Carrie’s Chronicles | Written by Carrie Berk, with additional reporting by Gabriela Vascimini | Link
Louis Knight captured hearts across the country during his time on American Idol this past season—now he’s slated to become the knight in shining armor to your summer playlist. The 19-year-old made it all the way to the show’s Top Seven, connecting to the audience and judges on a deeper level than most of his fellow competitors. Even as the series shifted to at-home only, the more intimate setting of his performances lent itself perfectly to his unique tone. Now, the singer is releasing music of his own with an equally emotional pull, whether you’re watching him perform live or listening to his tunes on loop through your iPhone. His latest release, “Maybe That,” shines in a stripped-down music video—solely Knight, his piano and his extensive vocal range. Get to know the artist as he reflects on his Idol experience and explains the inspiration behind his latest hit.
Why did you decide to audition for American Idol?
The opportunity to audition completely fell out of the sky. I was trying to engage more on social media and grow my Instagram account. I randomly commented on a girl’s singing video, and a casting producer, Shae Wilbur (now a great friend!), saw my comment and looked at my music. She reached out asking if I’d be interested in auditioning for Idol—I didn’t even think it was real! I was a little skeptical at first because I’d put everything into my original music and was pursuing the path of becoming a singer-songwriter. The thought of having to sing other people’s songs worried me because I didn’t want to sacrifice the artistry I’d been trying to build. But once I heard I’d be able to perform my original song, “Change,” I knew I had to go on the show. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I learned that there’s more than one path to get to your destination.
What’s one thing that surprised you once you were accepted on the show?
The friends I made. We all went through such an incredible, challenging, unique experience together, and we saw each other at our highest and lowest points. We all became a family, and I’m so grateful. I also grew close to the production team—they’re all amazing people.
What’s one piece of advice a judge gave you that you’ll carry throughout your career?
In Hawaii, Katy Perry said to “get back to singing from your heart.” That’s the whole reason I do what I do, especially why I write music. It was easy to forget that for a moment amid everything going on and the anxiety of the competition.
How did you adapt to the challenges that came with at-home live shows?
I’m so happy and grateful that production was determined to keep the show on air and finish out the season as best as they possibly could. The biggest challenge for me with the at-home live shows was trying to connect to the song and have everyone at home connect as well. It was definitely difficult to do through an iPhone, but it really helped me grow as a performer.
Did your experience on the show inspire your new single, “Maybe That,” at all? Tell us about what it was like producing the tune.
“Maybe That” is a sad love song. It’s about self-reflecting a year after a relationship has ended. One person has moved on, and the other hasn’t. In this case, the one who didn’t move on was me. I haven’t recorded the fully-produced version yet, as my studio is closed due to the pandemic. However, thanks to everything Idol taught me while at home, I was able to film the song on my iPhone in one take. It means so much to me, I just had to get it out there. I can’t wait to start working on the full production soon.
What message do you hope people will take away from the song?
I hope people can connect to it and know they’re not alone. We all experience loss in different ways. In this case, it was heartbreak and the thoughts that shake you for a while after a relationship. We’re often stuck thinking, “What if I had done this or done that differently?”
What’s up next in your music career?
My next single, “Twisted Conversations” will be released on July 6th on all streaming platforms. I’m planning to release a new song every other month, and I can’t wait to share all of them with the world. Also, as soon as it’s safe to, I’m planning to tour throughout America!