumbia at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Getting through was a milestone.
Posey, who tried out for “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice” in the past found himself discouraged after not making it through the staff auditions. However, with a lot encouragement from loved ones, Posey decided to give the resurrected reality show a chance.
When he walked in the audition room, the first thought was “how am I going to fill up this space with my voice?” Out of all the judges, Posey said he immediately locked eyes with Richie, the “Hello” singer. Growing up with his music, the “All Night Long” singer served as a mental focal point. He also wanted to make a connection with the multi-Grammy winner.
“I really wanted to impress Lionel, because I’ve been a fan of him all of my life,” Posey said. “So, I wanted to impress him because he’s had such a great impact on me.”
For his audition, he performed a stripped-down version of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song for You,” a selection that had the star-studded panel stricken with goosebumps. Richie commended Posey for his song selection which he “handled it with care and ease.” Perry added that his career as a legal secretary wasn’t his true calling.
“I don’t know if that’s your purpose,” Perry said shaking her head with a smirk. “I think your purpose is probably to deliver some beautiful music to the world.”
After quick deliberation, Posey got a unanimous yes from the judges. (A “Hell Yeah” from Bryan.) Next stop: Hollywood.
Finding His Voice
Originally from Atlanta, Posey said that music was always a staple in his household. The offspring of two vocalists, the 26-year-old said he was immersed in music at a young age. Growing up, his father exposed him to the diverse sounds of Kiss, Heart and Whitney Houston. His mother, Karen Bryant, sings professionally and just released a studio album.
After a small stint at Fort Valley State University, he decided to take a different path. The problem was that he didn’t know where to start. At the suggestion of his grandparents, Posey moved to the Magic City to “land on my feet.” He never looked back.
The 26-year-old kicked off his singing career at Legends Sports Longue for open mic night, but it wasn’t until he was booked for a wedding reception that the Alabama transplant knew it was his calling. Describing his voice as versatile and distinct, the seasoned vocalist notched a number of recent feats which included opening for Grammy-nominated artist Brian McKnight and Keke Wyatt.
“I feel like when you hear me sing, you have no doubt that’s me singing,” Posey said.
The Idol Game Plan
Posey’s strategy is simple: do his best and “Knock’em dead.” With his extensive vocal range, the 26-year-old said he looks forward to showing America and the judges what he’s capable of. Asked what song he hopes to sing on the Idol stage, the answer was simple: Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” The popular track resonates with him and his musical journey.
For the singer, being on Idol is like a key.
“Idol means an opportunity,” Posey stated. “I love keys. I have a certain thing about keys. For me, Idol was like a key to a world that I might’ve never had a chance to access.”
“American Idol” airs Monday at 7 P.M. on ABC